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Toronto Councillor Will Seek Legal Help for Traffic Ticket

Everyone who receives a traffic ticket needs help — even politicians. An unsafe turn allegedly made by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, representative of Toronto’s Ward 27, produced an apology as well as an admission that she needs legal assistance.


In a public statement, Councillor Wong-Tam stated that she was driving west on Charles Street and made a left turn onto Yonge Street. In order to avoid collision with a pedestrian crossing Yonge St. she was forced to brake. Nobody was hurt however, the pedestrian was distressed and upset. Wong-Tam exchanged information with the pedestrian and later was interviewed by the police. She was then issued a traffic ticket for making an unsafe left turn in violation of section 142(1) of the Highway Traffic Act. Section 142(1) requires a driver to see that a turn can be made safely before turning.


It is possible to fight traffic tickets for unsafe turns. How Councillor Wong-Tam chooses to proceed is, of course, up to her. Politicians must be mindful of their public image and political advisers generally tell politicians to make an immediate admission of wrongdoing and put the matter behind them as quickly as possible. That might be good spin control for elected officials who are wary of bad publicity but most people do not need to worry that journalists will be recording and reporting everything they say or do. For most people, it is better not to make any admissions at all without first consulting a traffic ticket paralegal. Saying the wrong thing to the wrong person can make defending a traffic ticket more difficult.


Councillor Wong-Tam’s public apology might have been a politically smart move yet the smartest thing she said was this: “Under the circumstances, I will of course be seeking legal advice.” Traffic tickets can have serious consequences for driving privileges. Obtaining advice from a traffic ticket paralegal is the first step everyone — even politicians — should take after receiving a ticket for a traffic offense.


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