Every day defendants contact our staff in regards to speeding offences. Speeding tickets are by far the most common Highway Traffic Act offence that we assist clients with. Part of the service that we provide to a client is sorting out what legal defences are present, versus what arguments have no legal merit. What may seem like a compelling defence to a defendant may in fact have no legal merit to the court…or worse yet…could result in the conviction of the defendant.
“I was only going 135 km/h, not 145 km/h as the police officer claimed!”
Any admission of being above the speed limit, even a lesser rate of speed, may result in either damage to the defence of your speeding offence or in an outright conviction.
“But I was only over the speed limit for a short period of time!”
Unfortunately the length of time that you are above the posted speed limit is not a defence. A police officer will commonly have multiple speed measurements on a target vehicle. Even if there are lower rates of speed measured, the highest rate of speed of your vehicle is the basis for a valid ticket.
“The only reason that I went over the speed limit was because I was passing a slow vehicle!”
Even if you have been driving at or below the speed limit for hours previously, if you speed up above the posted speed limit to pass another vehicle you can be charged by the police.
“I was drive at the speed limit to pass a slower vehicle and only sped up for safety due to oncoming traffic!”
In these situations, there are generally two options for a driver. The first option is to slow down and merge back into traffic behind the vehicle that your were attempting to pass. The second option is to speed up over the speed limit and merge back into traffic in front of the vehicle being passed. Both options may safely resolve the situation; however the second option is the only one that results in breaking the law in regards to speeding. You’re not alone in this situation. Almost everyone has the instinct to speed up to complete the passing maneuver. There is a possible ‘necessity’ defence to a speeding offence where there is a clear cut safety issue that could only be resolved by going over the posted speed limit. However, such defences can be limited by the details of what occurred and what options were open to the driver.
“The police officer wasn’t wearing his hat (or was missing some component of his uniform)!”
Unfortunately this is not a defence to a speeding ticket. Theoretically, a police officer could be off duty, driving in their personal vehicle, and wearing cut-off jean shorts and t-shirt and still charge you with speeding. Speeding tickets are absolute liability offences that are ruled upon by the court based the legal merits of the Prosecutor’s evidence…not the attire of the officer at roadside.
“I asked to see the radar, but the officer refused!”
You can always ask a police officer to see the radar; however the officer is under no obligation to show the radar to you. We absolutely empathize with clients that a defendant should have the right to see the radar at roadside, however there are safety issues involved with having defendants outside of their vehicle at roadside.
These are some of the most common urban legends or misconceptions that we help our clients sort out from their valid defences. Just because you’ve been stopped and charged by the police with speeding, doesn’t mean that you will actually be convicted of the offence should you decide to contest your ticket at court. Indeed, for the vast majority of our clients we are able to have their speeding ticket at least reduced to a lesser rate of speed to minimize the court fine, demerit points, or impact to licencing and insurance. Where possible, we always seek out legal grounds to simply have the charge withdrawn before trial or dismissed at trial as this results in no record of conviction, fine, demerit points, or impact to licencing or insurance.
Generally it is almost always cost effective to hire a knowledgeable and experienced paralegal to fight your speeding ticket on your behalf. A licenced paralegal will be able to find any critical errors or missing information in the Prosecutor’s evidence upon which to have your charge withdrawn, or will be able to negotiate based on the merits of the Prosecutor’s evidence for the most advantageous plea deal possible. If you mistakenly thought that any of the above mentioned myths and misconceptions were true regarding speeding tickets, you could very well have ended up being convicted of your speeding ticket at court through self-representation.