HOW TO FIGHT A SPEEDING TICKET IN COURT AND WIN
How to fight a speeding ticket in court and win. This is an exciting question for me. What I would first like to discuss is that speeding tickets in Ontario are under section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act. However, it’s also important to note one other facet about speeding tickets in Ontario. You may have heard, you may not have heard that speeding in Ontario is considered absolute liability.
That phraseology, legal phraseology, comes from a specific case. And it’s R v. Sue St. Marie. It is a case that any lawyer, any new paralegal would be exposed to. And what that case does is defines different charges across Ontario as either being absolute liability, strict liability, or mens rea offences. The difference is significant.
For example, an absolute liability offense, which a speeding ticket is, really limits the defenses that are available to you when you are at trial. To be very specific, there are really only two formal defenses available to you at trial. And the best one to be described is, there’s one called duress. A typical example of something like that would be someone maybe even your mother-in-law, sitting beside you and sticking a gun in your ribs and forcing you to speed.
If that were happening, that would certainly be considered by any court and in many ways I think we could predict that in a situation like that that case would be dismissed. Another example, and I’ve had many of these, where two close friends or brothers have used each other’s identification. So impersonation is that type of a defense.
And at trial, I think one could reasonably inspect expect that, in fact, that would be dismissed as well. The Defenses that are not considered and also common when I speak to clients are well, you know, I’ve been driving and my speedometer broke and logically or intuitively most people when you’re sitting around with your friends or family and if you were to tell them that you would think logically that should be considered and there ought to be a dismissal of the case for that reason.
And because of the nature of absolute liability, it doesn’t formulate a defence, so the fact that you were speeding and you had no awareness to it is not, in fact, a defense to the charge and unfortunately, there would be a conviction. I guess the next most common defense that I hear from clients is they weren’t feeling well and they were ill or they were in what they would consider an emergency situation where they needed to get to the bathroom as quickly as they can. And again, that isn’t a defense that would be considered and if that defense was placed before the court, the court really under an absolute liability regime has an obligation to convict. So essentially what I’ve told you is there are very limited routes on how to defend someone on a speeding ticket. That doesn’t at all intimidate OTD Legal. We have been historically very successful in representing people on these matters, getting dismissals, reductions, and improving the penalty and what may happen on a conviction. But the reality is the law on speeding is quite complicated, and essentially it is derived exclusively from the R versus Sault Ste. Marie case, a case common to all paralegals and lawyers in the province.