Fighting Speeding Tickets
Can You Win Your Ticket?
Fighting a speeding ticket is about three goals:
- winning the ticket
- delaying and reducing the impact on insurance
- saving demerit points
The goal is to win the ticket, where you cannot win the ticket then delay the impact on insurance and save demerit points.
Why Dispute the Ticket
When you dispute the ticket you:
- delay the ticket from,
- going to the insurance
- going on your driving record
- reduce or remove the affect of demerit points
- avoid and/or reduce the affect on insurance rates
- avoid any licence suspensions
- reduce or save the fine
If you need professional advice OntarioSpeeding recommends OTT Legal Services.
Speeding and Insurance
When a speeding ticket is being disputed the ticket is not on the driving record.
The insurance implications and demerit points are delayed until AFTER the trial date.
Many court dates have been known to be months away and dates over 1 year are not uncommon for some traffic ticket courts.
In affect the ticket is kept way from the insurance until the next renewal date. For example:
- the insurance is set to renew in April
- but the driver received a speeding ticket in February
- upon receiving the ticket the driver requested a trial date
- the trial date was set for June
- subsequently the ticket was no on the drivers record for the insurance renewal in April
In this example whether the driver ultimately wins the ticket or not the driver avoids the insurance “seeing the ticket” until the next years renewal.
Fighting Your Speeding Ticket
In legal terms a speeding ticket is called a “Strict Liability Offence“, which means:
- that the police and prosecution do not have to prove
- why, or
- that you meant to speed,
- or intended to speed
- only that you did drive faster than the speed limit
In traffic court the prosecution does not have to prove that you intended to speed. All the police and prosecution have to prove in strict liability offences is that you committed the act.
The driver is always responsible for the speed of their vehicle.
Explanations are not Defences
You cannot defend yourself by saying you:
- didn’t intend to speed,
- you had no intent to speed or
- that you had a reason to or,
A driver cannot come to traffic court and make a defence for speeding by saying it was a mistake, error or give an explanation.
Explanations, explaining why the driver did the act are not defences to speeding.
Two (2) Defences to Speeding
There are 2 legal defences to speeding:
- rushing someone to the hospital
- to save their life,
- when it is impracticable to,
- call an ambulance or police
- imminent fear for your life
- you actually speeding to go to a place of safety,
- e.g. the police station
Speeding to take care of someone in need of medical attention means that,
the driver was speeding in order to take someone to a medical facility, where no other reasonable means of transportation was available and the emergency was life threatening.
Imminent fear for your life means that,
the driver was in actual fear for their life and that they were speeding to get to a place of safety when no other means was available.
This includes speeding to the police station or another place they would be protected from the threat, but does not include rushing to get home or other similar place.
Speeding Ticket Trials
Speeding ticket trials are won on:
- the officers evidence
- cross-examinations of witnesses
- legal technical arguments, e.g.
- errors on speeding tickets
- Charter applications
- legal applications of the law
Besides the two legal defences to speeding the prosecution must prove the case to the court beyond a reasonable doubt, and without errors, for example:
- is the officers name “printed” at the top of the ticket
- is the date of offence and time proper
- is the driver properly identified on the ticket
- is the location and municipality properly specified
- is the offence specified properly
- is the section number and Highway Traffic Act on the ticket
- is the fine the correct amount
- did the officer sign the ticket
Many of these issues are considered the essential elements of the charge that the prosecution must prove to convict a driver of speeding. Where the information is lacking, in error and not provided to the judge, the judge may dismiss the charge.
Police Officers Evidence
In a trial for speeding the police officer will first take the stand. The officers job is to explain to the judge the “Who What Where When and How”.
The officer must explain to the justice how they recorded the driver speeding. The officer must tell the court:
- I was stopped on King St for the purpose of conducting speed enforcement
- the posted speed at this location is 60km/h
- I was using a police radar that was working properly
- I observed a brown car that appeared to be speeding
- I activated the radar device and recorded a speed of 80km/h
- I stopped the driver who identified themselves with an Ontario drivers licence
- I issued that person a ticket for the offence before the court
This evidence is called the police officer’s “evidence in chief”.
Speeding Ticket Professionals
Are you going to fight the speeding ticket yourself or are you going to get professional help?
If you decide to fight the ticket yourself, it is best to take the time and effort to educate yourself.
Sometimes there is an advantage to having a qualified legal representative fight the ticket for you;
- You save your time.
- You save having to educate yourself about how to fight a speeding ticket.
- The paralegal knows the legal arguments and how to present them.
- The paralegal has experience and a background with the court.
If you do decide that you are going to have a professional help you, then make sure they are experienced and qualified in traffic court.
The Ontario colleges put out about 1000 new paralegals every year and you do not want someone who is straight out of school with no experience defending you.
OntarioSpeeding recommends OTT Legal as one of the highest reviewed speeding ticket paralegal firms in Ontario.