Legal Arguments for Speeding

Explanations, Why you were speeding, or how your were trying to avoid speeding, are not legal defences.

Arguments in Speeding Trials

In a trial for the offence of speeding, the prosecutor must prove to the justice (JP) that the driver committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Prosecution Must Prove

If anything is missing in the prosecutors case, it may be grounds for the justice to dismiss the charge against the driver.

Convictions for speeding require that the prosecution prove the following evidence:

  • Identification of the Driver: Was the person operating the vehicle at the time of the offence correctly identified? (Yes/No)
  • Nature of the Vehicle: Can it be confirmed that the vehicle was indeed a motor vehicle? (Yes/No)
  • Vehicle Identification: Was the vehicle involved accurately matched with the one cited in the offence, including the license plate, model, and color? (Yes/No)
  • Registration Details: Which province or territory was the vehicle’s plate registered in?
  • Location of the Offence: Was it established that the defendant was traveling on a provincial or municipal highway or street? (Yes/No)
  • Speed Limit Verification: What was the speed limit on the highway or street where the offence occurred?
  • Speed of the Vehicle: How fast was the defendant traveling?

Should any of these elements be missing or inadequately proved by the prosecution, it could provide grounds for the charge against the driver to be dismissed by the justice.

At the conclusion of the trial, the defendant has the option to file a motion of non-suit. This motion can be based on the grounds that the prosecution failed to present a prima facie case, meaning they did not provide sufficient evidence to prove the case prima facie, or that there exists a reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt. In essence, this motion challenges the prosecution’s ability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a cornerstone of criminal justice.

The defendant at the end of the trial may bring a motion of non-suit in that the prosecution has failed to present a prima facie case against the driver and/or that there is reasonable doubt, in that the prosecution has not proved the case within a reasonable doubt.

Rules of Evidence

Where the trial date has been scheduled more than 18 months away from the offence date you may be able to argue that your right as a Canadian citizen has been infringed upon because your trial has not happened within a reasonable period of time.

This is called an 11b Application. 11b Applications must be filed with the proper paper work with the court at least fifteen days prior to the trial date. The defendant must be prepared to argue the motion to the court.

Caution with 11b Applications – the law in regards to time delays and 11b Applications is constantly changing, seek legal advice if you think your speeding ticket trial could benefit from a Charter of Rights Application.

Hearsay Evidence

Witnesses cannot testify something that is beyond their personal experience or knowledge.

They cannot testify something that is said by another person, or else that person has to come and testify what he said. For example, if the police officer says “the computer operator told me the defendant’s driver’s license was under suspension”.

This would be hearsay evidence. However, the officer could say, “Upon information I received, I gave the driver a ticket for driving while suspended.”

Likewise, you could not say “I was driving at 60km/h because my friend in the car told me that was the speed on that street.”

There is more complication to hearsay evidence than the above general definition. As you now know, hearsay evidence from a 3rd party that benefits the side who provides the evidence is disallowed, but admission from the opposing side will be accepted.


Addressing Speculation in Court

Speculation in a legal context refers to making assumptions or guesses without concrete evidence, essentially conjecturing about what might have happened.

For instance, if during a trial the prosecutor says something like, β€œthe defendant was aware they were speeding,” this statement should be challenged. Such a claim ventures into speculation, as the prosecutor cannot definitively know the defendant’s state of mind or awareness.

In scenarios where the prosecution makes such speculative statements, it’s important for the defendant or their legal representative to promptly object.

Allowing speculative assertions to go unchallenged can lead to unfair conclusions, as they are based more on assumption than on factual evidence or direct knowledge.


Understanding and Addressing Irrelevance in Legal Proceedings

During a court trial, particularly in traffic cases like speeding, it’s crucial to maintain focus on relevant facts and evidence. However, there are instances when a witness – whether the accused driver, an external witness, or the police officer – may provide testimony or make statements that are irrelevant to the specific charge being addressed.

Irrelevance in the courtroom refers to any information, statement, or line of questioning that does not directly pertain to the key issues of the case. For example, a witness might offer details about unrelated events, or a police officer might comment on aspects that have no direct bearing on the speeding ticket. These diversions do not contribute to the resolution of the case and can potentially distract from the critical facts.

In legal terms, relevance is a guiding principle that ensures the court’s discussions and examinations stay focused on matters that directly affect the outcome of the case. It is vital for the efficacy of the legal process that only pertinent information is considered. This is why it is the duty of the legal representatives, be it the defense or the prosecution, to identify and address irrelevant statements immediately.

By objecting to or questioning the relevance of certain testimonies, they ensure that the court’s attention remains fixed on the facts that matter.


Understanding Examination-in-Chief in Traffic Court Cases

Examination-in-chief is the initial phase in a court trial where the police officer, who is the key witness in a speeding ticket case, presents their evidence to the court. This stage is critical as it lays the foundation for the prosecution’s argument.

During this process, the prosecuting attorney will question their witnesses, including the police officer, to extract facts that support their case. The aim here is to establish the elements of the offence and to build a strong argument for the prosecution.

As the defendant in a speeding ticket case, it’s important to be highly attentive during the examination-in-chief. Listen carefully to the questions posed by the prosecutor and the responses given by their witnesses. This vigilance is crucial because it allows you to identify any improper or leading questions that may be asked. If such questions arise, it’s imperative to object promptly. These objections can be crucial in preventing the introduction of prejudicial or irrelevant information.

Remember, when facing a speeding ticket, adopting an active and informed approach in your defense is key. Understanding the process of examination-in-chief and being prepared to respond appropriately to the prosecution’s line of questioning are essential steps in contesting your ticket effectively. The goal is to ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the best chance of a favorable outcome in your case.