What Is the Best Way to Fight a Speeding Ticket?
A Prosecutor Must Prove a Speeding Charge Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. To Beat a Charge a Skilled Traffic Ticket Defender Will Look For Holes to Poke In the Case By Challenging the Evidence of the Prosecution In An Effort to Create a Reasonable Doubt.
Similar Questions About Fighting a Speeding Charge Include:
- Is It Possible to Fight a Speeding Ticket?
- How Do You Fight a Speeding Ticket?
- Can a Speeding Ticket Be Beat In Court?
- How Can I Beat a Speeding Charge?
- Is There a Way to Fight a Speeding Ticket and Win?
Understanding How to Fight a Speeding Ticket and Protect Your Driving Record From Costly Consequences
Although it is impossible to guaranteed that a speeding ticket will be beat, many strategies are available to put up a very strong fight against the charge and avoid conviction. Strategies are also available to help obtain reduced fines, protect insurance rates, and avoid demerit points. To help you to determine the goals for your case and the best legal strategy, a review of your specific circumstances is required.
While the law regarding a speeding charge hardly needs explanation, for persons interested in reviewing the formalities, the actual legal details applicable to speeding are as per the section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 wherein it is stated:
Rate of speed
128 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at a rate of speed greater than,
(a) 50 kilometres per hour on a highway within a local municipality or within a built-up area;
(b) despite clause (a), 80 kilometres per hour on a highway, not within a built-up area, that is within a local municipality that had the status of a township on December 31, 2002 and, but for the enactment of the Municipal Act, 2001, would have had the status of a township on January 1, 2003, if the municipality is prescribed by regulation;
(c) 80 kilometres per hour on a highway designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council as a controlled-access highway under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act, whether or not the highway is within a local municipality or built-up area;
Rate of speed by by-law
(2) The council of a municipality may, for motor vehicles driven on a highway or portion of a highway under its jurisdiction, by by-law prescribe a rate of speed different from the rate set out in subsection (1) that is not greater than 100 kilometres per hour and may prescribe different rates of speed for different times of day.
Same, within designated areas
(2.1) A by-law passed under subsection (2) may designate an area in the municipality and prescribe a rate of speed, which must be less than 50 kilometres per hour, that applies to all highways within the designated area that, absent a by-law passed under subsection (2), would have a prescribed rate of speed of 50 kilometres per hour under clause (1) (a).
Same, excluded highways
(2.2) A by-law for a designated area described in subsection (2.1) may exclude from the application of the by-law any highway or portion of a highway within the designated area that has a different rate of speed prescribed specifically for that highway or portion of highway by a by-law passed under subsection (2).
(3.1), (4) Repealed.
Rate in school zones
(5) The council of a municipality may by by-law,
(a) designate a portion of a highway under its jurisdiction that adjoins the entrance to or exit from a school and that is within 150 metres along the highway in either direction beyond the limits of the land used for the purposes of the school; and
(b) for motor vehicles driven, on days on which school is regularly held, on the portion of a highway so designated, prescribe a rate of speed that is lower than the rate of speed otherwise prescribed under subsection (1) or (2) for that portion of highway, and prescribe the time or times at which the speed limit is effective.
Rate on bridges
(6) If the council of a municipality by by-law prescribes a lower rate of speed for motor vehicles passing over a bridge on a highway under its jurisdiction than is prescribed under subsection (1), signs indicating the maximum rate of speed shall be posted in a conspicuous place at each approach to the bridge.
Rate on grade
(6.1) The council of a municipality may by by-law,
(a) designate a portion of a highway under its jurisdiction that includes a grade of 6 per cent or higher; and
(b) prescribe for any class or classes of motor vehicles a lower rate of speed, when travelling down grade on that portion of the highway, than is otherwise prescribed under subsection (1) or (2) for that portion of highway.
(6.3), (6.4) Repealed.
Rate of speed by regulation
(7) The Minister may make regulations prescribing a rate of speed for,
(a) motor vehicles driven on a highway or portion of a highway within a provincial park;
(b) any class or classes of motor vehicles driven on the King’s Highway or portion of the King’s Highway whether or not the King’s Highway is within a municipality, and the rate of speed may be different for any period or periods of the day or night or direction of travel; and
(c) motor vehicles driven on a highway or portion of a highway in territory without municipal organization.
(8) An official of the Ministry authorized by the Minister in writing may designate any part of the King’s Highway as a construction zone, and every construction zone designated under this subsection shall be marked by signs in accordance with the regulations.
(8.1) A person appointed by the municipality for the purpose of this subsection may designate a highway or portion of a highway under the municipality’s jurisdiction as a construction zone, and every construction zone designated under this subsection shall be marked by signs in accordance with the regulations.
(8.2) The presence of signs posted under subsection (8) or (8.1) is proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, of the designation of the portion of the highway as a construction zone, of the authority of the person authorized under subsection (8) or (8.1) to make the designation and of the speed limit set for the portion of the highway under subsection (10).
Legislation Act, 2006
Speed limit in construction zones
(10) The person authorized under subsection (8) or (8.1) may set a lower rate of speed for motor vehicles driven in the designated construction zone than is otherwise provided in this section, and the speed limit shall not become effective until the highway or portion of it affected is signed in accordance with subsection (8) or (8.1), as the case may be, and with subsection (10.1).
Speed limit signs in construction zones
(10.1) Signs posting the maximum rate of speed at which motor vehicles may be driven in a designated construction zone may be erected in accordance with the regulations.
By-laws, regulations effective when posted
(11) No by-law passed under this section or regulation made under clause (7) (c) becomes effective until the highway, portion of the highway or designated area affected by the by-law or regulation, as the case may be, is signed in accordance with this Act and the regulations.
(12) Where a by-law or regulation passed under this section becomes effective, the rates of speed prescribed in subsection (1) do not apply to the highway or portion of the highway affected by the by-law or regulation.
Fire department vehicles and police vehicles
(13) The speed limits prescribed under this section or any regulation or by-law passed under this section do not apply to,
(a) a fire department vehicle while proceeding to a fire or responding to, but not returning from, a fire alarm or other emergency call;
(b) a police department vehicle being used in the lawful performance of a police officer’s duties; or
(c) an ambulance while responding to an emergency call or being used to transport a patient or injured person in an emergency situation.
(14) Every person who contravenes this section or any by-law or regulation made under this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable, where the rate of speed at which the motor vehicle was driven,
(a) is less than 20 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $3 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
(b) is 20 kilometres per hour or more but less than 30 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $4.50 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
(c) is 30 kilometres per hour or more but less than 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, to a fine of $7 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit; and
(d) is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit, to a fine of $9.75 for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit.
Penalty for speeding in construction zones
(14.1) Every person who contravenes this section in a construction zone designated under subsection (8) or (8.1) when there is a worker in the construction zone is liable on conviction, not to the fines set out in subsection (14), but, where the rate of speed at which the motor vehicle was driven,
(a) is less than 20 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (a) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
(b) is 20 kilometres per hour or more but less than 30 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (b) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit;
(c) is 30 kilometres per hour or more but less than 50 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (c) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit; and
(d) is 50 kilometres per hour or more over the posted speed limit, to a fine of double the fine set out in clause (14) (d) for each kilometre per hour that the motor vehicle was driven over the speed limit.
Suspension of licence on conviction
(15) Subject to subsection 207 (7), where a court has convicted a person for a contravention of this section and has determined that the person convicted was driving at a rate of speed of 50 or more kilometres per hour greater than the speed limit, the court may,
(a) suspend the driver’s licence of the person for a period of not more than 30 days;
(b) upon the first subsequent conviction where the court determined in respect of each conviction that the person was driving at a rate of speed of 50 or more kilometres per hour greater than the speed limit, suspend the driver’s licence of the person for a period of not more than 60 days;
(c) upon the second subsequent conviction or an additional subsequent conviction, where the court determined in respect of each conviction that the person was driving at a rate of speed of 50 or more kilometres per hour greater than the speed limit, suspend the driver’s licence of the person for a period of not more than one year.
Determining subsequent conviction
(15.1) In determining whether a conviction is a subsequent conviction for the purposes of subsection (15), the only question to be considered is the sequence of convictions and no consideration shall be given to the sequence of commission of offences or whether any offence occurred before or after any conviction.
Certificate of offence not to be amended to charge owner
(15.4) A certificate of offence that specifies an offence under section 128 against a driver shall not be amended to reflect a charge against that person as an owner.
(16) In this section,
“motor vehicle” includes street car.
Various Traffic Ticket Fighting Options
Although tens of thousands of speeding tickets are issued each year, every case and every personal situation will be somewhat unique and will require a defence strategy that is tailored specifically for your unique situation. Paladin LLP will carefully review your unique situation, your needs, and your wants, so to fully understand your concerns and goals for the outcome that best serves you. Paladin LLP will then explain the defence strategies that are available for your unique speeding ticket situation. Typical defence strategies seek:
- The full dismissal of the speeding ticket charge (best possible result);
- The reduction of the speeding charge to a lesser charge with lower fine;
- The avoiding or delaying of insurance consequences;
- The avoiding, or reduced number, of demerit points;
- The avoiding of a licence suspension; and/or
- The avoiding or reduction of a fine.
Even if you were speeding, the prosecution must still prove it.
Your needs and wants will always be the goal of Paladin LLP
Pursuing Speeding Ticket Dismissal
The best result will always be a complete dismissal of the speeding charge against you. Remember, the prosecution must prove the case 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. Paladin LLP works hard to review the alleged facts, the available evidence, and to find all the ways to poke holes in the case of the prosecution.
The complete dismissal strategy begins by reviewing the your side of the story. Next, the evidence disclosure, when received from the prosecution, is carefully reviewed to determine what actual evidence of speeding is available to help the prosecutor prove the allegations against you. If it looks like some evidence is missing, and evidence that should be available to the prosecution, a request for additional disclosure is made. If the additional disclosure remains outstanding, a Motion to Produce may be brought on your behalf in an effort to obtain an Order from the court to compel the prosecution to provide the additional evidence disclosure.
When full disclosure is received and everything necessary is in hand, a thorough review is performed and you will be advised of the Trial strategy for attacking the allegation. You will also be provided with insight on the likelihood of success as well as the possible outcome and plea options that may be available to you. With your instructions to go forward, a full fledged fight against the charge will be taken to Trial.
Questioning of Witnesses
At a speeding Trial, usually, a police officer will be the first, and only, witness to testify. The police officer will first be questioned by a Prosecutor. The questions will be framed to elicit details about what vehicle you were driving as well as the date and time, how fast you were driving, where you were speeding, what the speed limit is where you were driving and therefore how fast over the limit you were traveling, how you were identified as the driver, and perhaps other things.
After the Prosecutor finishes questioning the police officer, the defence effort begins with questioning of the police officer in ways that challenge the earlier testimony and evidence. During this questioning the strategy is to weaken the case of the prosecution by showing that:
- There is a possibility that the police officer was mistaken;
- There is a possibility that the radar gun was defective or out of calibration;
- There is a possibility that other facts as alleged may be untrue; and
- There is a reasonable doubt to the allegation of speeding.
During the process of defence questioning it is important to know what questions to ask and how to ask the questions. Additionally, it is important to know what questions to avoid. Most significantly, it is important to remember that the defence is without need to prove the allegations as untrue. The defence only needs to shake the evidence of the prosecution enough to create a reasonable doubt. As always, you are innocent until proven guilty and the prosecution must prove your guilt; you are without a need to prove your innocence.
Minimizing the Insurance Consequences of a Speeding Ticket
It is commonly known that speeding is often a major, and perhaps the major, factor in the cause of an automobile accident. It is also obvious that the greater the speed involved in an accident, the greater the damage and the greater likelihood of serious injuries. Accordingly, convictions for speeding may have significant affects upon insurance rates. For insurance purposes, speeding convictions are reviewed as either:
- A minor (1 km/h to 29 km/h over the limit);
- A major (30 km/h to 49 km/h over the limit); or
- A serious (50 km/h and up over the limit).
Automobile insurance companies In Ontario are governed by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario ("FSRAO"). Among other things, FSRAO reviews, approves, and regulates, the rates and rules of each automobile insurance company whereas insurers are required to provide full details of the rate tables and rule guides used. Insurers are also governed in what questions are allowable. Among other types of traffic tickets, insurers are only allowed to ask for and use, or obtain from the Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) and use, information about traffic ticket convictions during the three years prior to the date the insurer is reviewing your file.
As only convictions during the three years prior to the date of review are usable by an insurance company, sometimes it is in the best interests of a person charged with speeding, or other traffic ticket, to delay the possible conviction for the charge until after the insurance is reviewed and renewed for another year. Delaying a conviction may be in your best interest if, for example:
- You were charged for speeding on June 15th;
- You carry insurance that renews on August 10th;
- You therefore know that the insurance review will happen before August 10th;
- You already have a conviction, or convictions, that will 'fall off' the three year record by next year;
- You want to need to ensure that this latest charge is uninvolved in the review of the insurance renewal for this year as the combination of your existing convictions and a conviction for this latest charge would adversely affect your insurance rates; and
- You know that by the time next year comes, with an existing conviction, or convictions, that will 'fall off' the record, a conviction for this latest charge will, by itself, be of little affect to your insurance rates.
To delay a conviction from showing up on your driving record until after an insurance company completes the renewal review, choosing to fight the ticket may push a Trial date the period when your insurance company is reviewing your file and determining your rates, among other things, for the upcoming year. Once your renewal insurance policy is received, you can then re-evaluate the approach to fighting the speeding ticket.
Delaying a conviction is especially important if you are on the cusp of becoming uninsurable with your current insurance company whereas most insurance companies have rules about how many, and what type, of convictions a driver may have before the insurance company will decline to offer a renewal policy. Delaying a conviction until after the renewal is received, especially if an existing conviction, or convictions, will fall off the record before the renewal review next year, can be very helpful in guiding your overall strategy for fighting a speeding ticket, among other types of traffic tickets.
Avoiding Driving Record Troubles
Depending on the rate of speed over the limit that you are charged with there may be demerit points that will be applied to your driver record if convicted for speeding (among other charges). The number of demerit points applied are:
- A total of zero (0) points when convicted for a speeding charge for driving one (1) km per hour to fifteen (15) km per hour over the limit;
- A total of three (3) points when convicted for a speeding charge for driving sixteen (16) km per hour to twenty-nine (29) km per hour over the limit;
- A total of four (4) points when convicted for a speeding charge for driving thirty (30) km per hour to forty-nine (49) km per hour over the limit;
- A total of six (6) points when convicted for a speeding charge for driving fifty (50) km per hour or more over the limit;
As above, a speeding ticket, among others, may result in an accumulation of demerit points. If you are a fully licenced driver and you accumulate nine (9) points to fourteen (14) points, you will be required to attend an interview and will be required to give reasons why your licence should remain without suspension. If you accumulate fifteen (15) or more points, a suspension is mandatory. If you are a novice driver and you accumulate six (6) points to eight (8) points, you will be required to attend an interview to explain why your licence should remain without suspension. If you accumulate nine (9) or more points, a suspension is mandatory.
Summary Comment About Fighting Your Speeding Ticket
How aggressively a person wishes to defend a speeding ticket will depend greatly on individual circumstances. A person with a minor speeding charge who has a relatively clear driving record, and is therefore facing minimal consequences, may forgo fighting the speeding charge altogether. A person with two or more prior convictions, especially if for a major or serious charge, may need to fight tooth-and-nail to avoid drastic insurance affects or even licence suspension.
To determine how aggressively you should fight your speeding ticket, or any traffic ticket, contact Paladin LLP to review your situation and what can be done to help you.