Were you Speeding
The Burden of Proof
(a) Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that
you committed the offence set out on your ticket. You need prove nothing. It
is not up to you to prove you did not commit the offence;
The first question is
• Where you speeding, if so grow some roots
and pay your ticket. Don’t waste the courts
time if you’re a bad driver and deserve the
law enforcement summons you received
• Once you have reviewed the general
principles behind the decision of whether or
not to fight a traffic ticket, there are
additional considerations which relate to
whether you can beat a speeding ticket.
Speeding Ticket Facts
• Of the 5% that are actually contested, one half
Signs must meet Federal
Proper Notice of the Speed Limit
• A common point of defense to a speeding
violation is that there was not proper notice
of the speed limit. For example, the speed
limit sign might have been hidden by foliage,
or may not have been posted in compliance
with state or local regulation. Please note that
every jurisdiction has default speed limits for
Yes all Cops must be Trained
• And the case law states they must prove this plus
they must have received training in the
radar/laser used. It is not generic training for one
size meets all
Improper Use of Radar or Laser
• All jurisdictions have basic training requirements
for officers who monitor speed with electronic
devices, such as laser or radar. They also have
requirements for the maintenance of any devices
used to monitor traffic.
• You would first determine the first point at which the
officer could have observed your vehicle. Based upon the
speed recorded on the ticket and any relevant
manufacturer instruction, you can then determine the
distance your car would have traveled between that point
and the officer's car. (You may wish to also factor in
reaction time, unless the officer was taking a continuous
reading, as there would otherwise be a short delay
between the time your car appeared and the time the
officer activated the speed detection device.) You may
discover that by the time the officer could have obtained a
valid reading, your car was too close to the speed detection
device rendering that reading invalid.
Whoops use your inside voice
• You are stopped for speeding, stating that your
bladder is about to burst, that you weren't paying
attention to the speed limit (for any reason), or
any other excuse that is not a credible account as
to why your driving conduct was not necessary to
avoid an imminent accident, is not likely to
convince an officer not to ticket you, and is not
likely to convince a court not to convict you. At
most, they may provide a basis for mitigation,
where out of sympathy the officer tickets you for,
or the court convicts you of, speeding at a lower
speed than was recorded.
Do they match the ticket information
LET'S LOOK AT WHAT YOU should do if a peace
officer stops you for a traffic violation. What kind of
information must you provide?
• Upon a peace officer's request, you are required
to stop and provide:
1. Your name and address,
2. The name and address of the vehicle's owner,
3. Your driver's license,
4. The car registration and insurance card
What type of ticket is it
• FOR MINOR TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS there are two types
of traffic tickets or charges, each of which can be
defended or disputed.
• It is important to identify what type of ticket you have
received because the type of ticket determines how
you can dispute it. The two types of tickets are the
Violation Ticket and the Offence Notice.
1. THE VIOLATION TICKET
• The Violation Ticket is given for Motor Vehicle Act
offences and offences against other Provincial Statutes
including "moving" traffic offences.
Color does matter
• 1. Mandatory Court tickets - Pink
2. Voluntary payment speeding tickets -
What type of ticket is it
THE OFFENCE NOTICE
• The Offence Notice is issued for parking or non-moving violations and for
moving offences pending circumstances . Penalty: A fine, which increases
as time passes to encourage early payment. If the fine is not paid it is
possible that a summons will be issued and you will be required to attend
court. The amount of the fine and when it is due is stated on the ticket.
• The hearing will be held in Traffic Court.
APPEARANCE NOTICE, PROMISE TO APPEAR, SUMMONS
• A person who is charged with a Criminal Code offence, like impaired
driving, or dangerous driving will be given a document requiring the
person to attend court. That document may be called an Appearance
Notice, a Promise To Appear, or a Summons. It is an offence to fail to
appear in court at the time stated in these documents. In addition, a
warrant can be issued for the arrest of a person who fails to attend court
Is it the right charge section
• WHAT IS AN OFFENCE?
• Offences (or violations) are found in statutes,
regulations or by-laws. These laws must be
properly passed or enacted by the particular
government body responsible
• UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THE LAW?
(a) Reading the Section
• In many cases the wording of the offence will seem quite
straightforward. For example, under section 129 of the
Motor Vehicle Act, a driver is required to stop his vehicle
when a "red light alone is exhibited at an intersection". The
law seems quite clear: drivers must stop at red lights. The
words "driver", "stop" and "intersection" seem self-
• But in some cases the wording of the offence will be
unclear or ambiguous. Sometimes you will have to check
the "definition" section of the Act , Regulation, or By-Law
How the Courts Read the Section
• Because the law is often unclear, it is up to the
courts to decide how the law applies to individual
cases. Judges or Justices of the Peace interpret
the law and many of their decisions are published
in the form of case reports. One of the jobs of a
lawyer is to research these case reports to
discover interpretations that will assist a client's
• If you are having difficulty understanding the
wording of an offence, contact a lawyer or your
community law office
Three Critical Items to Every event
Three Fundamental Elements
In addition to proving that you committed the act set out on
the ticket, the prosecution must in every case prove the
• IDENTITY - the peace officer must identify you in court as
the person who committed the offence.
• JURISDICTION - the peace officer must state that the
offence occurred within the jurisdiction of the court. The
peace officer must state in court the place (street address,
municipality, and province) where the offence occurred.
• TIME - the peace officer must state the date and time when
the offence occurred.
If you set a trial date
After the Justice reads out the charge, the hearing begins. This is the usual
order in which evidence is presented:
• 1. Peace Officer is sworn in and testifies
• 2. You are given the opportunity to cross-examine the officer
• 3. You may call and question any witnesses to speak on your behalf
• 4. The peace officer may cross-examine your witness
• 5. You may choose to be sworn in and testify
• 6. The peace officer may cross-examine you.
• When all of the evidence has been presented, the Justice of the Peace will
ask if either of you has anything further to say. At this point neither you
nor the police officer is allowed to introduce new facts. All of the facts
concerning the offence should have been explained during the earlier
testimony under oath. Any statement you make at this stage should
simply summarize the evidence already presented and reveal why you
think the traffic ticket was unfair.
YOU MUST GET FULL DISCLOSURE
• This document (which comes from the highest
courts, usually Court of Queens Bench) clearly
states that if a defendant should request any
type of evidence from the officer, the officer is
obligated to provide it!
It also states that if the police officer can not, a
dismissal should be rendered to the defendant.
The judge can not go against this mighty
The Layered Defense
• The strategies for beating a speeding
ticket basically follows a layered
defense. In a layered defense you will
want one of the following to occur:
• The officer or officers do not appear.
• Your right to a speedy trial was
• you employed various motions to
dismiss after the prosecution rested
A few items the court must show
1. That you (you must be identified in court)
2. were driving or operating (i.e., not a passenger)
3. a motor vehicle (description provided)
4. on a highway (exact location and description)
5. outside a municipality (exact location)
6. at a greater rate of speed than 80 km/h (i.e., 100 km/h by visual and/or radar estimation).
A peace officer can rely on two different types of evidence to prove that you were speeding:
(1) personal visual estimation and
(2) radar machine readings.
It is rare for an officer to rely on radar evidence alone. Usually the officer presents evidence to the court that:
1. he has training or experience in the visual speed estimation of moving vehicles
2. his estimates are reasonably accurate
3. he had an unobstructed view of your vehicle and had it in sight at all times
4. he followed it over some distance reasonably closely.
If radar evidence is introduced, be sure the officer gives evidence about whether:
1. he has taken an accredited course or has experience operating the radar machine
2. that particular machine, when properly calibrated, was capable of accurately registering the speed of a motor vehicle
travelling on a highway
3. that particular machine was in good working order
4. the radar machine was aimed at your vehicle and not someone else's.
In order for a peace officer to give opinion evidence of this kind, he must have special experience or training.
Is the ticket filled out properly
Traffic Ticket Improperly Filled Out
• The evidence that the prosecution presents to
the court must be consistent with the
information set out on the traffic ticket.
• As we have suggested, an error concerning
the nature of the offence or the form of the
ticket may allow you to make a preliminary
objection which will get the charge dismissed.
Officers notes will show
Usually the peace officer is the only witness for the prosecution. If he has
given evidence about all the elements of the offence try to get him to admit
that your version of the facts is possible.
Question him about the details:
• how good is his visual estimation and radar training and experience,
• how carefully did he test the radar machine,
• how might he have picked your car out of a crowd of other vehicles,
• how good is his memory,
• wasn't it a rainy day, a dark one, failing light?
• It may very well be best to confront the officer squarely with your version
of the facts, especially if he has no notes and finds it difficult to remember
anything except what is written on the ticket itself. Ask questions like this:
"Isn't it true that..." or "I suggest to you that things happened like this...".
If you do not get a direct answer to your question, do not be afraid to
repeat the question until he has answered it to your satisfaction.
It is all a little hazy
GO BACK TO THE SCENE WHERE YOU GOT YOUR TICKET
Returning to the area where you got your ticket can have several
purposes. You may remember some additional details that you forgot
to write down on the day that the citation was issued, and will also
give you a chance to look at the situation and the scene in a bit more
detail. If you find that there are some factors that may sway the
decision of the court at the scene, you'll need to prepare
documentation to prove them for the trial. Your best evidence to
present at the trial about the scene would be a large diagram that
documents everything that's relevant. Try to include the following; All
the roads, with the markings on the roads and their widths, and all
traffic signals that includes signs or lights. The location of your vehicle
and the officers vehicle at the time that you were pulled over.
Your time for notes
Some of the basic information you should be trying to gather is as follows:
• Make, model, license plate number and unit number of the officer’s car.
• Note your exact location and try to determine the distance between where you stopped and where
the violation occurred.
• Even though your citation will list the basic weather conditions, make note of all the weather
conditions such as temperature, wind, cloud cover, etc.
• Note any passenger names and be sure that your passengers remain totally silent during the entire
stop unless they are asked a specific question.
• Make note of your shirt or coat color.
• Make note of any distinctive characteristics about your vehicle such as any noticeable dents, two
tone paint, mag wheels, etc. Again, you are after as many small details as possible.
• You also need to remember and note everything the officer said during the stop. If he talks on his
personal radio during the stop, try to note these items as well. A lot of times the officer who stops
you will not be the officer who was running the radar unit. It is crucial to your case that you
establish this point.
• Note the current traffic conditions and remember the surrounding traffic at the time you were
pulled over. If you were surrounded by a sea of traffic try to remember anything and everything
about that sea of traffic.
First Things First
First off, it’s important to know the exact
measuring device used to clock your speed. You
can find this out by examining your speeding
ticket. Once you know the exact speed
measuring device used, (radar, laser, pacing,
etc.) you can now begin preparing your defense.
Plus or Minus
• If while giving his testimony you notice the officer reading word- for-word
from his notes, object immediately! Tell the judge the officer should
testify from his recollection instead of his notes. Also, you have a right to
see the officer’s notes if you so choose.
By objecting to the officer reading from his notes, even if you are
overruled - (the judge will tell him to use them as a mental refresher), you
will seriously throw the officer off his normal mode of operation. Anything
you can do to disrupt the officer from giving his usual testimony will be a
big plus for you.
Of the above things the officer will attempt to prove, you are going to
attack any one the officer left out during his testimony. If the officer fails
to testify to one of the points above, wait for the prosecutor to rest his
case and point out the missing testimonies to the judge and ask for a
Did the officer calibrate and when
• An officer is required to testify that the unit used to measure your
speed was calibrated at the time it was used on you. But, merely
testifying to this fact is not enough. He must also prove it.
This is where most people screw up. They are the ones who try and
“prove” the radar gun was faulty or that the officer made a mistake.
However, this is not the proper way to defend yourselves.
There is something called judicial notice in the courtrooms. This
means that radar guns are adequate methods of speed
enforcement. Merely arguing to the judge that the radar unit made
a mistake or targeted a different vehicle is not enough to convince
• HENCE HE MUST BRING THE ORGINALS AND CERTIFIED COPIES TO
COURT FOR EVIDENCE
Check and Check again
• What you want to do is examine the paper work some more.
There are four other things you will be looking for. 1 Tuning
fork test certificate, make sure the serial #'s are consistant
with the make & model of the RADAR, if LASER make sure it
was tested against a RADAR. It's extremely rare to find a
document that will contain all four required steps.
For instance, the officer is required to do two things to the
radar gun before and after he uses it on you. Each one of
these two steps MUST be documented in order for the
paper work to hold up in court. More than likely the officer
has completed only one of the two legally required steps.
Did he have care and control of the
paper work and equipment constable
• Police officers regularly share each others squad
cars. This means, that they also share each others
radar guns (second shift will share first shifts and
third shifts will share second shifts radar gun).
The radar gun regularly exchanges hands many
times throughout the day. This can only mean
three things… mistakes, mistakes, mistakes!
Don’t rattle on state or ask the right
questions but don’t babble
The entire purpose of the objections is to keep the evidence limited to
specific testimony which is specifically relevant and admissible to the
• OBJECTION, CONCLUSION In this case the Prosecution would ask
the officer to draw a conclusion based on an insufficient amount of
facts. For example, the officer volunteered that you saw a stop sign
and chose to ignore it. He cannot make that decision because he
does not have the facts.
• OBJECTION, NARRATIVE The officer is allowed to testify in the form
of a story rather than a question and answer procedure. He has
given a narrative. You have a right to decide if a particular question
would have an objectionable response. If he tells the events
without questioning, you have no opportunity to object.
Not guilty does not necessarily mean that you
did not commit the crime. All it means is that
• now has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt
that you DID commit the crime. The
Prosecution has the burden of proof, not you.
Did it happen this way
Radar errors can be a combination of many factors but are all linked to
one of the following 13 types of errors found.
• 1. Panning - This happens when the hand held unit is swept across
the dashboard of the car or the control unit mounted to the dash of
• 2. Mechanical interference - the a/c or heating fan in the police car,
alternator, ignition noises, rotating signs near the roadway,
anything mechanical that is operating in the vicinity of the roadway
can throw off the readings.
• 3. Shadowing - all moving radar units have this problem since the
targeted speed is calculated by subtracting the speed of the police
car from the closing speed of the target.
• 4. Batching - this error is caused when the police car is either
slowing down or accelerating when the radar unit is still calculating
the speed of the targeted vehicle.
• 5. Radio or Microwave interference - any outside source of a frequency
transmission such as a CB radio, Ham or police radio, radar from a local airport,
cell phones, power lines, neon or mercury vapor lights, power sub stations, etc.,
any one of these interference's can throw off the calculations of the radar unit.
• 6. Auto lock on wrong target - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
suggest that you disable the auto lock on units that have this function and the
newer units no longer have this capability.
• 7. No tracking history - this recommendation is most often ignored. It's one that is
stressed in the operational manual and its impossible to avoid if you are using the
unit in the "instant on" mode. The errors occurs when there are multiple targets in
the path of the radar beam and the police officer has not observed the average
speed reading nor has he checked for any external interference.
• 8. Harmonic Error from Phase Lock Loop - This problem is common with moving
radar units when the police car is accelerating and the target vehicle is moving at a
slow speed, typically under 20 mph and an error can occur in the reading.
Which one was I prove it
• 9. Terrain error - One common factor in radar units is that they always read in a
straight line. They cannot read around a turn or the other side of a hill. In this case,
the radar unit may actually may be reading another vehicle farther up the road
rather than the target vehicle that is going to be issued a citation.
• 10. Look past error - in this case the radar unit finds a larger vehicle between the
patrol car and the targeted vehicle and locks on that one and gives an entirely
different reading for an entirely different vehicle.
• 11. Multiple bounce error - These occur usually when there is an overpass in the
vicinity of the chase and the radar beam is reflected off of multiple targets at the
same time. The vehicle in question, an overpass, a sign, etc. will result in an
• 12. Reflection error - If the antenna part of a radar unit is hung on the outside of
the police officer's car , the beam can actually hit a side window or part of the
window and a false reading results which will throw off the actual reading for the
• 13. Arm Swing Error - When the officer swings the unit up to point at the targeted
vehicle, the speed of his arm is added to the speed of the vehicle and throws off
the reading generated by the vehicle.
Are you familiar with the term "traffic history?" I want to
verify that this term refers to the continuous observation
of the traffic by an officer.
• With regard to speeding tickets, it is normal for an
officer to observe the traffic patterns for several
seconds - usually three to five - before he sees what he
believes to be a speeding violation. In other words,
three to five seconds before the radar unit sounds the
• Do you agree with this assessment? He will have to in
order to keep up the fantasy of the radar for backup.
Tell the court the tracking history
Was your audio Doppler working at the time the citation was
• If the officer claims he doesn't know what audio Doppler is,
remember this response when you get to the question
section on audio Doppler.
• What speed was your audio warning set on? If the officer
claims he doesn't know what audio warning is, remember
this response when you get to the question section on
• Was your automatic speed lock working? A crucial response.
If yes, you have started building your case for operational
error. If no, don 't worry, there's a lot more opportunities.
How far was I away
• At what approximate distance can you
determine the exact speed of a target vehicle
• What is the approximate range of your radar
• At a distance of 1,000 feet, how wide is the
• Can the radar unit distinguish between traffic
Can you bend it like a bow
• Can you get the speed of a vehicle around a
curve or over a hill
• Will the beam bounce off a metal building or
• Will the beam bounce off a metal building or
• Can a high-voltage power line interfere with
the radar beam
Manual or Automated
A manual on-off switch or other radar detector
defeating mechanism in association with your
• Were you stationary or moving when your
radar unit's alert went off?
• Was the target vehicle coming towards you or
moving away from you?
• Did you see the target vehicle preceding the
time your radar unit's audio alarm went off?
Tell me about your training
How many years have you been a police officer?
How long have you operated radar units?
Have you received formal instruction and training in the operation of radar?
Under what circumstances did you receive your training?
How many hours of classroom instruction did you receive?
How long ago did you receive this training?
How many officers took this training with you?
Was the training a lecture?
Were you seated auditorium style? Where were you seated?
Did you have any other classes that day? Were questions allowed? Did you ask any questions?
Who taught this classroom portion of the radar course?
• was the manufacturer, you have a potentially biased source of training.
Years since your initial training, have you had any additional radar course work?
How many hours of one-on-one field training with a professional instructor have you had in the
operation of radar units?
Show the court the repair bill
• Have you ever encountered any problems with
• Do you believe the (actual unit used) gives
deceptive or false readings?
Is there a special number or symbol that appears on the readout to indicate a false
How, then, can you tell that the reading you are getting is false?
Do you allow a variance before giving a ticket --- why is that!
The innocent go free
WHAT THE PROSECUTION HAS TO PROVE
• At your hearing, the prosecution must begin by giving the court
evidence showing that you committed the offence. If, when the
prosecution has finished giving evidence, parts of the evidence
required are missing altogether, you may be able to ask the Justice
of the Peace to dismiss the charge right away before you have
either to question the peace officer or to tell your own version of
the story. But be aware that, if you ask for the charge to be
dismissed at this stage, you will lose your chance to cross-examine
the police officer.
• Sometimes it is hard to resist having the chance to explain your side
of the story. But often it is to your advantage to point out the flaws
in the prosecution's case first, then wait to see if a defense or
rebuttal is necessary.
You may want to rethink this one!
Testifying on Your Own Behalf
• Except in a case where the burden shifts to you
[see the section "reversing the burden of
proof"above], you are not required to take the
stand and testify on your own behalf. The
evidence presented by your own witness may be
enough to explain your version of the facts to the
court. Or you may be able to win your case
simply by pointing out the defects in the
prosecution's evidence or casting doubt on his
Regina vs. Blackburn
Absolute and Strict Liability Offences
• One of the principles of criminal law is the
concept that a guilty act must be accompanied by
a guilty mind in order to merit a conviction. The
offender must have known what he was doing
and have intended to do it. But provincial traffic
offences fall into the rather confusing category
known as "quasi-criminal" in which this rule does
not always apply. Some offences are called
"absolute liability offences" and some are called
"strict liability offences."
• Absolute liability offences are those in which
your guilt is established once the necessary facts
of the offence are proven by the prosecution. If
you did it, you are guilty. You are not then free to
argue that you were honestly mistaken or did not
intend to commit the offence. There are very few
absolute liability offences; usually they are only
found in minor regulations which require firm
enforcement for public safety or the good of
society as a whole.
• Strict liability offences are those in which you
can avoid conviction by proving that you
made an honest and reasonable mistake of
fact and committed the guilty act without a
guilty intent. In these kinds of offences, you
must show that you took all reasonable care
or acted with "due diligence".
PACING WITH ANOTHER VEHICLE
• Pacing simply means that the officer followed
you with another vehicle, attempting to maintain
a constant distance and referring to his
speedometer to gauge your speed. In this case,
the calibration of the police car is critical to your
defense. The defense strategies that we outlined
earlier may not all apply since the officer does
not have to be specifically trained in reading a
speedometer, and it is unlikely he was following
the wrong vehicle.
Oh by the way it’s a radio please
produce the license
• A copy of the FCC (Federal Communications
Commission) license that authorized the
issuing police agency and operator of the
speed measuring device to lawfully operate
the device on a specific frequency and / or
range of frequencies.
The Charter your Rights
• The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
has expanded the potential legal defences
available to people charged with a variety of
offences. In particular, sections 7 to 14
guarantee everyone certain legal rights,
including the right to be informed of the
specific offence charged without
unreasonable delay and the right to a speedy
trial. "Charter" arguments are complex. Seek
legal advice before your proceed.
The Court Our Law Our Cops
• The law are designed to protect the innocent
and punish the bad. So if you were speeding
fess up if you mess up. If not the laws protect
the people from sloppy police work based
upon getting officers in the field writing
tickets for the sake of tickets.