For more than 30 years, the Quebec Court of Appeal has handed down a decision that is useful to anyone who wants to challenge a speeding ticket. Did you know that evidence of speed by radar must have three essential conditions to be valid?
What does the 1992 judgment say?
The story takes place in Baie-Comeau. A driver drives his car in a place where the speed limit is 50 kmph. The man was intercepted by a city police officer who said his radar registered a speed of 114 kmph. He has been given a ticket. Gentleman decides to challenge it within the time limit provided i.e. after 30 days.
In this 1992 ruling, Quebec’s Court of Appeal established three criteria for determining the reliability of radar:
· The officer using the radar should be competent. She must have taken a course in the subject and passed the exam. This information is written in his report.
· Radar equipment should be tested before and after police operations. If the results are similar, it can be concluded that the device was calibrated correctly between the two times. These tests must be mentioned in the crime report supporting your crime report.
· The radar device should be accurate such that the margin of error is small. This element is verified by a certificate attesting to this value.
If only one of these conditions is missing, the court cannot rely on the speed obtained by radar. In the case of the Baie-Comeau driver, no post-operative testing was performed. Thus, the court acquits him.
Three tips for an effective challenge
Many people prefer to consult a lawyer, especially if their driver’s license is at risk, and if you decide to defend yourself, preparation is important:
· Make a plan: Draw the streets and mark where you checked the speed on the odometer. The judge should follow your explanations carefully. Print your plan in triplicate.
· Avoid testifying about your driving habits. The judge wants to know how fast you were traveling at the time of the seizure. If you mention that you “usually” drive at 50 km/h, your descriptions will be inaccurate and this will work against you.
· Arrive 15 minutes before your audition. A plea deal to reduce the sentence is sometimes possible. You have nothing to lose by asking the crown’s offer.
If you lose, the court will determine whether you must pay trial costs of approximately $100 in addition to your fine. If released, you don’t have to pay anything.
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