Although traffic ticket offences are Provincial offences and are not criminal offences, the standard of proof is the same as offences under the Criminal Code, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt and the responsibility is on the prosecution to meet this burden. Good defences to traffic tickets can be very technical by showing the prosecution does not meet the standard of the onus. As experienced legal representatives, we can challenge the police officer’s evidence and raise a reasonable doubt. There are many elements that can be used to question the prosecution. One example is whether or not the police tested the equipment properly before and after being used to lay the charge.
Most Highway Traffic Act offences are strict liability offences. After the prosecution proves the violation, it is up to you to show you exercised due diligence to prevent the illegal act. The standard to prove due diligence is on a balance of probabilities. With experienced legal representation, you could have a better chance to build up a legal justification that you did what any reasonable person would have done in that same circumstance. If it is successful, your charge could be dismissed.
The Provincial Offences Act, which covers all Provincial offences, offer common law defences to traffic tickets on a case-by-case basis.
The Provincial Offences Act also offers an opportunity to reduce the amount of the imposed fines where there are minimum fines set out in the regulation. These fines can usually be lowered, reduced or taken away all together at the discretion of the Justice.
There could also be a Charter challenge if there was an abuse of procedure of your Charter rights. An example of this is unreasonable delay of the trial or unreasonable search and seizure of your vehicle. A successful Charter challenge could result in a dismissal of the case or an offer of a lesser charge.
Any ambiguity on the face of the ticket, such as the charge laid, fine, section of the law, etc, will be in favour of the interpretation of the offender.