Can I challenge a photo radar camera speeding ticket?
If you got a speeding ticket in BC in the past year, there’s a chance you are one of tens of thousands of drivers issued a photo radar camera speeding ticket.
The BC government made more than 30 so-called red-light speed cameras operational last July. Between then and April, the snap-happy speed traps issued 23,303 traffic tickets. To date, the highest speed violation the intersection speed cameras captured was someone going 149 km/hr in a 50 m/hr zone.
If a speed camera fine found its way to your mailbox, you probably want to know what it all means and what your options are. This blog aims to provide some answers.
Who issues a photo radar camera speeding ticket?
The police, the BC provincial government, and ICBC operate the Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) program. A photo radar camera speeding ticket is issued when a driver exceeds the speed limit while passing through one of 34 intersections in BC. When the photo radar is triggered it takes a photograph of the vehicle.
Two intersection safety camera program officers then examine the photos. If they both independently decide an offence took place, they will cross-reference the license plate number with the Department of Motor Vehicles to find the registered owner of the vehicle. They will then send the registered owner a speeding ticket in the mail. If the ticket returns undelivered, a process server will hand the ticket at the owner’s address in person.
Do speed camera tickets carry penalty points?
Since the speed camera ticket is issued to the registered owner, they might not have been the person behind the wheel when going through the intersection. The owner might have lent their vehicle to someone else who committed the offence. As a result, registered owners do not receive penalty points on their driver’s licence Intersection Safety Camera speeding violations.
It is slightly different for commercial drivers, however. If you drive for work, a photo radar camera speeding ticket can result in points added to your National Safety Code profile. If you are a commercial driver, then, you have an added incentive to dispute an intersection safety camera ticket.
Should I dispute a speed camera ticket?
If you get a photo radar camera speeding ticket in the mail, you have two main options: you can admit guilt and pay the fine, or you can dispute it. If you decide to dispute it, you must act fast. You only have 45 days to dispute it, or 30 days if you were handed the ticket by a process server.
If you choose to go the dispute route, the first step is to complete a Violation Ticket Notice of Dispute form and either mail it or hand it in person at a provincial court registry or ICBC driver licensing office. Only the registered owner can dispute the ticket but they can nominate someone to represent them.
Next, you must wait to receive a court date in the mail. You or your representative then attends court where an intersection safety camera officer will appear to explain the evidence against you.
Defences against a photo radar camera speeding ticket
If you decide to dispute a speed camera ticket, it is highly recommended that you hire a lawyer to fight it for you. At the very least, if you decide to go it alone, you need to prepare a strong defence. There are only a handful of defences that generally succeed in speed camera ticket disputes.
You could argue the defence of necessity, that you had no reasonable legal option other than to exceed the speed limit. The burden of proof is on you to prove the defence of necessity.
Other defences that might apply to you is if the vehicle was stolen or if you were not the registered owner at the time the photograph was taken. These defences would only apply in very specific circumstances, however, they should be fairly straightforward to prove.
Your best option might be to carefully examine the evidence against you. You have a legal right to disclosure of the evidence against you. Is the licence plate partially obscured? Was the photo radar speed camera properly maintained? Was the conclusion reached by the intersection safety camera program officer based on sound reasoning? These are all possible avenues you or a trained legal representative can use to get a traffic ticket overturned.
If you want to dispute a photo radar camera speeding ticket, the BC Driving Lawyers are here to help. Give us a call on 604-608-1200.