Fighting a speed camera ticket
Okay, so you’ve just opened the mail to find a big fat speeding ticket. It’s probably ruined your day but fighting a speed camera ticket is still an option. All is not lost.
If you had been pulled over at the roadside you might have been able to talk the officer out of giving you a speeding ticket. But how do you argue with a piece of paper?
The government recently revealed the locations of 35 speed-enforcement cameras across BC. So what are your options when it comes to fighting a speed camera ticket?
Is it worth fighting a speed camera ticket?
You only have a short time to decide if it is worth fighting a speed camera ticket. A dispute must be filed within 30 days of being served with a violation ticket. If you don’t dispute it you will automatically be convicted.
You may be wondering if it’s worth it to fight a speed camera ticket. A speeding ticket incurs a fine of up to $196 but the fine should be the least of your worries. What will really hurt you is the penalty points. Penalty points go on your driving record which means when you come to renew your motor insurance, ICBC will likely charge you at a higher rate.
If you have enough penalty points on your driving record, a speeding ticket may also prompt the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles to issue a driving prohibition. The only way to overturn the suspension, in this case, is to successfully challenge the violation ticket.
If you are unsure if it is worth fighting a speed camera ticket, we recommend speaking to a lawyer. Call us on 604-608-1200 for a free consultation.
Fighting a speed camera ticket without human corroboration
How can an automatic speeding ticket be used to convict you in court when they lack human corroboration? That’s the $72 million question.
In speeding ticket traffic court hearings, the evidence used to secure a conviction is two-fold: the officer’s visual estimation and the reading from the laser speed device.
With speed enforcement cameras, the process is automated. The tickets are automatically issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.
It remains to be seen whether this system is going to hold up in court. We are confident automatic speeding tickets can be challenged in court because they lack human corroboration.
In the old days of photo radar, fighting a speed camera ticket was certainly possible. The old enforcement system consisted of a photo radar camera that would take a photograph while recording the speed. After the film was developed, an officer would look at the photograph and confirm the registered owner of the alleged offending vehicle by the license plate.
This case from 2000 shows the system was not without its problems. Mr. Benias disputed a speeding ticket he received from a photo radar device. His sole argument was the quality of the photo was so poor that it prevented him from confirming the vehicle as his.
The Court had to decide if the “relaxed evidentiary burden” in photo radar prosecutions prevented an independent judicial view of the photographic evidence. It also had to rule whether a person disputing photo radar evidence was obliged to cross-examine the officer who verified the ticket or submit evidence to the contrary in court.
The judicial justice found that Mr. Benias was not required to submit contrary evidence because the poor quality of the photograph raised a reasonable doubt. Mr. Benias was acquitted of speeding.
The judicial justice said: “Despite the agreement on the part of Mr. Benias that he has a license plate which is identical to the one that may be present in the photograph; the court is not satisfied on the basis of the poor quality of the photographic evidence before it; that the identity component of the speeding charge has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Technology has come a long way since 2000 and the quality of the photos will be much better but this case shows it is certainly worthwhile to at the evidence against you and challenge a speed camera ticket.
What to do if you get a speed camera ticket
The first thing to do after you receive a violation ticket notice is to decide if fighting a speed camera ticket is an option for you. You should speak to a lawyer who can help you with your decision. At BC Driving Lawyers, we offer free consultations and we can help you with your dispute should you decide to go that route.