Skip to main content
necessity defence speeding

Successful necessity defence in speeding ticket dispute

The defence of necessity is hard to prove in speeding ticket disputes. This is where a defendant argues they had no other option available to them than to exceed the speed limit.

It’s difficult to prove, but not impossible. This blog will look at a successful application of the defence of necessity in a speeding case.

Necessity defence

In order to fulfill the requirements of the defence of necessity in a speeding ticket dispute, you must prove that exceeding the limit was necessary because there was no alternative, legal course of action.

The defendant must prove the speeding was unavoidable and there were no reasonable alternatives.

Successful application of the necessity defence

In this case, which happened on Vancouver Island, Gabriel Milne was charged with speeding. He did not dispute that he was going above the limit but he raised the defence of necessity. He had been pulled over by a police officer for speeding on a highway.

In provincial court, Mr. Milne testified that he had been travelling behind a tourist bus which started to slow down aggressively.

As he pulled out to pass the bus he noticed a large transport truck behind him pull out at the same time. He testified that given its size and speed he feared it would rear end him so he accelerated to pass the bus and then pull back in front of the. Mr. Milne said he felt he had no option but to speed so he could pass without being rear-ended.

What the Court said

The judicial justice found Mr. Milne to be a credible witness, stating:

“I find that once Mr. Milne had made the decision to move to the left lane and pass the tourist bus, he committed himself to do so … I also find that at that moment he honestly believed, on reasonable grounds, that he faced a situation of imminent peril that left no reasonable legal alternative open.”

The fact Mr. Milne slowed down once he passed the tourist bus also meant the harm caused by the moment of speeding was proportional to the harm of the imminent accident.

Although speeding is an absolute liability offence, meaning there is no need to prove intent, the judicial justice pointed out that this should not deprive the defendant from the defence of necessity.

Proving the defence of necessity

The defence of necessity in speeding cases has fared variably in Court because it is difficult to prove. For this reason, your best bet is to hire an experienced traffic ticket lawyer. The BC Driving Lawyers can help. Call us on 604-608-1200 for a free consultation.