By Jordan W. Charness; photo by Flickr user Storem and published according to Creative Commons License 2.0

The ticket said that she was caught doing 109 km/h. It also had a little “R” in one of the boxes on the ticket. I asked her what happened.

She said that she wanted to defend the ticket because there were no speed limit signs along the road, at least as far as she could see. I asked her if she had been driving on a highway, and she said that she was really pulled over on a two-lane provincial roadway.

She said she thought that the speed limit was 100 km/h just like it was on the highway. Although ignorance of the law is no excuse, I did have some sympathy for her, right up until she answered my next question: “How fast were you going?”

“139 km/h,” she answered.

“But that’s 39 km/h over the speed limit on the highway!” I explained in some astonishment.

“That’s true,” she answered. “But I really thought I was only doing 39 km/h over the (100 km/h) speed limit!”

She wanted to contest the ticket because she saw no speed limit signs on the road. And that would have been fine if she had been charged with doing 139 in a 100 zone, as she could then have possibly argued that she should only have been given a ticket for going 39 km/h over the speed limit and not 59 km/h over.

Of course that’s exactly what happened. She had already discussed this matter with the cop, who reduced her speed from 139 to 109 so that she was ticketed at 39 km/h over instead of 59. It was for that reason that he put the little “R” in the box on the ticket; the “R” stood for “reduced” indicating that the speed on the ticket had already been reduced.

On the other hand, speed limit signs should have been more visible, but still.

Not all provinces use the system wherein a box with a letter “R” indicates that the police officer has already reduced the speed from what it was. But in those provinces that do this indication is supposed to tell the prosecutor that the police officer has already cut the driver some slack. Theoretically, the Crown prosecutor may then decide that he or she does not want to further negotiate the ticket because the driver has already had it reduced at the scene of the infraction.

A ticket is supposed to faithfully represent what happened at the scene. Although it is not sworn testimony, it is used as evidence to indicate to a court what actually happened and why the driver received a ticket the first place. This ticket said that the driver was driving at 109 km/h where in reality she was driving at 139, so the ticket itself was false evidence.

However, you would be hard pressed to find a driver who would be upset at having his or her ticket reduced from the true infraction to a lesser one, so it certainly does not harm the driver in any way. After all how can you complain about being cut some slack?

This lady seemed to have found a way to complain anyways. Although the judge did agree that it was possible that she had not seen the speed limit sign he did feel that she should know that ignorance of the law is no excuse and that a provincial byway has a maximum speed limit in that area of just 80 km/h. She was found guilty as charged of speeding at the reduced rate of 109.

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