BC Government Quietly Introduces Law That Would Create New Defence to Speeding Tickets

A new limit to speeding against a sign is available


Now that the provincial government has started sitting again, we knew that legislation would soon be tabled. The first bill tabled, which was the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, purports to generally do housekeeping in legislation.

However, buried within this bill is a very important amendment to the BC Motor Vehicle Act. And it is one that does not remove rights from drivers, but in fact, gives them more rights when charged with a speeding offence.

The state of the law in British Columbia currently is that speeding is proven where a person exceeds the speed limit by as little as one kilometre per hour. Unless a driver is advancing a defence of necessity, it does not matter why the driver is speeding. It also does not matter if the speed sign is obstructed by an untrimmed tree, a construction project, or covered by accumulated snow.

But Bill 35 purports to change that.

It states:

Speeding offences – defence related to signs

148.2  In a prosecution of an offence for contravening a speed limit in which the maximum rate of speed is indicated on a sign on a highway, it is a defence if the defendant proves that, at the time of the alleged offence,

(a) no driver on the highway could see the front of the sign because the view of the front of the sign was obstructed, or

(b) the sign was in place, but no driver on the highway could read the sign.

What this means is that if a driver is charged with a speeding offence in circumstances where the sign is obstructed, this will amount to a defence.

However, this is an affirmative defence. The burden is on the defendant to prove that the sign was obstructed. It is not on the Crown to prove the sign was not obstructed. So in order to avail oneself of this defence, a driver would have to testify that the sign was obstructed for some reason.

There is a second aspect to this defence. The driver must also establish not just that they could not see the sign, but that no driver on the roadway could see the speed sign. So if there is something that obstructs the vision of only one driver but not all drivers, the defence would not apply.

This is a high burden. And questions remain whether by the use of the terminology “if the defendant proves” as opposed to “satisfies the trier of fact” the burden must be discharged beyond a reasonable doubt. Generally, in law, where a burden is on the defence in a prosecution, it is only on them on a balance of probabilities. That is, the defence must show that it is more likely than not that the sign was obstructed.

But generally, the reference to a burden on the defence uses terminology like “satisfied” to denote the standard of proof. In this case, the use of the term “proves” suggests that it may be the intention of the legislature to make the burden be on the defence on a beyond a reasonable doubt standard. This would likely require some photographic evidence beyond mere testimony, particularly if the police do provide evidence that the sign was visible on the roadway.

It would be nice to see some questions put to the Minister on this terminology in the legislation during the debates on this Bill, so that we can get a better sense of what the intention of the legislator is. This would assist defendants who wish to raise this defence going forward.

This defence would also only apply if a driver is charged with an offence that involves a speed sign. Speed in a municipality, for example, does not require a sign. Speeding in a school zone does. So only some drivers charged with speeding offences may avail themselves of this defence.

The sections of the Motor Vehicle Act to which this defence might apply would be Section 146(3), Section 147, and Section 148.

Ultimately, if this section of the Bill remains and is enacted into law, it would be my hope that police will simply not enforce speed limits where the signs are obstructed. Generally, the police know whether a sign is visible, as they are supposed to check it is in place before and after commencing enforcement.

My expectation would be that the police will cancel any tickets if they later discover a sign is obstructed, given the defence.

But, as with anything in law, time will tell.

83 thoughts on “BC Government Quietly Introduces Law That Would Create New Defence to Speeding Tickets”

  1. really nice

    This is definitely good tidings my friend. you are a very gentle novelist . i lust after to portion with you my website as well. tell me what do you think approximately it

    buy youtube views

    Thankyou again for posting such good content. Cheers

  2. May I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody
    that really knows what they’re talking about online. You definitely realize how to bring a problem to light and make it
    important. A lot more people have to look at
    this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more
    popular since you definitely possess the gift.

  3. Of course I like your web site, however you need to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell you. On the other hand I will certainly come back again!

  4. This is a really riveting website I be required to say.

    Too stale that there are not too varied websites like This anymore. But I am happy that I found it. Meet writing on it .

    You can see my website here as unquestionably: xbody

  5. Someone essentially help to make critically posts I might state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your website page
    and thus far? I surprised with the research you
    made to make this actual submit amazing. Magnificent activity!

  6. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  7. whoah this blog is great i really like reading your posts.Keep up the great work! You recognize, a lot of persons are hunting around for this info, you could help them greatly.

  8. I got this website from my pal who told me on the topic
    of this site and at the moment this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative
    posts at this time.

  9. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and
    was wondering what all is needed to get setup?

    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty
    penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any
    suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

  10. Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site.
    I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit once again since i
    have book marked it. Money and freedom is
    the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

  11. Howdy fantastic blog! Does running a blog like this require a large amount
    of work? I’ve absolutely no knowledge of computer programming but I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyway,
    should you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners
    please share. I understand this is off topic but
    I just wanted to ask. Kudos!

  12. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would
    really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you
    got your design. Appreciate it

  13. Hi there are using WordPress for your site platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create
    my own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your
    own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

  14. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments?
    If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  15. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think
    I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  16. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m no longer positive whether or not this submit is written by him as no one
    else realize such certain about my problem. You’re amazing!
    Thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Call Now ButtonCALL ME NOW Scroll to Top