Incorrect Speed Limit Posted

Rjohnson
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Incorrect Speed Limit Posted

by: Rjohnson on
Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:55 am

I was recently stopped for going 88 km/h in a 60 km/h posted zone. The officer reduced the charge to 70 km/h in a 60 km/h zone.

When I drove by that area the next day, brand new signs stating 80 km/h were posted. I can't be certain what was posted the previous night but I'm sure the officer will say he did a check and the sign listing the speed limit as 60 km/h was clearly posted.

I went to my region's website and found that the local by-law was amended 7 days before. With that being said, I know a speed limit change is not in effect until a sign is posted.

Long story short, when I read the supporting documentation for this speed limit amendment, it stated that the speed limit on the section I was traveling on was 'remaining' at 80 km/h. In fact, there was never a by-law changing this to a 60 km/h zone!

My question is this:
1. If the sign did indeed say 60 km/h but the speed of that stretch of the road was and always should have been 80 km/h, is this grounds for either dismissal or an amendment of my charge to 88 km/h in an 80 zone? If so, can anyone point me to case law where a speeding ticket was thrown out or amended because an incorrect speed limit sign was posted?


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by: Rjohnson on
Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:57 am

From what I can determine, this would be the best to use (taken from http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight. ... cj183.html)

"Boyd-Gibbons v. Skinner, [1951] 1 All E.R. 1049 (U.K.K.B.)"
- the Court set aside an acquittal at trial, holding that the presence of the speed limit signs, which must be deemed to have been lawfully erected by the local authority (being obligated to do so), was prima facie proof that a direction had been given under the highway traffic legislation, and in the absence of evidence to displace that proof, the Respondent should have been convicted.

Therefore, it is assumed from the presence of a speed limit sign that there is an appropriate underlying by-law. It is not the prosecutor's responsibility to prove this, but rather my responsibility to show there is no underlying by-law. If I can show this (which I can), the speeding ticket could be either thrown out or amended to 88 km/h in an 80 km/h.

For the record, if the ticket it amended and not thrown out, I will write every traffic ticket organization, every paralegal, and our local paper advising everyone that tickets given in that zone all need to be amended or thrown out!

Am I correct in my legal reasoning above? Am I bring to vindictive by bringing this to everyone's attention if I win?


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Simon Borys
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by: Simon Borys on
Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:28 pm

#1 why do you think that a speed limit is not in effect unless there's a sign for it? That's just incorrect.

#2 I'm not sure how much traction you'd have with a 60 year old case from the UK. If the JP didn't agree with the reasoning, they'd just say they weren't bound by it, which they're not.

#3 If the actual posted signage was wrong at the time you committed the offence, you'd probably have a great argument for the defence of officially induced error

#4 If the road you were traveling on was actually an 80 and you can prove that, then that's the speed limit for the purpose of the charge you're facing at trial
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by: Rjohnson on
Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:10 pm

Simon Borys wrote:#1 why do you think that a speed limit is not in effect unless there's a sign for it? That's just incorrect.
That's what's listed in the Highway Traffic Act, Section 128:
No by-law passed under this section or regulation made under clause (7) (c) becomes effective until the highway or portion of it affected by the by-law or regulation, as the case may be, is signed in accordance with this Act and the regulations.

Without a sign, would the posted limit be the default for that region (i.e. 80 km/h in rural, and 50 km/h in urban)?
Simon Borys wrote:#2 I'm not sure how much traction you'd have with a 60 year old case from the UK. If the JP didn't agree with the reasoning, they'd just say they weren't bound by it, which they're not.
I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for poiting that out.
Simon Borys wrote:#3 If the actual posted signage was wrong at the time you committed the offence, you'd probably have a great argument for the defence of officially induced error
That's what I figured. Do you know of any case law or government law that supports this, or do you feel this is just obvious?
Simon Borys wrote:#4 If the road you were traveling on was actually an 80 and you can prove that, then that's the speed limit for the purpose of the charge you're facing at trial.
Am I correct then in this statement: If the speed limit on a road is 60 km/h, a by-law changing it to 80 km/h is only effective once it's signing is changed from 80 km/h to 60 km/h? Once signed as 80 km/h, any deviation from this must be accompanied by either:
i - a change in the underlying by-law, or
ii - the speed limit changed according to Highway Traffic Act 128(8), which would also require signed designation that this road was a construction zone?

In other words, if a by-law was passed on March 1st and signed on March 8th, the speed limit changes on March 8th - correct?

Thanks for the response.


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by: Simon Borys on
Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:29 pm

Re #1: you are correct, without signage it defaults to 50/80

Re #3: I don't know if there is any case law on officially induced error with respect to speed signage, there's just the generic case law which sets out the defence, which you would then argue applies to this situation. This is not a simple matter to argue and I would suggest you contact and consult with a lawyer or paralegal on it.
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