Possession of a radar detector--how to fight it?

Moderators: Reflections, admin, hwybear, Radar Identified, Decatur, bend

Posts: 1

Possession of a radar detector--how to fight it?

Unread post by rxfeelgd on

I recently visited Canada and was pulled over on Highway 401 in London. I could not believe it because I did not think I was doing anything wrong except driving with Illinois license plates! The reason I was pulled over was for the possession of a speed detection device. Section 79 (2) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. I am guilty of that. I thought it was a ridiculous ticket considering other cars were roaring past me! When the officer told me he pulled me over solely for possession of the radar detector, he initially took the device. After he wrote the ticket, he gave me the radar detector back, but placed it in my trunk. I want to fight this case if I have a chance to win.

My defense would simply be that the officer does not have any evidence of a crime. If a cop arrests an offender for possession of drugs, the drugs must be collected for evidence and introduced by the prosecutor at trial. If a felon is charged with possession of a gun, the gun must be produced at trial. They need the "corpus delicti" or body of the crime. If evidence is not collected, there is no case for the prosecutor. That's the way it would work in the United States. In this case, the prosecutor would essentially be seeking a conviction for possession of a radar detector minus the radar detector.

My questions are:

(1) Is this a defendable case? (It concerns me that the law does not require the officer to collect the device)
(2) What is the burden of proof in a traffic case in Ontario?
(3) Does a traffic offender have the right not to testify in a traffic case? (I am not going to commit perjury to save $170!)
(4) Does a traffic offender have the right to a jury trial or are all of these cases bench trials before a judge?
If a traffic offender has a right to a jury trial, is there a standard book with jury instructions?

High Authority
High Authority
Posts: 2111
Location: Ontario

Unread post by Stanton on

1) Possibly, but it depends on the evidence and many other factors.
2) Beyond a reasonable doubt.
3) Accused has no requirement to testify.
4) No jury trials. A Justice of the Peace looks after Provincial matters.

While the officer has every right to seize the device for destruction, there is no requirement to do so. As long at the officer recorded his observations (such as make, model and location of the device) it should be sufficient evidence for Court. It's similar to cell phone offences, where officer simply notes his observations, but doesn't actually take the phone. If he had seized your device, you probably wouldn't have gotten it back, so you'd be out the fine plus the cost of the device.

If you are from Illinois, assuming you pay the fine the ticket should have no effect on your US licence. I believe only New York and Michigan exchange conviction information with Ontario. The other States don't care unless you fail to pay your fine, at which time your licence can be suspended.

User avatar
Radar Identified
Posts: 2881
Location: Toronto


Unread post by Radar Identified on

Usually the police would seize the detector and give you the $170 fine. (I believe they're supposed to seize the detector, but that won't get you out of trouble here.)

If you pay the fine, because Illinois does not have full ticket and licencing reciprocity with Ontario, the matter simply "disappears" and the Illinois DMV would never hear about it. The only reciprocity Ontario has with most US states is for unpaid fines. If you choose to fight it, you could either plea-bargain to a lesser offence (not sure that they'd offer it for this one), or if the officer does not show up the offence should be dismissed. The odds of that happening are not too good, but a reduced fine is certainly possible. Travelling from Illinois to fight a $170 ticket would possibly be worth it if you spend a lot of time here. However, the officer only has to testify that he picked up a signal on his VG3, pulled your vehicle over, identified you, and you were in possession of a radar detector that the officer saw. The actual device does not need to be produced at trial in this case. (It's a provincial offences matter.)
rxfeelgd wrote:considering other cars were roaring past me!
Yeah, speeding is the norm.

* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca

Post Reply

Return to “General Talk”