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Strict Liability Offenses vs. Absolute Liability Offenses
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:57 am 
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Strict Liability Offenses vs. Absolute Liability Offenses – Ontario Traffic Tickets

It is important to determine first which type of ticket someone has received before they can defend themselves.

The burden of proof is placed on the defendant with strict liability offenses. The defendant must prove that they took reasonable actions to prevent the offense or incident from happening. In order to fight a strict liability offense, a defendant can use ‘due diligence’ defense which means they took every precaution to prevent the offense from happening.

Strict liability offenses include failure to remain, driving while suspended, driving without insurance, failure to wear a seatbelt or careless driving. In the case of a broken taillight, one can bring up the distance that the taillight was working when they started out on their trip, therefore they had done their ‘due diligence’ which is not easily determined however it is not easily disputed either.

The mental state of the defendant is rendered irrelevant in the absolute liability offenses. Therefore any defense on the topic of the defendant’s mental state will not normally apply for strict liability offenses. The alternative is that the defense directs all questions toward the act itself, i.e. did the act actually occur? This raises doubt in the minds of the courts.

Absolute liability offenses include speeding, yielding to traffic and failure to stop at a red light. Nearly anything to do with a moving violation, that does not cause an accident, is considered an absolute liability offense. In an absolute area it does not matter if a person is driving one mile over the speed limit or several miles over the speed limit, the absolute speed limit is posted and therefore that is the speed limit one must maintain.

The defense of necessity can also be used when trying to get out of a traffic ticket. The defense of necessity can be used if the defendant meets all the requirements like proving they needed to commit the act to avoid immediate risk or hazard; they could not have foreseen the emergency; the harm caused by the defendant was less than the harm avoided and no other reasonable alternative was available.

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Re: Strict Liability Offenses vs. Absolute Liability Offense
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Thanks for the post. I couldn't find a post that answered my question, so I'll ask here.

For speeding tickets, I can see how the police can prove a speeding offense (maybe by radar info). But what about other Absolute liability offenses?

In my case, I got a "Fail to obey lane sign" 154(1)(c). What would happen during a trial: The officer reads his notes, then I read mine, and the JP chooses who (s)he believes more?

Thank you in advance. :D


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Re: Strict Liability Offenses vs. Absolute Liability Offense
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:23 am 
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kimashlynn wrote:
Thanks for the post. I couldn't find a post that answered my question, so I'll ask here.

For speeding tickets, I can see how the police can prove a speeding offense (maybe by radar info). But what about other Absolute liability offenses?

In my case, I got a "Fail to obey lane sign" 154(1)(c). What would happen during a trial: The officer reads his notes, then I read mine, and the JP chooses who (s)he believes more?

Thank you in advance. :D


An officer doesn't just read their notes. The notes are there to refresh his or her memory of the event. A trial will take place, and the officer will provide testimony to help prove your guilt. This may include all sorts of information, including info not found within his/her notes.

In addition, during a trial, you will have the oppourtunity to cross examine the officer. This means you can challenge him/her on their notes, observations, and anything else that is relevant to the matter at hand.

The JP will then consider all the facts and testimony provided and will render a decision. His decision is based on everything discussed and the perceived reliability of the witness (the officer, you, etc).

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