Q&A - Can a Justice Increase the Fine Shown on a Traffic Ticket?

Q&A ImageI recently traveled back on a superb trip from Bella Coola back to my home in the Lower Mainland. If you want to get out of the lower mainland and explore our beautiful province I'd recommend this to anyone...

En-route I was traveling through Alexis Creek where I was stopped and ticketed for speeding. The officer alleges I was traveling at 104kph in a 60kph zone. I couldn't be sure exactly the speed I was going but would have to defer to the officer's superior measuring equipment. ;-)

I was then written up under sec 146 (3) with a fine of $196.

According to my math I have been lucky and should have been ticketed under sec148 (excessive speeding with a correspondingly higher penalty) rather than sec 146. I will go ahead and pay the fine (with a $25 deduction for filing within 30 days) and learn from my mistake but part of me wonders whether I should dispute the ticket given. As I understand, any fine levied cannot be increased by a judge but I don't know if the "offence can be increased".

Can I argue that I didn't commit the sec 146 offence without getting clobbered for the sec 148 offence?

I think it's all a bit academic but it is an interesting question to pose....


It's an Interesting Thought!

I've always been told that the traffic court justice doesn't have the authority to increase the ticketed $ amount for an offence beyond what is shown on the ticket. This arose when someone decided that the Offence Act did not provide authority to raise a fine.

The only other option is the court's ability to impress a driving prohibition as part of the penalty if the accused is convicted. My experience has shown me that this seldom happens. Unless the driving behaviour was significantly out of bounds when police ask for a prohibition to be imposed during sentencing the justice will usually say something to the effect of "I'll let the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles worry about that."

However, the Motor Vehicle Act now does provide otherwise:

148.1(4) If, by means of a violation ticket defined in section 1 of the Offence Act, a person is charged with an offence under section 140, 146 (1), (3), (5) or (7), 147 or 148 (1) of this Act and the evidence proves the offence but to a different degree than that reflected by the supplemental fine amount included in the ticketed amount, as that term is defined in section 1 of the Offence Act,

(a) the person may be convicted of the offence, and

(b) the supplemental fine amount may be varied in accordance with the amount prescribed under subsection (2) (b) to reflect the degree by which the person exceeded the applicable speed limit.

(b) will allow the justice to vary the fine according to the speed and there is no indication in the section that that it may only be done in the downward direction.

My bet is that if you don't have a significant driving record and you conduct your case in a civil manner, if you lose the justice will not likely increase the penalty. If the officer didn't think it important enough to impress the more significant penalty, why should it be demanded now?

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