Q&A - Disputing a Red Light Ticket

Q&A ImageI got a traffic ticket for not stopping at a red light. However, I believe that I entered the intersection before the signal turned to red. There was no camera to support this charge.

I did not stop because my car was accelarated, I believed stopping would cause a more dangerous situation. Also, it was difficult to make a clear judgement because the situation was urgent.

I have a court date and I would like to know some effective ways to defend this ticket.

Because I am a N driver, I will get my driver's license suspended if I plead guilty and I really don't want that happen.


Proving a Red Light Violation

This is the law:

129 (1) Subject to subsection (2), when a red light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal, the driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection and facing the red light must cause it to stop before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, before entering the intersection, and subject to the provisions of subsection (3), must not cause the vehicle to proceed until a traffic control signal instructs the driver that he or she is permitted to do so.

(2) The driver of a bus approaching an intersection and facing a red light and a prescribed white rectangular indicator may cause the bus to proceed through the intersection.

(3) Despite subsection (1), and except when a right turn permitted by this subsection is prohibited by a sign at an intersection, the driver of a vehicle facing the red light, and which in obedience to it is stopped as closely as practicable to a marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, as closely as practicable to the intersection, may cause the vehicle to make a right turn, but the driver must yield the right of way to all pedestrians and vehicles lawfully proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection.

The main points to be proven are that there was a red traffic signal at the intersection, that you had not yet crossed the stop line, crosswalk or entered the intersection itself before the signal turned red and that you did so afterward.

If this was the case, there is no defense in saying that it was unsafe to stop except perhaps if you could convince the justice that doing so would have resulted in death or serious bodily harm. That is very difficult to prove.

Similarly, it would not be a good thing to say that you were going too fast to stop.

Camera evidence is not needed to prove the offence unless it is a red light camera ticket.

It appears that your argument is that you entered on the yellow and the officer is going to say that you entered on the red. If you can establish that, the court will not convict you of the red light offence.

Follow Up by E-Mail

Based on your comment, you said the court cannot convict me guilty if I establish that I went on yellow light. I was with a friend that was sitting on the passenger seat, and would it be effective to call her to the court as a witness? Would this be sufficient to increase the chance of winning?


Witnesses are always useful if what they have to say will support your case. Their testimony should not be rehearsed and if there is any doubt about them attending, you should have them subpeonaed. When your case is called, they should exit the courtroom and wait until it is their turn to testify. The weight of their testimony will be much less if they sit and watch the case unfold at trial.

Whether this is enough to have the ticket dismissed, well, that's up to the justice presiding over the trial.

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