Does a police officer have to show you the number on the radar?
- Simon Borys
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One question I was frequently asked during my time as a police officer is, “Does a police officer officer have to show you the number on the radar they used to clock your speed?” Simon Says: No!
This is a myth that probably began from some jurisdiction in the United States where it is required, but it’s not in Ontario. This applies to all types of speed measuring devices used by police.
Speeding is considered an absolute liability offence, which means that the prosecutor does not have to prove that you intended or even knew that you were speeding. They only have to prove that you were. The key piece of evidence the Crown needs to prove the offence of speeding is the measurement from the speed measuring device used by the police officer. The officer’s verbal evidence in court as to what reading on the device was will generally be sufficient evidence to prove the speed (though not necessarily the whole case). The officer’s verbal evidence can be challenged but if all you do is disagree with the speed they testify to, it is not likely you will be believed, unless the officer has credibility issues. The court usually places a great deal of weight on an officer’s account of something like the number on a device, since they were specifically in the execution of their duties at the time and made notes of it during the incident or shortly thereafter.
That being said, there are still a number of ways to challenge (and successfully defend) speeding tickets.