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Can you successfully contest a speeding ticket in Quebec?

Can you successfully contest a speeding ticket in Quebec?

Old Oct 17, 11, 11:20 pm
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Can you successfully contest a speeding ticket in Quebec?

A few weeks back, I received a speeding ticket on Highway 20 near Montmagny. The officer asked if I spoke French. I said “no.” All he said then was, “you were speeding.”

He left without telling me specifically how fast I’d been going. He returned with a ticket for driving 133 km/hr in a 100 km zone. The ticket was in French, which I do not speak. He told me I could request a translation, but left before I could ask any questions.

I couldn’t understand how I could go that fast. To do 133 km, the needle on my speedometer would be straight up, and I hadn't been anywhere near that since we left Chicago ten days earlier. Plus, I’ve been driving since 1967, and I’ve never had a speeding ticket.

So, I carefully exited my car and went back to his to tell him that I couldn’t understand how I could be going so fast. He was very dismissive and said, “You were going 133 km!” I wanted to ask him how he could be so sure (radar, etc.), but he stared straight ahead and wouldn't acknowledge me.

From the time we left Edmundston that morning, and all the way to Quebec City, numerous cars with Quebec license plates passed me by. Right before I got the ticket, two cars went roaring by me. I thought the officer was going after one of them. I might have been speeding slightly, but it was no more than 4 or 5 km, and that was to avoid being rear-ended.

I spoke to the front desk at my Quebec hotel Everyone urged me to contest the ticket. I called the proper authority and followed his directions. I'm told that I'll receive a response in six to eight months.

Two questions after all of this: has anyone successfully contested a moving violation in Quebec? And, does anyone know if Quebec reports tickets to Illinois? I was told they do to New York and Massachusetts, but that was all the fellow knew.

ps: While I spotted 2 or 3 squad cars along highways in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and, to that point, in Quebec, I didn't see anyone pulled over on the Trans Canada before me. Later, on the way home, we saw 3 cars (each about two miles apart) stopped in Ontario.
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Old Oct 18, 11, 9:49 am
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I really have no idea, but I suspect that it would be difficult (and possibly expensive) to contest a Quebec-issued ticket if you don't read or speak French.
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Old Oct 18, 11, 10:38 am
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Quebec ticket

The citation included a toll-free number; there, I was given the option for an English speaking person. I was told I could write my letter in English and receive a final (actually semi-final) declaration in the same language. The manI spoke with was very courteous.
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Old Oct 18, 11, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by johnmcq View Post
The citation included a toll-free number; there, I was given the option for an English speaking person. I was told I could write my letter in English and receive a final (actually semi-final) declaration in the same language. The manI spoke with was very courteous.
Yup, they are obliged to serve you in the official language of your choice (French or English) so you shouldn't come across any issues on that front. There was a case earlier this year of someone having a ticket overturned because it was not written on both languages (in Alberta, written in English, with no French translation I believe).

On the speeding thing, I am not sure it is a defence to say you were only 4 or 5km over - that is still technically speeding.
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Old Oct 18, 11, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by emma69 View Post
Yup, they are obliged to serve you in the official language of your choice (French or English) so you shouldn't come across any issues on that front.
"Shouldn't" and "won't" are two different things...
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Old Oct 18, 11, 4:51 pm
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The folks at the Courtyard front desk told me that if I wasn't given the ticket in English that it would be dismissed. The Quebec government official told me, however, that all I was entitled to was a copy of the ticket translated into English.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 12:31 am
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Originally Posted by emma69 View Post
Yup, they are obliged to serve you in the official language of your choice (French or English) so you shouldn't come across any issues on that front. There was a case earlier this year of someone having a ticket overturned because it was not written on both languages (in Alberta, written in English, with no French translation I believe).
IIRC, that case wasn't overturned, it was just brought back into question upon appeal. The guy who was speeding still isn't off the hook.

Originally Posted by johnmcq View Post
The Quebec government official told me, however, that all I was entitled to was a copy of the ticket translated into English.
Correct, La Belle Province has only one official language, and it isn't English. Just like how a French-speaking driver wouldn't get a French ticket in Alberta, why would an English-speaking driver get a French one in Quebec? However, the Quebec government is rather accommodating for English speakers and you should be able to go through most of the process in English.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by emma69 View Post
Yup, they are obliged to serve you in the official language of your choice (French or English) so you shouldn't come across any issues on that front. There was a case earlier this year of someone having a ticket overturned because it was not written on both languages (in Alberta, written in English, with no French translation I believe).

On the speeding thing, I am not sure it is a defence to say you were only 4 or 5km over - that is still technically speeding.
Originally Posted by Santander View Post
IIRC, that case wasn't overturned, it was just brought back into question upon appeal. The guy who was speeding still isn't off the hook.

Correct, La Belle Province has only one official language, and it isn't English. Just like how a French-speaking driver wouldn't get a French ticket in Alberta, why would an English-speaking driver get a French one in Quebec? However, the Quebec government is rather accommodating for English speakers and you should be able to go through most of the process in English.
All of Canada is legally bilingual except for one DISTINCT province.
Even in La Belle Province if it is Canadian federal matter you can demand English but in provincial matters it is legal to only deal with it in French.
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Old Oct 20, 11, 7:22 pm
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I've used these guys before for an Ontario-based situation. They were quite good; everything was handled professionally and clearly. I'm not sure if they can handle a Quebec case, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to call them and ask. If they don't work in La Belle Province, they might know an outfit that can help.
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Old May 7, 12, 10:50 pm
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Yes you can successfully (sort of) contest a traffic ticket in Quebec

Thanks for all the responses.

Well, in March, I was in touch with an official of the Quebec justice system, who told me that my case had been reviewed and that he was empowered to lower the offense.
The end result would be a significant reduction in the fine. I was told to fax a signed statement where I pled guilty to driving 120 km/ hour in a 100 km zone (compared to the 160 kms I was wrongly charged with). I did so. Two months later, I recieved a bill for $111 (versus $199) which I paid via credit card.

Not counting the police officer who stopped me in the first place, everyone i dealt with was very nice.

WEe loved Quebec and will freturn. My wife will drive.
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Old Aug 2, 15, 11:58 am
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Quebec targets non Quebec plates

Originally Posted by johnmcq View Post
A few weeks back, I received a speeding ticket on Highway 20 near Montmagny. The officer asked if I spoke French. I said “no.” All he said then was, “you were speeding.”

He left without telling me specifically how fast I’d been going. He returned with a ticket for driving 133 km/hr in a 100 km zone. The ticket was in French, which I do not speak. He told me I could request a translation, but left before I could ask any questions.

I couldn’t understand how I could go that fast. To do 133 km, the needle on my speedometer would be straight up, and I hadn't been anywhere near that since we left Chicago ten days earlier. Plus, I’ve been driving since 1967, and I’ve never had a speeding ticket.

So, I carefully exited my car and went back to his to tell him that I couldn’t understand how I could be going so fast. He was very dismissive and said, “You were going 133 km!” I wanted to ask him how he could be so sure (radar, etc.), but he stared straight ahead and wouldn't acknowledge me.

From the time we left Edmundston that morning, and all the way to Quebec City, numerous cars with Quebec license plates passed me by. Right before I got the ticket, two cars went roaring by me. I thought the officer was going after one of them. I might have been speeding slightly, but it was no more than 4 or 5 km, and that was to avoid being rear-ended.

I spoke to the front desk at my Quebec hotel Everyone urged me to contest the ticket. I called the proper authority and followed his directions. I'm told that I'll receive a response in six to eight months.

Two questions after all of this: has anyone successfully contested a moving violation in Quebec? And, does anyone know if Quebec reports tickets to Illinois? I was told they do to New York and Massachusetts, but that was all the fellow knew.

ps: While I spotted 2 or 3 squad cars along highways in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and, to that point, in Quebec, I didn't see anyone pulled over on the Trans Canada before me. Later, on the way home, we saw 3 cars (each about two miles apart) stopped in Ontario.


I was pulled over on Thursday on hiway 20 in Saint Hiacinthe said ibwas doing 104 in an 80 I have 3 other cars around me all Quebec plates she weaved in and out if the cars to get to me and pulled me over gave me a 234$ ticket so I also would like to know if you can fight this and does it effect my license in onational?
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Old Aug 2, 15, 3:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Stacey1 View Post
I was pulled over on Thursday on hiway 20 in Saint Hiacinthe said ibwas doing 104 in an 80 I have 3 other cars around me all Quebec plates she weaved in and out if the cars to get to me and pulled me over gave me a 234$ ticket so I also would like to know if you can fight this and does it effect my license in onational?
If the facts are as described, you were stopped for speeding in a construction zone on that stretch of highway.......There is indeed highly evident roadwork ongoing in that area (I've been through that spot 3 times in the last week, most recently on Wednesday 29July)...bright orange cones and signs all over the place indicating the reduced speed limit (100 km/h down to 80 km/h).

We're you driving faster than 80 km/h ?

Last edited by NordsFan; Aug 3, 15 at 12:32 pm
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Old Aug 24, 19, 5:29 pm
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I'm in the same situation

Originally Posted by johnmcq View Post
Thanks for all the responses.

Well, in March, I was in touch with an official of the Quebec justice system, who told me that my case had been reviewed and that he was empowered to lower the offense.
The end result would be a significant reduction in the fine. I was told to fax a signed statement where I pled guilty to driving 120 km/ hour in a 100 km zone (compared to the 160 kms I was wrongly charged with). I did so. Two months later, I recieved a bill for $111 (versus $199) which I paid via credit card.

Not counting the police officer who stopped me in the first place, everyone i dealt with was very nice.

WEe loved Quebec and will freturn. My wife will drive.
Hi johnmcq. Can you please let me know who you were able to reach/contact to reduce the fine? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Aug 28, 19, 1:39 pm
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As a QC resident I can confirm that contesting tickets is a huge pain. Police officers have quotas, so they might write you down for about anything and there's not much to do about it.
Prosecutors might make you an offer for a lower penalty before going to court, but it much depends on the personality of the person you're dealing with. Contesting means physically going to court. If you need the officer to be present, you can ask for it. If the judge finds that it wasn't helpful for the officer to be present, you might be ordered to pay his salary for that duration though.
Even judges can be condescending or simply haven't been laid in a while and just want to find everyone guilty with ridiculous arguments (I've even heard: "Just pay the fine, I'm sure you can afford it.")
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Old Aug 28, 19, 2:12 pm
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appeal right with translator

The right of appeal is explained on the back of the notice of violation. Follow it, and respect the time limits. Ask that an English translator be made available.
Once I did this, I received in the mail a notice of a court date. I cannot attend on that date as I am away in Europe. No big deal. I called the prosecutor and she sent me a form to complete to request an adjournment.
In general, it is neither easy nor practical to fight a speeding violation in la belle province for one simple reason. Under the code civile, the officer does not need to attend. You do i.e. the rate of conviction is very high.
Having said that, I am confident I can get the fine reduced or waived? I know the prosecutor has the discretion. The real question is not about the $$$ but about the impact of the conviction on your insurance. That is between you and your insurer.
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