Strict liability vs. absolute liability – which is your offence?


When a driver receives a traffic ticket, there are two kinds of offences: a strict liability offence, and an absolute liability offence. Each of these will determine what kind of defence the driver can make if he/she chooses to fight the ticket.

Strict liability

A strict liability offence means that the onus of responsibility lies with the driver. The driver must prove that he/she took every action that a reasonable driver would take to prevent the incident or offence from happening. To fight this kind of ticket, the driver can use a “due diligence” defense, meaning they took every measure to try to avoid the offence.

Some strict liability offences are:

  • Driving without a seatbelt
  • Careless driving
  • Driving while suspended
  • Failure to remain

Careless Driving Guelph

Absolute liability

With an absolute liability offence, a driver cannot use the defence of due diligence. Therefore when you are charged with an absolute liability offence, you must show that the Crown did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the offence.

Some absolute liability offence are:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign
  • Failure to stop at a red light

Every situation is different. Remember you have a right to fight your ticket. At Bulwark Legal Services we provide free consultations. You can visit our website and send us a copy of your ticket. We will help you decide the right course of action to take.