The Ontario government plans to appeal a ruling that said some parts of the province's street racing laws are unconstitutional.

Attorney General Chris Bentley said the province doesn't believe the law goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"From time to time you get decisions that are ones that you wish to appeal, and we'll be seeking leave to appeal this one," he said, calling the legislation an important public safety initiative.

"It's important that people understand that in the meantime, the provisions are still in effect and the police can still lay charges," Bentley said.

Judge G.J. Griffin of Napanee, Ont., overturned the stunt-driving conviction of Jane Raham, a 62-year-old grandmother from Oakville, who was charged with stunt-driving for going more than 50 kilometres an hour above the speed limit while passing a tractor trailer.

Raham had testified that she had sped up to pass a tractor trailer, when she was clocked going 131 kilometres an hour in an 80-kilometre zone.

"I didn't feel such a severe punishment should be brought down on me for that amount of speeding for just a few seconds as I passed the truck and I was totally in shock because they were being so harsh," Raham told reporters.

Griffin said in his ruling that he overturned the conviction because under the absolute liability law, once the offence is proven by facts, the accused can't bring forward a defence.

Under the stunt-driving law, a speeder can be jailed for up to six months without being able to fight it in court. Judge Griffin ruled that convicting someone who is "morally blameless" for an offence that carries a jail sentence is a breach of the Charter.

Tickets can still be issued

In his decision, the judge didn't prevent police from handing out more tickets, but the move will put cases on hold pending an appeal by the Crown.

Jonathan Rosenthal, a lawyer who deals with plenty of speed racing cases, told CBC News the ruling could affect thousands of cases across the province.

"This is a ground-breaking decision because this is the first appeal of a charge under the stunt-driving legislation," Rosenthal said.

The province brought in stiffer fines and automatic suspensions of driver's licences in 2007 in hopes of cracking down on dangerous driving.

Under the law, minimum fines for street racers were $2,000, with a maximum of $10,000. Ontario said at the time it was the highest penalty in Canada for street racing.

Almost 10,000 people have been charged under the stunt-driving law since it was enacted two years ago.

Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Dave Woodford also warned drivers not to take any liberties because of the ruling, noting police can still seize vehicles and licences.

"We're still going to lay the charge. You're still going to have your licence suspended and your vehicle impounded for the seven days," Woodford said.

with files from the Canadian Press