TRAFFIC TICKETS: FIGHTING A TRAFFIC TICKET
Okay, for any reason you’ve got a traffic ticket. Now what? Now you have to consider the options you have. According to the circumstances involved and the information on your traffic ticket, consider which option to choose. You have 15 days from the date of your traffic ticket to decide. Usually, there are 3 solutions for your traffic ticket:
- Pay the fine for your traffic ticket (it is done out of court; by paying your traffic ticket you plead guilty; you’ll have a conviction record).
- Visit a court office to plead guilty but make submissions about amount of fine or time to pay (a conviction is registered).
- Request a trial. Depending on what your traffic ticket says, you may need to either mail your traffic ticket showing that you want a trial or you may need to visit a court office to file a request for trial.
You also have the fourth option – contact CP Paralegal Services as soon as you can and we fight your traffic ticket the best way possible. Actually, the last option is the best. No kidding!
Remember, paying the fine is an admission of guilt. There will be a conviction registered in your driver records. You will have no chance to lower your traffic ticket fine and demerit points (if any). Do not forget, if you have a conviction record, your auto insurance will be increased upon renewal.
Weigh the pros and cons of every option. Calculate the cost of fighting the traffic ticket and weigh it against the chances of getting it dismissed or reduced to a lower charge.
HOW CP PARALEGAL SERVICES CAN HELP YOU FIGHT YOUR TRAFFIC TICKET
It is always a good idea to hire CP Paralegal Services to fight your traffic ticket because we save your nerves, time & money.
- At CP Paralegal Services, we have experience and knowledge; we know how to fight your traffic ticket.
- If you hire CP Paralegal Services to fight your traffic ticket, we will come to the hearing instead of you, and you will not be involved in a stressful process.
- You will avoid standing in line, finding and paying for parking and gas in order to travel to the provincial offences court just to request a trial date. We will request a trial date for your traffic ticket.
- You will not have to ask for a day off at work just to request a trial date for your traffic ticket and then to attend the hearing.
- There will be no need to make a request to change a date of the hearing for your traffic ticket, if you cannot attend it at the date. CP Paralegal Services can.
- If you have got a traffic ticket while far from home, we can handle your case without you having to travel to the court at that location.
- CP Paralegal Services will develop the strategy of your defense. If there is an outstanding error on your traffic ticket, we may be able to build your defense on that. Probably, your defense will be based on exceptional circumstances that lead to the issuing of your traffic ticket. In some cases (for example, an obscured road sign or malfunctioning stoplight), it is reasonable to admit guilt without harming your traffic ticket case.
- There is a legal requirement that radar guns need to be recalibrated in a certain period of time. In reality, sometimes they are not. We know legal procedures of verifying whether this was done and documented.
- The police officer who issued you the traffic ticket must show up at the court hearing for your traffic ticket. If the police officer fails to show, your case will be dismissed. Often, the police officers schedule many court hearings on a certain day so that they can appear for all of them at once. If you have a good reason to change a date, there might be a chance that the officer won’t show up. You need to make your request in writing a few days in advance of the scheduled hearing. CP Paralegal Services can help you out with this.
- We make sure that all evidences are well-organized for your traffic ticket case.
- Often, we talk to the Prosecutor before the hearing and we are able to come out with a good deal such as: lower a fine or decrease the demerit points or both, pay a fine without incurring the demerit points on your licence.
- It always takes time and needs knowing the legal procedures to get necessary information (for example, disclosure) to fight your traffic ticket. At CP Paralegal Services, we request this information in advance to develop the best strategy for fighting your traffic ticket.
If you want to fight your traffic ticket by yourself, or just would like to know more about traffic tickets, we think that the information below will be useful. CP Paralegal Services is pleased to share it with you.
Four (4) Digit ICON numbers on your Traffic Ticket or Notice:
Often, motorists receive Yellow Offence Notices or Notice of Fine and Due Date or a Red Light Camera Offence Notice and are not sure who to talk to or where they should go to Request a Trial Date to contest their tickets. Often there is a sequence of numbers on the ticket or notice which can aid a motorist in locating the office responsible for their tickets. On a Yellow Offence Notice – look at the top left hand corner and you will see a four (4) digit ICON number. On a Notice of Fine & Due Date Notice or a Red Light Camera Offence Notice – look at the first four (4) digits of the Offence Number – this is the four (4) digit ICON number. After you have identified those four (4) digits, review this list of ICON numbers (http://www.toronto.ca/pay-toronto-tickets/poatickets/poa_offices.htm). You will find the four (4) digit ICON number, the corresponding Provincial Offence Office and corresponding phone numbers.
If you want to know Ontario Court Addresses go to Court Locations page in the “Traffic Tickets” section of our website.
WHEN YOU GET PULLED OVER BY THE POLICE
First of all, don’t panic! Slow down, switch your turn signal on and pull over. Take a deep breath and calm down. The police officers are also nervous because they never know what to expect when they stop a car.
Roll down your window, set the car in “park”, and then shut your engine off (if you forget to roll down your window first, and have to start the car again, the officer could think that you are going to run). Put your keys on the dashboard. Make all your movements slowly. Keep your hands on the top of the steering wheel. Do not leave your car unless you are requested to do so. Do not speak first. If you are stopped at night, turn on your interior lights immediately. Remember the simple rule: the more you do to ensure the officer’s safety the more you ensure your own.
When the officer comes to your window, they will usually ask for your licence, ownership and insurance. Slowly reach towards your wallet or glove compartment then put your hands back on the wheel. If it’s dark, the officer might follow your hands with a flashlight.
Be polite and cooperative all the time. If you are rude to the officer, it might make you feel better but it definitely will cost you more. If you are polite and cooperative, with luck, you might just get a warning or a less costly offense than you actually committed. Use respectful language, like “Yes, sir ” and “No, sir.”
Comply with all orders and any requests given to you by the officer. If you don’t, you might be in a bigger trouble. Do not talk unless responding to a question from the officer. Do not start any unnecessary conversation with the officer.
Remember, you have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Do not make excuses, never create stories, and try to avoid admissions of guilt because any admissions you make now, can be used against you later. Sometimes is better to say “I see” or say nothing at all. Silence is not an admission of guilt. Always keep in mind that honesty is the best policy.
Do not argue with the officer if you disagree, leave those issues for the court, but record the actual circumstances in your mind, and after the officer leaves, write it down. If possible, try to note the officer’s name and badge number. Writing down the patrol car plates is also a good idea.
If it’s appropriate, gather evidence for your defense after the police officer has left the scene. Right down all relevant details (for instance, exact location, time of day, traffic, road or weather conditions). Take pictures with cell phone camera (for instance, heavy rain or snow, fog, obscured road sign or a huge pothole that you had to swerve to miss).
READ THE TRAFFIC TICKET CAREFULLY AFTER YOU GET HOME
Read both sides of the ticket after you get home. There is useful information there that might help you. Make sure you understand all of it.
Get informed. Get as much information as you can. The precise traffic ticket will dictate the precise information you need to get. Find out exactly what offense you are charged with. Find out what the cost of conviction will be, including the fine, jail or community service, and increased insurance rates.
OPTIONS YOU HAVE TO FIGHT YOUR TRAFFIC TICKET
Basically, you have three options to fight your traffic ticket:
- OPTION 1. Plead guilty by paying the fine (a conviction is registered).
- OPTION 2. Visit a court office to plead guilty but make submissions about the penalty (amount of fine or time to pay) (a conviction is registered).
- OPTION 3. Request a trial. Depending on what your traffic ticket says, you may need to either mail in your ticket showing that you want a trial or you may need to visit a court office to file a request for trial.
If you do not choose one of the above options within 15 days of receiving the traffic ticket, or if you do not appear for your trial, a Justice of the Peace will review your case and may enter a conviction without you there.
You have the right to fight your traffic ticket in court. Many court locations permit defendants to meet with prosecutors before the trial to see if the charge can be resolved. If you receive a traffic ticket you should phone the court and ask about First Attendance options.
Plead guilty by paying the fine (out of court) (a conviction is registered)
If you have got a traffic ticket and do not want to fight it, you have to sign the back of your traffic ticket and make a payment to the court indicated on the back of the traffic ticket. You must pay the full amount indicated in the box called “total payable”, which is the total of the set fine, victim fine surcharge and costs.
Paying a traffic ticket
There are several methods available to pay traffic tickets, including:
- Online payment (via www.paytickets.ca.)
- In-person payment
- Payment by mail
- Telephone payment
You have to read your traffic ticket for the payment options available to you and information about how to do so.
Two amounts on your traffic ticket
One amount is the set fine and the second is the total payable. The total payable consists of the set fine, court costs and the victim fine surcharge. The set fine is ordered by the Chief Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice as an amount payable by the defendant in lieu of attending court to contest the charge. Court costs are an amount to be paid by the defendant for the service of the offence notice and/or summons and upon conviction of an offence. The costs are authorized by Section 60 of the Provincial Offences Act and the amount is set by regulation. Section 8 of the Provincial Offences Act provides that payment of traffic ticket constitutes a plea of guilty and results in a conviction being registered.
The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act. It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime. The amount of the victim fine surcharge is usually 20% of the imposed fine. Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25%
If you need more time to pay your traffic ticket fine
If you need more time to pay a provincial offence fine, visit the court office noted on the back of your ticket (Offence Notice) or the address indicated on the top of your Notice of Fine and Due date. You will be asked to fill out a form. This form will require you to fill in all of the information regarding your ticket including how much you have paid so far and a specific date that you would like it extended to, etc. You may or may not be required to see a Justice of the Peace to give a verbal explanation.
Visit a court office to plead guilty but make submissions about the penalty (amount of fine or time to pay) (a conviction is registered)
If you do not want to fight your traffic ticket, but wish to plead guilty before a Justice of the Peace and ask for a lower fine and /or more time to pay. A conviction will be registered. Your explanations can only result in a reduction of the fine, or an extension of time to pay. A Justice of the Peace cannot remove or reduce the demerit points that may be applicable, or reduce the charge. By Regulation under the Highway Traffic Act, demerit points are applied by the Ministry of Transportation upon conviction and the court has no authority to intervene.
Request a trial
Depending on what your traffic ticket says, you may need to either mail in your traffic ticket showing that you want a trial or you may need to visit a court office to file a request for trial.
Notice of Intention to Appear
If your traffic ticket says that you must attend court to request a trial, then you will be required to complete a Notice of Intention to Appear (NIA) at the court office. It is vital that the information recorded on this document is written neatly and correctly to ensure that notification, when mailed, will be directed properly. The trial notice indicating your trial date, time and place will be mailed to you at the address indicated on the NIA. It is your responsibility to advise the court if you change your mailing address.
First Attendance Meeting
If you wish to meet with the Prosecutor to discuss your charge, you may attend the court office and request a First Attendance Meeting. You will be required to complete a Notice of Intention to Appear (NIA) for the meeting and a date will be scheduled with the Prosecutor.
If you received a summons, it will indicate a court date instead of a fine. You are required to attend court on the date indicated on the summons. If you fail to appear in court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest, or the court may proceed to trial in your absence. You may not see a Justice of the Peace before your court date, and depending on the type of offence, your matter may be dealt with by the Provincial Prosecutor.
Disclosure is a legal procedure when the defendant is provided with copies of all evidentiary documents which will be used by the Prosecutor at trial. To order disclosure, you have to go to the court and fill out a Request for Disclosure form. It takes a while so you should apply for disclosure as soon as possible.
To change a Trial Date
If you cannot attend a trial to change a trial date, you have 3 options:
- Where this is the first request for an adjournment the defendant must attend the court office where his/ her trial is being held at least five (5) business days in advance of the scheduled trial to request an Adjournment of First Trial Date with the a Clerk of Court. The clerk will complete Request for Adjournment of First Trial Date and defendant will have to deliver completed form to prosecutor’s office to obtain their consent before the clerk can assign a new date. This can be accomplished with one visit to the court administration office.
- Where option 1 does not apply the defendant must attend the court office where your trial is being held at least five (5) business days in advance of the scheduled trial and file a Notice of Motion to change their trial date. This will also require you to return to court to have this Motion heard.
- You cannot attend the trial date that has been set and request the presiding Justice of the Peace for an adjournment and give the reasons why you could not attend.
MAKE A DECISION: to fight or not to fight your traffic ticket
When you have all information and options available for you, it’s time to make a decision – to fight or not to fight your traffic ticket. If you want to fight your traffic ticket then consider how: to fight your traffic ticket by yourself or to hire CP Paralegal Services to do the job.
GOING TO COURT
Going to your hearing, you have to look decent, clean and professional. It could happen that your entire case can rest on your attitude. Always show respect for the court and the proceedings. Win or lose, it is always best to thank the judge. You never know if you will have to appear in front of them again. Behave yourself inside and outside of the courthouse.
Once convicted, you will receive a Notice of Fine and Due Date informing you of your conviction and your payment due date. This notice also informs you of the actions that may be taken, (such as Licence Suspension, Plate denial, civil action and reporting the outstanding debt to a collection agency), should you not pay your fine.
IGNORING YOUR TRAFFIC TICKET
If you do not respond to the traffic ticket within 15 days, you may be convicted of the offence you are charged with. If you are convicted you would be required to pay the set fine, court costs and, if it is not a parking ticket, the victim fine surcharge by the due date. Failure to pay the fine imposed upon conviction by the due date will result in one or more of the following:
- For certain offences, including parking infractions, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation could refuse to issue or validate your vehicle permit
- For certain offences, including speeding, your driver’s licence could be suspended
- You will be charged an additional administrative fee
- Your defaulted fine will be referred to a collection agency
- Your defaulted fine information will be given to a credit bureau
Remember, at CP Paralegal Services, we are always ready to help you fight your traffic ticket!