Why fight traffic tickets?
The main reason to fight a traffic ticket is the potential for skyrocketing insurance premiums. Traffic tickets cause insurance premiums to increase primarily because of demerit points.
Many traffic tickets have demerit points associated with them. For example, a traffic ticket for disobeying a red light carries three demerit points. If a driver is convicted of a traffic offence, the associated number of demerit points is recorded in his or her driving record. Insurance companies review driving records before providing or renewing coverage, and sometimes on other occasions. If a driver has demerit points, his or her insurance is sure to go up significantly.
An accumulation of a critical number of demerit points can also lead to unpleasant consequences with the Ministry of Transportation, such as having your license suspended.
To learn more about particular types of traffic tickets and the potential consequences and demerit points associated with them, please click below:
- Careless driving
- No insurance and other insurance charges
- Fail to remain at scene of accident
- Fail to stop for school bus
- Stunt driving
- Cellphone use
- Red light
- Disobey stop sign
- Improper turns and unsafe lane changes
The Three Options on Your Traffic Ticket
When you are given a traffic ticket, the traffic ticket will outline three options you have:
- Pay the fine. This option should be exercised with great caution. Paying the fine in your traffic ticket will mean that you are convicted of the traffic offence, and will face the associated demerit points and other consequences. We suggest that before paying the fine in your traffic ticket, you learn more about the consequences of your particular traffic ticket by clicking on the type of ticket above or contacting us.
- Request an early resolution meeting with the prosecutor. If you choose this option, the provincial offences court will schedule a meeting for you with the prosecutor, where the prosecutor will attempt to settle the matter with you without trial. If you do not reach a settlement at the meeting, you may request a trial.
- Request a trial in your traffic ticket. If this option is chosen, the court office will schedule a trial for you in the traffic offence.
The Traffic Ticket Process
The process we use to fight your traffic ticket is as follows:
- Request a trial in your traffic ticket within 15 days of the date of the traffic offence. If this time has already lapsed, do not worry – contact us and we may be able to request a trial nonetheless, or reopen the traffic ticket (see below).
- Monitor receipt of the Notice of Trial and contact the court periodically to see whether a trial is scheduled – we don’t want to miss it!
- Request disclosure, pick it up when it is ready, and review it carefully.
- Based on disclosure and our interview with you, determine the best approach to fighting your traffic ticket (see below).
- Prepare for and attend the trial in your traffic ticket, or adjourn (reschedule it) if more time or information is required to achieve the best possible result.
Our approaches to fighting traffic tickets
There are three ways that we use to fight traffic tickets:
- Use procedural means to have the traffic ticket withdrawn. There are certain errors that the police officer, prosecutor or court office may make which would usually lead to the traffic charge being dropped.
- Attempt to reach a settlement with the prosecutor. This involves a careful review of your traffic ticket and the disclosure provided in the offence, to attempt to reach a settlement with the prosecutor. Primarily, the goal here is to eliminate demerit points.
- Go to trial, calling witnesses and reviewing evidence.
Reopening Traffic Tickets
Sometimes, you may be convicted of a traffic offence even though you had every intention to fight the traffic ticket, if you, for example didn’t receive the Notice of Trial or missed the trial because of an emergency.
In these cases, your traffic ticket may be reopened, which means overturning the conviction and sending the traffic ticket to a new trial. If you were convicted but feel that your conviction should be overturned, please feel free to contact us.
Appealing Traffic Tickets
A traffic ticket appeal is different from a traffic ticket reopening. You may need to appeal, rather than reopen, your traffic ticket if:
- There was a trial in your traffic ticket, you were found guilty, but you disagree with the result
- Several months have passed since you were convicted
- You applied for a reopening but were denied
The appeal process is more involved than a reopening, and requires the preparation of a Notice of Appeal, factum (legal arguments) and appearance for a hearing. If you were convicted after a trial, a transcript of the proceedings would also need to be requested. If you were convicted of a traffic offence, please feel free to contact us to discuss whether your ticket can be appealed or reopened.