Legal Matters: You’ve received a traffic ticket… Now what?

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You’ve been pulled over for an alleged offence and ticketed by the police.  What do you do next?

The police officer has the option to give you one of two types of tickets.  There is the Part 1 offence, and Part III summons.

Part 1 offences have three options on the back of the ticket:

  1.  Plead guilty and pay the ticket.
  2.  File the ticket for early resolution.
  3.  File the matter for trial.

Option  1 is considered an admission of guilt, and the conviction will show on your driver’s abstract and be visible, for insurance purposes, for three years from the date paid.

If demerit points are associated with the offence, these will be on your drivers abstract for two years from the offence date.  Contrary to popular belief, demerit  points do not affect your insurance rates.  They are put in place for Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to track a driver’s licence.  If a driver receives nine demerit points, they must show the MTO why they should keep their licence. At 15 demerit points, the licence is suspended.

Option 2 is to set up a meeting with the prosecutor.  This option is exactly how it sounds  – to resolve the matter before trial.  You will file the notice with the court and receive a date to meet with the prosecutor.

This is a time to dispute the charge, essentially  admitting guilt to the offence and asking for lenience.  It is, however, ultimately the prosecutor’s discretion as what the charge is resolved to, and if a resolution is available.

Option 2 gives a defendant no opportunity to dispute and withdraw  the charges.  Furthermore, the officer’s evidence is not necessarily available at this meeting . The evidence is necessary to dispute the nature of how and why these charges were laid.

Option 3 is for when you wish to push the envelope to get rid of your charge, or wish to obtain the officer’s notes in regards to the alleged offence. This is similar to option 2, where you must file for a date.  The difference being, this option is for your trial date.

The officer and prosecutor will be in attendance, as well as a Justice of the Peace.  You have the opportunity prior to your trial date, upon receipt of your trial notice, to request the evidence the crown intends to rely on to attempt to prove the charge before the court.

Although all of the options are easily completed at the filing process, they can get intricate when it comes to understanding the officer’s evidence or if your specific case may warrant a particular charter application in regards to a charter breach.  This is where hiring a professional is in your best interest.

Consultations are often free to assist you in your inquiry and to advise of the options with your case.

Part III summons are considered more serious traffic offences.  These are usually the result of a quasi criminal charge (ie. driving under suspension, severe accidents, driving without insurance, failing to remain etc.). These charges have no set fine, contrary to part 1 offences, and you cannot pay these out of court.

You are summoned to attend a First Appearance date in court.  On that date you will advise the court of your intentions and have an opportunity to obtain the officer’s evidence, the disclosure in the case in most court jurisdictions.  The matter will then either be put over to a set date or trial date to dispute the charges.

Consultations with a legal professional are highly recommended in these matters, due to their specific  knowledge in handling these cases.  Part III offences can result in severe fines, and some charges can even result in incarceration.  The experience of a professional can make the process much simpler and reduce a portion of the stress in attending court on your own.

Chris Buckle

Paralegal

Chris is a  Paralegal at Traffic Ticket Advocates Professional Corporation and can be reached at 905-898-0542

www.trafficticketadvocates.ca

The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.

Published Newmarket Era – March 17 2015

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