Don't Just Pay Your Traffic Ticket!
If you are caught speeding, don’t offer any information other than what is required. If you are asked “How fast do you think you were going?” or “Do you know why I pulled you over?” answer with a simple “No, officer” or “I don’t know officer,” and try to be as polite and straight forward as possible. Sometimes the police officer is only pulling you over to give you a warning or perhaps another reason other than speeding. Bottom line is: Do not admit guilt by offering extra information without being asked!
Ask for a court or trial date. You want to be proven innocent so let them do their job, don’t do it for them. You are innocent until proven guilty. Once you have a court date set, keep asking for continuances, this is so that there are more chances your case will be dismissed. Continuances are easy to get, say you are sick, going out of town on business for your job, family emergency; anything you can think of will work. This also increases the chances that the ticket issuing officer will not be available for your court date and then the ticket will be dismissed.
You can ask for a court date by selecting option 3 on the back of the ticket. Then you can either mail it in to the courthouse or drop it off in person. The mailing address for the ticket is always printed on the back of the ticket. Option 3 is what you want to select.
If you can not get the ticket dismissed because the ticket issuing officer will be there, you might think about hiring a Paralegal. There are some tickets that come with high demerit points and hefty fines, and you might be better off handing over the case to someone with more experience.
If you find yourself in court over a traffic violation, you might want to accept a plea bargain from the prosecutor. This process is called First Attendance. You would have the opportunity to do this process before a trial is conducted. A plea bargain is where you plead guilty to lesser charges while pleading not guilty to the stiffer or higher penalty charges. For example, if you were charged with careless driving, you could plead to a speeding charge and avoid the more serious offense. This will not only save you money, but it will save you demerit points on your abstract and save on your insurance as well.
Many people feel that the Canadian police are just setting up a ‘cash cow’ with the speed traps and feel victimized by their system. One thing you can do to ‘fight back’ is to get the media involved. They can find out how many tickets have been given at any particular place on any given day or days in a row. They have investigators who will be glad to shed some light on the subject of how many speeding tickets the police are giving out.
Another place to turn to is a local radio station if you see where a cop is planted, waiting for other ‘victims’ and ask the DJ to announce where people should slow down a bit. It’s not illegal for them to promote safe, slow driving.
There are several reasons why you never want to pay a traffic ticket in Canada.
Insurance rates – your insurance will increase with every speeding or traffic ticket you plea guilty to and pay. Fighting the traffic ticket, even if you don’t win, will help to postpone the ticket and this will help you if you have another ticket that is about to roll off your driving record in a few months. Having one major traffic violation at a time will save you money on your car insurance.
Keeping a clean driving abstract – some jobs require its employees to maintain a clean driving abstract. If you are fighting a ticket, it will not be placed on your driving abstract until you are found guilty, so fighting the ticket will help to keep your record clean for as long as you are fighting it.
Demerit points – a traffic ticket in Ontario or Toronto Canada might just include more than just the money you have to pay for the ticket. There might be demerit points against your driver’s abstract. Of course this won’t take place until you are convicted in court. If you accumulate too many demerit points, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario – MTO could suspend your driver’s license.
High fines – you may not know what you are getting yourself into. Some fines for tickets can be as much as $25,000 and in that case you should fight not to pay the ticket. You may need a Paralegal or someone to help you fight for a reduced fine.
Sometimes, the police can be wrong. When police officers learn the Ontario Highway Traffic Act - OHTA, it is only a small portion of all the laws they need to learn. The HTA is very detailed; however, it is often misinterpreted. For example, nowhere in the OHTA does it say that one must remain at a stop sign for a full 3 seconds, however, people are constantly given tickets for not properly stopping for 3 full seconds at a stop sign.
If you receive one of these tickets, you can fight it and win if you remain calm at the scene and also in court. You must know of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act – OHTA so that you can argue where you think the error is and have a valid defense strategy ready.
Prevention is the name of the game – don’t give the police officer any reason to give you a ticket in the first place. And don’t be afraid to ask for a warning instead of the ticket. Don’t answer any questions like “Do you know why I pulled you over?” or “Do you know how fast you were driving?” It’s best to answer with “I don’t know, officer,” and leave it at that because anything else might be an admission of guilt, and you never want to plead guilty, no matter the circumstances.