How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in Canada
Getting a speeding ticket can be an unwelcome surprise for any driver. Though it’s crucial to abide by traffic laws and respect speed limits, there may be instances when you believe the ticket was issued unfairly or in error. In these cases, it’s important to understand your rights and the steps you can take to fight the ticket.
To successfully fight a speeding ticket in Canada, you need to know the specific traffic laws in your province and gather evidence to dispute the charge to present your case effectively in court. The burden of proof will be on you and not the police officer who issued the ticket, so you must be thorough in your approach.
If you’ve never fought traffic tickets in the past, this article guides you through the general steps you need to take and explains the various consequences of getting a speeding ticket.
How To Fight A Speeding Ticket in Canada
The process of fighting a speeding ticket will differ slightly from province to province. If you find yourself saddled with a ticket you want to dispute, make sure you understand the process where you live. With that in mind, here are the general steps you will need to take to fight your ticket.
1. Attend Court
To dispute and fight your speeding ticket, you must take the matter to court within the timeframe established by provincial laws. For example, in Ontario, you have 15 days to dispute your ticket, although you may be able to get an extension due to special circumstances. The 15-day period includes weekends, and you must attend the issuing court in person to file.
2. Consider a Plea Deal
While in court, you might be offered a plea deal by the prosecution. This often entails a reduced fine if you’re willing to plead guilty. Consider your options carefully, but remember that accepting this deal means you will still have a speeding ticket on your record, which could affect your insurance premiums.
If you truly believe you weren’t speeding, it may be best to decline the deal and proceed with the trial.
3. Request Disclosure
Before your court date, it’s crucial to ask for disclosure. This provides you access to all relevant information and documents, including the police officer’s notes, which will be submitted to you for review before the trial.
Having this information helps you better understand the case against you and identify any weaknesses in the evidence.
Remember to make a note of your court date and plan accordingly. Make sure you arrive on time and well-prepared, as showing up unprepared or late can negatively impact your case. Dress professionally and maintain a friendly tone of voice when presenting your defence.
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What Are the Consequences of Getting a Speeding Ticket in Canada?
The consequences of receiving a speeding ticket vary depending on the province where you got the ticket, whether you were pulled over by a patrol officer or received a photo radar ticket in the mail, and how far you went over the speed limit. Here’s a closer look at some of the penalties you could face.
Your monetary fine will depend on how much over the posted speed limit you were driving. While the penalties vary between provinces, there is usually a jump in the fine once you exceed 20 km/h over the limit. You’ll see another jump at 30 km/h over, and so on.
You May Receive Demerit Points
In addition to monetary fines, you’ll also receive demerit points on your driving record. The more demerit points you have, the more severe the consequences. For example, accumulating too many demerit points can lead to license suspension.
Many Canadian provinces and municipalities use photo radar detection. If you receive a speeding violation via photo radar, there will be a monetary fine; however, you won’t lose demerits. This is because while the traffic cameras can capture an image of the license plate and the vehicle, there is no way to prove who was driving at the time of the infraction.
You May Have Your License Suspended
If you receive too many demerit points, your license may be suspended. The specific number of points required for suspension varies by province. For example, drivers who reach 15 demerit points face a 30-day license suspension. In Alberta, you’ll receive a 30-day license suspension if you receive eight or more demerit points within a 2-year period.
Your Insurance Premiums Could Go Up
Lastly, getting a speeding ticket can result in increased car insurance rates. Your insurance company will typically review your driving record when setting your rates, and having speeding infractions on your record will often lead to more expensive premiums. Remember that different insurance companies might interpret your driving record differently, so it’s essential to shop around to find the best rates for you.
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The Bottom Line on Fighting Speeding Tickets in Canada
Getting a speeding ticket can leave you feeling pretty deflated, but if you feel as though it wasn’t warranted and you have a clear understanding of your options, you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
If you decide to fight your speeding infraction, make sure you gather all relevant information and ask for disclosure. This will give you access to the officer’s notes and other documentation before your court date. Remember, being well-prepared and having all the necessary evidence increases your chances of presenting a strong case.
Ultimately, weighing the pros and cons of fighting the ticket is up to you and deciding what’s best for your situation. Remember to stay friendly and respectful throughout the process, whether you choose to contest the ticket or accept the consequences.
How do I dispute a traffic ticket in Ontario?
To dispute a speeding ticket in Ontario, you must select option 3 on the back of the ticket and request a trial by going to the courthouse or by sending in a request by certified or registered mail. Your next step is to request Disclosure, which is the officer’s notes about the infraction.
From there, you should go to a First Attendance meeting with the prosecutor. Here, you can discuss a plea bargain with the prosecutor. If you accept a plea bargain, then you can avoid going to trial. If you are not willing to accept a plea bargain and want the entire ticket thrown out, then you may have to go to trial. Note that most police officers will appear in court for traffic violation disputes.
What are the consequences of fighting a ticket?
When you decide to fight a speeding ticket, you may either have the ticket dismissed or reduced, or you might be found guilty and responsible for the full fine. When you plead not guilty, you should be prepared to attend court, possibly multiple times, which could mean taking time off of work.
Is it worth disputing a ticket in Canada?
Disputing a ticket can be worth it if you have a valid reason or strong evidence to support your case. However, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the time and effort involved in fighting the ticket. Also, consider any possible increases to your insurance premiums if found guilty. Each case is different, so carefully assess your specific situation before deciding if it’s worth disputing the ticket.
What are the demerit points for speeding?
In Canada, demerit points are assigned based on the severity of the speeding offense. Usually, demerit points increase as the speed violation becomes more severe. For example, in Ontario, speeding at 16-29 km/h over the limit results in 3 demerit points, while speeding at 30-49 km/h over the limit results in 4 demerit points, and speeding at 50 km/h or more over the limit results in 6 demerit points. Remember that demerit points vary by province and could lead to license suspensions if you accumulate too many.