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I received a traffic ticket. Now what?

If you’re a driver, it’s likely that at some point in your driving history you have received a traffic ticket.

However, whether you have or have not been issued a ticket, people are often lost about their options when it comes to dealing with these tickets.

Some traffic tickets issued by the authorities carry a fine but no  penalty points will be deducted, where for other traffic tickets you have to both pay a fine and points will be deducted.

Here are a few options people usually have when getting a ticket across Canada, although methods of dealing with traffic tickets may vary from municipality to municipality and province to province.

Paying the ticket

The first thing people usually ask themselves is whether they should pay the ticket.

That is never an easy decision because it’s important to remember that traffic ticket violations for which you received a ticket will appear on your record.

However, fighting a traffic ticket can be time-consuming. If someone decides to just pay the ticket, then payment instructions are often issued on the ticket itself and the ticket can usually be paid by mail, over the phone or in-person. Sometimes, people are also allowed the option to pay online.

Meet with the prosecutor/dispute it

Depending on the province or territory in which you reside, or in which you got the ticket, you may have the ability to either ask to make a deal with the prosecutor or dispute the ticket.

Depending on the province and what the ticket itself says, it may be possible to make a request to meet with the prosecutor to ask to discuss the case and possibly have the fine or points deducted reduced. Requests can usually be made by mail or in person at the court noted in the ticket. Often the prosecutor will meet with a person shortly before the trial to discuss the resolution. If a resolution cannot be met, then the person usually goes on to trial.

Sometimes if there isn’t an option to meet with the prosecutor, a person can file a dispute, explaining why the person is disputing the allegation and/or the fine amount. That can usually be done in person or over mail and someone can usually argue the dispute on your behalf. However, the dispute has to be finished in court.

You need to consult your traffic ticket to see what your options are, and whether you even have these options in terms of meeting with a prosecutor or making a dispute.

Fighting the ticket in court

Some people decide to take their ticket in court, whether they do or do not have a good case.

Be warned though, in some provinces police officers are paid extra to attend court for traffic tickets so it’s likely a person will see the officer who gave them the ticket there.

If you want to fight a ticket but are no sure what your chances are of beating the charges, or you want someone to help you with the ticket dispute/going to court, you may want to consult a lawyer or paralegal.

Read more:

What happens if I take my traffic ticket to trial on my own?