Fighting Speeding Tickets – Before Court
You received a speeding ticket – Now what…
Drivers need to fight the ticket to do everything possible to keep the ticket off your insurance, to save your points and keep your driving record clear.
The first step in fighting any traffic ticket is to take the ticket to the court and request a court date.
Setting a Court Date for your Ticket
When you’re fighting your speeding ticket, the first thing you have to do is request a court date to say you are disputing the charge.
To file for a court date the ticket must filed at the court listed on the ticket within fifteen (15) days. When filing for a court date the driver is pleading not guilty to the charge.
The exact instructions on how and where to fight the ticket are listed on the back of the ticket, or you can file your traffic ticket online with OTT Legal.
Many traffic courts may allow a further 15 day grace period to file the ticket but are not obligated to, and specific courts like in the City of London will convict the driver if the speeding ticket has not been filed within the fifteen (15) days.
Filing the Ticket and Insurance
The reason for fighting a speeding ticket is to keep your driving record and insurance record clear.
In discussing strategies for fighting speeding tickets, drivers should;
- do everything possible to have the ticket dismissed completely, and
- if you cannot have the ticket dismissed, reduce the implications and/or demerit points.
- delay the ticket going on the driving abstract to stop the insurance company from seeing the conviction.
Even if the driver believes in paying the ticket at some point, it’s better to pay the ticket six (6) or ten (10) months after the insurance renews than right away.
You want to delay the ticket because;
- Demerit points do not go on the record until the case has gone to court.
- Any conviction does not go on the driving record until after a trial date.
- Insurance companies cannot see the speeding ticket until after the trial date, so the insurance implications are delayed.
- Officers move around and retire, if the officer doesn’t come to court the ticket gets canceled.
When fighting a speeding ticket, if you cannot win the ticket you want the court date to be delayed as much as possible and after your insurance renewal period.
What month does your insurance renew? The answer is on the pink slip for the insurance. Drivers should seek to have any court date after a insurance renewal, not before.
Filing a Speeding Ticket for a Court Date
To fight a speeding ticket, the ticket must be filed at the court listed on the back of the ticket. The driver must appear at the court and file a “Notice of Intention to Appear“, requesting a trial date.
To file a Notice of Intention to Appear, you appear at the court with your ticket, speak to the clerk and fill out the form with your name, address and ticket number.
Traffic tickets can be filed for a court date online for Toronto area courts through OTT Legal Services.
Do not agree to attend a:
- First Attendance Meeting,
- Early Resolution Hearing or a
- Meeting with the Prosecutor.
The clerk at the court may offer to let you speak to the prosecutor to avoid a contested trial (See Speeding Ticket Options).
Do not agree to any of these meetings as any resolution would normally be available on a trial date, and/or the driver could win the ticket completely on a trial date.
If you do one of these meetings you lose any chance of winning because;
- The police officer does not have to attend for your hearing.
- You lose any chance of winning on a technicality.
- You lose any chance of winning because the case took to long to come to trial.
- The ticket goes on your record and to insurance right away.
The only reason for attending a first attendance meeting may be as a delaying tactic to keep the ticket away from the insurance for an extended period of time.
If you accept the Early Resolution Process or sometimes called “First Attendance”, the clerk of the court will schedule an appointment with the prosecutor forthwith.
Use caution accepting advice from clerks at the court house. The clerk works for the courts and is under direction to “steer” drivers into Early Resolution Meetings as it saves the courts money and time.
Court clerks are not qualified to give advice and may give advice that is detrimental to fighting your ticket.
Early Resolution – First Attendance Meetings
Early Resolution or First Attendance meetings were originally designed for simple cases like forgetting your insurance or drivers licence.
Rather than tie up court space and the police officers time, the court arranged these meeting to resolve the issue. e.g. you brought in the insurance, showed it to the prosecutor and they dropped the charge.
The court soon learned that they could bring in other cases e.g. speeding tickets and convince people to plead guilty by;
- reducing the charge,
- saving court time and
- the officers from appearing.
Drivers didn’t realize that the ticket still went on their insurance but the court saved hours of court time and officers were kept working rather than appearing in traffic court.
When you appear for the meeting, the prosecutor many offer to reduce the speeding ticket, but they will not cancel it.
When the driver accepts the prosecutors resolution;
- the speeding ticket goes on the driving record for three (3) years.
- Any demerit points are applied forthwith
- Any suspension takes affect as soon as the MTO is notified
- the conviction goes on the driving record for 3 years
- the insurance has access to the record and can increase rates.
Make sure you understand all of the penalties for a speeding ticket including the hidden penalties.
When the driver does not accept the prosecutors reduced charge, the case will be put over for trial and a court date will mailed many times months in the future.
Even if you plan on accepting a reduced charge later, it is best to accept the resolution on the trial date rather than the early resolution date from an insurance point of view.
On the trial dates, resolutions are usually still available. Where the police officer fails to attend court the charge will usually be dismissed.
Once you have requested a first attendance date and you are looking to prolong the ticket coming to trial, you may at anytime appear at the court, and withdraw the first attendance request, and file for a trial date.
Different court houses and jurisdictions have different waiting times for speeding trials.
Some courts have very quick court dates, most are in the four (4) to six (6) months range.
If you are fighting your speeding ticket and your court date is approaching, you may apply for an adjournment request to postpone your trial date, if you have a valid reason for doing so.
You may not, at anytime while dealing with the court, mislead or lie to the court, which would be a criminal offence.
Information about Fighting Speeding Tickets
The purpose of this page is to provide information about speeding tickets. As the law and enforcement for speeding is constantly evolving and changing, OntarioSpeeding cannot be responsible for any information that has changed or is out of date. Any person who is charged with an offence in Canada is permitted to have their day in court, to meet their accuser, to have a judge make a decision as to guilt or innocence and to fight their speeding ticket. If you are considering fighting your speeding ticket, we recommend that you seek legal advice that is readily available from the thousands of licensed paralegals in Ontario.
Unfortunately, too many motorists don’t know their rights, listen to the wrong people and do not understand the insurance implications and penalties of a speeding ticket in Ontario. OntarioSpeeding.com recommends OTT Legal Services for fighting speeding tickets in Ontario.