Fighting Speeding Tickets – Before Court
Fighting Your Ticket
Drivers need to fight speeding tickets to:
Drivers need to do everything possible to keep the ticket off the insurance, to save the points and keep driving records 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
When you’re fighting your speeding ticket, the first thing you have to do is request a court date.
Requesting a court date is the terminology to say you’re:
- disputing the charge
- fighting the ticket
- filing for a court date
To file for a court date, the ticket must taken to the court listed on the back of the ticket within fifteen (15) days.
At the courthouse you must fill in a form called a, “Notice of Intention to Appear” (NIA).
Many traffic courts may allow a further 15 day grace period to file the ticket but are not obligated to.
Specific courts like in the City of London will convict the driver if the speeding ticket has not been filed within the fifteen (15) day period.
What is a Notice to Appear
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.
Traffic tickets can be filed for a court date online for Toronto and GTA area courts through OTT Legal Services.
When you arrive at the court, you must complete a form called a “Notice of Intention to Appear”.
This is a court form saying that you wish to dispute the charge. You complete the form by adding your address information and the ticket number to the form. The court then takes the form and either issues a court date right away or sends a notice in the mail.
The clerk may try to convince you to “meet with the prosecutor” in a hearing called a:
- First Attendance Meeting, or
- Early Resolution Hearing
The court clerk will offer to let you speak to the prosecutor to “avoid a contested trial” (See Speeding Ticket Options) and see if an agreement can be reached. The clerk will add further that if you cannot come to an agreement then you can always proceed to trial. Do not do this, it is not in your best interest .
The Prosecutors goal at these meetings is to have you plead guilty, by reducing the speed slightly.
Do not agree to any of these meetings, as on the court date:
- any resolution is normally available
- it may not be in your best interest to plead guilty to reduced charges
- you are allowed to discuss the case with the prosecutor before any hearing
- if you plead guilty to anything it still affects your insurance
If you agree to meet the prosecutor, you lose any chance of winning because:
- officer does not have to attend for your hearing,
- you lose any chance of winning on a technicality, and
- ticket goes to insurance and any demerits go on your driver record forthwith.
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.
Early resolution and first attendance hearings were first used for people who forgot their documents, like insurance slips.
The court quickly realized that they could use this forum, to:
- avoid having trials
- convince drivers to plead guilty to reduced charges
- avoid having officers appear
- save court money and time
Use caution accepting advice from clerks at the court house. The clerk works for the courts and are told to “steer” drivers into Early Resolution Meetings as it saves the courts money and time.
Before any Court Date
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.