Filing for a Court Date

How to apply for a court date and speeding ticket options explained

The Process to Fight a Speeding Ticket

Drivers can either appear in court personally or a paralegal or friend attend on their behalf.

When faced with a speeding charge, drivers have several choices regarding how to handle their court appearance:

  • Personal Appearance in Court: Drivers have the option to personally appear in court on the assigned trial date to address the speeding charge.
  • Representation by a Friend: Alternatively, a driver can choose to have a friend appear in court on their behalf.
  • Hiring a Professional: Engaging the services of a paralegal or lawyer is another route. These professionals can represent the driver in court.

Each driver charged with speeding can decide whether to handle the court appearance themselves, or to enlist the help of a friend or a legal professional like a paralegal or lawyer. This decision depends on the individual’s comfort level with legal proceedings and their specific circumstances surrounding the speeding charge.

Who Appears in Traffic Court

Where a friend appears on behalf of the driver, it’s important to note that this friend is not allowed to present any evidence based on what the driver or defendant has communicated to them. This kind of evidence is referred to as “Hearsay Evidence” and is typically inadmissible (not allowed) in legal proceedings.

Should you choose to represent yourself in court, be prepared to have your knowledge of the court system and rules of evidence put to the test. Self-representation requires a good understanding of legal procedures and the ability to effectively present your case.

Alternatively, hiring a paralegal may offer the advantage of their expertise in the court system, familiarity with traffic laws, and understanding of the specific technicalities involved in traffic court cases.

A paralegal’s experience and knowledge in these areas can be a significant asset in navigating the complexities of the legal process.

Getting Started

Step #1 take the ticket to the court and request a trial date.

  • DO NOT agree to
    • Early Resolution Meetings
    • First Attendance Meetings
    • meetings to “avoid a contested trial”

These meetings are where the prosecutor attempts to induce you to plead guilty.

Where a speeding ticket is reduced at court the ticket will still go on the driving record and affect insurance rates for three years.

Pleading NOT GUILTY and setting a “Trial Date” is the option every driver should take for a speeding or traffic ticket.

You Have No Friends in Traffic Court

Many Ontario courts are on a campaign to:

  • disregard your rights
  • discourage drivers fighting their tickets
  • deny drivers the right to have a hearing
  • circumvent the Demerit Point System

Court clerks are being directed to push drivers into first attendance meetings with the prosecution.  In a meetings with the prosecutor the court system looks to persuade the driver to plead guilty to a lower charge, saving the court the time and expense of a trial hearing.

Drivers need to be aware that even reduced charges with or without demerit points will affect their insurance rates for 3 years.

Know Your Rights

As a Canadian citizen, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees you the right to:

  • Contest any accusation made against you.
  • Have a judge or justice listen to and review your case.
  • Receive a trial within a reasonable timeframe.

However, there’s a noticeable trend in the court system towards encouraging drivers to plead guilty to reduced charges.

When a driver tries to fight their speeding ticket, they are often approached by court clerks who suggest a preliminary meeting with a prosecutor or a first attendance.

Even if a driver requests a trial date, they might receive correspondence or a call from the prosecutor’s office, urging them to plead guilty.

This practice of clerks offering meetings with prosecutors, primarily to save court costs, often overlooks the potential impact a speeding ticket might have on a driver’s insurance. This approach can infringe upon drivers’ rights, particularly as it nudges them towards pleading guilty to lesser charges without fully understanding the consequences.

The implications of pleading guilty to reduced charges are significant:

  • The officer in question is not required to appear in court.
  • The prosecutor does not need to fully prove the charge.
  • A conviction is immediately recorded on the driver’s record.
  • This process saves money for the courts and police, at the expense of the driver.

Court clerks and the prosecution often capitalize on a driver’s lack of knowledge about the legal and court systems. It is crucial for drivers to be aware of these practices and understand their rights and the potential repercussions of accepting early plea deals or reduced charges.

Your Options Explained

There are 4 options for your speeding ticket.

Option 1 – Fight the Speeding Ticket

  • best chance of winning the ticket completely
  • best chance save your demerit points
  • keep your insurance low
  • keeps ticket off your driving abstract

Learn more about fighting your speeding ticket >

Option Two, Plead guilty with an explanation

  • do not do this – do not plead guilty with an explanation
  • all the justice is allowed to do is reduce the amount of the fine
  • drivers may still lose demerit points
  • drivers lose any chance of winning the case completely
  • ticket goes on the driving record for 3 years
  • conviction is available to insurance companies to base insurance rates upon

Option Three – Meet with the Prosecutor

  • do not do this – do not agree to a meeting with the prosecutor
  • the prosecutor may reduce the ticket but they will not canceled it completely
  • demerit points may still be applied
  • lose any chance of winning the case completely
  • ticket goes on driving record for 3 years
  • conviction is available for your insurance company to see

You always want to win your speeding ticket completely.

Option 4 – Plea of Guilty – Voluntary Payment of Total Payable

  • do not do this – do not plead guilty to speeding
  • the ticket goes immediately on the driving record
  • drivers lose any applicable demerit points
  • the ticket goes on the driving record for 3 years
  • the conviction goes to you insurance company to see for 3 years

Avoid taking legal advice from a clerk or employee of the court

It is highly improper for a court clerks to give legal advice and may not be acting in your best interests.

Most court clerks do not understand the total costs and penalties of a speeding ticket nor are they qualified or legally allowed to give legal advice.

Many of the clerks themselves disagree with this process but they are under direct orders to encourage people to first attendance meetings because it saves the court money.