If you are in many drivers’ situation, the following story may sound very familiar:
You were recently pulled over by the police and given a ticket for a road infraction. To your dismay, the amount of the fine seems excessive, you’re at risk losing demerit points on your driving record and you feel the ticket was unfair.
You are now faced with a choice:
Should you contest your ticket?
When faced with a ticket, it is your legal right to contest the ticket and you are entitled to a full and complete defence. You also have the right to see the full details of the ticket issued to you, including the police report as well as all the evidence the prosecutor intends to use during the trial.
In addition, there are 3 important reasons to consider contesting a ticket:
1. If You Are Not Guilty
If you were issued a ticket for an infraction you feel you are not guilty of, or if part of the officer’s claim is inaccurate, you may have grounds to contest the ticket.
Police officers are not infallible, and if you received a ticket for an infraction that you did not commit, you should stand up for your rights. Failure to contest could tarnish your driving record and often cost you demerit points. Also, it’s your legal right to contest and you have the right to a full and complete defence, which includes having your version of the events heard at the trial or before.
2. You Have A Valid Defence
There are a number of cases in which you can present a valid defence to contest a traffic ticket, such as the following:
- Stop sign: if you did completely immobilize your car when facing a stop sign and were fully aware of your surroundings at the time
- Speeding: if your speed was lesser than alleged by the officer, which you can corroborate on a reasonable basis
- Cellphone: the device the police perceived as a cellphone was another device without a telephone function
- Red light: when it comes to a ticket for running a red light, there are several circumstances which may constitute a defence to receiving a ticket for a red light infraction:
- You were caught in the intersection due to congestion and the light turned yellow or red at that moment
- You crossed the line when the light was yellow
- Confusing lights in a construction zone or inconsistent light changes
3. The Ticket Will Have A Serious Impact On Your Driving Record
If you drive for a living, or require the use of a vehicle for your work or family, you should also make sure to do all you can to protect your driving record. In particular, there are a number of situations which can lead to your licence being suspended and in which you should seek the help of an attorney:
- If you’ve received one or several tickets and have accumulated 4 demerit points or more on a learner’s license, you will have your license suspended and no longer have the right to drive for 3 months.
- Persons Under 23
- If you are under the age of 23, have a valid driver’s license, and have received tickets totalling 8 points or more, you have exceeded your demerit point bracket and will have your license suspended.
- Ages 23 and 24
- If you are between the ages of 23 and 24, have a valid driver’s license, and have received tickets totalling 12 points or more, you have exceeded your demerit point bracket and will have your license suspended.
- Over 25
- If you are 25 years or older, have a valid driver’s license, and have received tickets totalling 15 points or more, you have exceeded your demerit point bracket and will have your license suspended.
What if you fall into one of these categories and then drive with a suspended licence? Watch out! You may get another ticket for driving without a valid licence and even have your vehicle impounded on the spot! If this happens, you’ll have the added trouble of having to go to the impound lot to repossess your wheels and have to pay the daily impound fees along with it.
If any of the above cases apply to you, speak to a lawyer help you analyze your specific case.