I got a parking or traffic ticket. What are my options?
Parking tickets and traffic tickets are provincial offences. A provincial offence is not a “crime” under criminal law. You will not get a criminal record for a provincial offence. But you might get a fine and sometimes even jail time.
You might get a ticket for many reasons including speeding, parking in the wrong place, stunt driving, or not having insurance.
Kinds of tickets
There are 3 kinds of tickets. The kind of ticket you get is important because some are more serious than others. And they have different options for dealing with them. These are:
- Parking Infraction Notice or other kind of parking ticket. These tickets are the least serious. You can pay them online or by mail.
- Notice of Offence for less serious provincial offences like minor speeding. The maximum fine for these tickets are $1000. You can pay them online or by mail.
- Summons for the most serious provincial offences like stunt driving. You need to go to court. The process is more like a criminal trial.
You can tell which kind of ticket you have because it will be written on the top of the ticket.
How to deal with a ticket
Your options depend on what kind of ticket you get. The options are listed on the back of your ticket.
If you don’t think that you should have received the ticket, you can challenge it by asking for a trial.
If you don’t dispute the ticket and you don’t pay the fine, the government can suspend your driver’s licence, refuse to register your vehicle, or increase the amount of the fine. And if you don’t pay the fine, the government may even send the debt to a collection agency.
Get legal help and information
To find out about the status of your ticket, go to: www.ontario.ca/ticketsandfines.
For general information about the court process for provincial offences cases, you can download this Guide For Defendants in Provincial Offences Cases.
If you’ve received a speeding ticket, you may want to get legal advice from a lawyer or paralegal about how a speeding ticket conviction can impact you and your options.