I have been charged with trespassing. What do I need to know?
Question & AnswerI have been charged with trespassing. What do I need to know?
2. Know what to do with a Notice of Offence
If you get a Notice of Offence, you have 3 options:
- plead guilty and pay the fine
- plead guilty and ask a Justice of the Peace for a lower fine, or speak to the prosecutor to see if you can get them to lower the fine or drop the charges
- dispute the ticket and ask for a trial
You have 15 days from the day you receive your ticket to choose an option. If you don’t respond, then a guilty verdict will be entered against you.
Option 1: Plead guilty and pay the fine
If you choose to pay a trespass ticket voluntarily:
- you agree that you broke the law
- you agree to pay the amount shown on your ticket
- you give up your right to a trial
You will automatically get a summary conviction, but you will not get a criminal record. This is because provincial offences are not criminal offences under criminal law.
You don’t need go to court if you choose this option. You can pay your fine:
- online at ontario.ca/ticketsandfines, using Visa or MasterCard
- in-person at any Provincial Offences Court in Ontario
- by mailing your ticket and payment to the Provincial Offences Court location near you. Cash is not accepted by mail.
Option 2: Speak to a Justice of the Peace or prosecutor
Your second option depends on which city has given you the ticket. You might be able to speak to either a Justice of the Peace or the prosecutor. In both situations, you must plead guilty and go to court.
In some places, you can talk to a Justice of the Peace and ask for a lower fine by explaining why you should not have to pay the full amount. You can also ask for more time to pay the ticket. The Justice of the Peace doesn’t have to lower your fine or give you more time to pay.
In other places, you can talk to the prosecutor who is handling your case. You can try to convince them to drop the charges, change the charge to a less serious one, or lower the fine. The court must approve any deal you reach. If you can’t reach an agreement with the prosecutor, the court will schedule a trial.
Option 3: Ask for a trial
If you want to plead not guilty and fight your charge, you need to fill out the information on the back of the ticket under Option 3 and ask for a trial date. This is called a “Notice of Intention to Appear.” You need to file your request with the court office shown on the ticket.
A trial will be scheduled and a Notice of Trial will be mailed to you. For more information about provincial offences trials, read the question: How do I prepare for my provincial offences trial?.
If you miss your trial date, you could be convicted in your absence. And additional costs for missing the trial might be added to your fine.