I got a parking or traffic ticket. What are my options?
Question & AnswerI got a parking or traffic ticket. What are my options?
3. Understand a Summons
A Summons is usually given out for more serious traffic offences than a Notice of Offence, like stunt driving or failing to stop for a police officer.
When you get a Summons, there is no option to pay the ticket online. Either you or someone acting on your behalf must appear in court. You can usually have a lawyer or paralegal go to court for you. But make sure you ask your lawyer or paralegal if you must also attend.
If you don’t go to your court date, a trial date will be set. If you miss your trial date, the court may hold the trial in your absence, called an ex parte trial, or issue a warrant for your arrest.
You will have 2 options when you go to court.
Option 1: Plead guilty
If you choose to plead guilty:
- you agree that you broke the law
- you agree to pay the total amount ordered by the court
- you give up your right to trial
Option 2: Plead not guilty
Tell the court that you want to plead not guilty and fight your charge. You can then ask:
- for an adjournment if you need time to find a lawyer or paralegal
- for disclosure, which is the evidence the prosecutor has about your case
- to speak with the prosecutor about a resolution
Courts don’t usually have a trial on the first day you go to court. In most cases, a Summons requires several court appearances over 6 to 12 months.