Save Costs on Traffic Tickets

by Mike Holman

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Ever get a traffic ticket and just paid the full fine and accepted the points? If you wanted to try fighting or reducing the ticket, there’s always been the option of booking a court case and showing up and either pleading down the ticket with the assistant DA or actually going to trial and hope the cop doesn’t show up. Both of these methods can be successful but they can take up a lot of time and be somewhat stressful – especially if you’ve never been on trial before.

Well my wife got a ticket last year and decided to take advantage of the City of Toronto Court Services process in which you can “plead guilty with an explanation” and basically plead down the ticket with the assistant DA. Actually the cop who gave her the ticket told her to go and plead it down.

According to the website it sounds like a quick easy process, but in practice she showed up and got a number (you have to line up to get the number first). The room was hot and crowded. After about a one hour wait she talked to the customer service rep. Then she went into another room (through security) and waited longer to talk to the assistant DA. Once that talk was over she waited some more and then got a sheet from the assistant DA with the new deal – then she went back to the first room and got another number and waited to pay – this was a different line so it didn’t take long.

Bottom line is that she was there about 2.5 hours, got the ticket reduced from $110 to $80 but she paid $20 for parking so net savings (not counting gas & lunch) was $10. The two points were removed which apparently is the main thing. I’m not sure if two demerit points has any effect on your insurance but I guess if you keep getting them then your insurance will go up.

Tip #1- If you are doing this and are going to the downtown Toronto court then go before nine in order to get the early bird parking which is only $10. It gets crowded later in the day as well so earlier is better

Tip #2 – Don’t bring your young child with you (if you have one).

Tip #3 – Since you have to go through security, don’t bring any knives or Swiss army knife key chains.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Canadian Capitalist

I had more luck with a parking ticket years ago. I forget the exact details but I think I saved a total of $50.

Link

2 FourPillars

I was a bit disappointed with the reduction in the fine. $30 isn’t a whole lot.

Mike

3 White Eagle

I doubt they will ever improve this process as it is purposesly designed to be so inconvenient to dissuade most people from trying unless they are truly desparate or stubborn.

4 FourPillars

WE – unfortunately I think you might be right.

Mike

5 Alex Givant

Friend of mine explained me the process that can get you free and not paying any ticket (I didn’t test it, but he did and was successfull):

1) You select trial option and going to court to get date of trial.

2) On trial day, someone coming to court instead of you (could be your wife/husband) and says that you cannot attend it because you sick/business travel/etc. They get new date of trial.

3) Next time you come in person and pretty good chances that police officer won’t show up – so you won it!

I didn’t try it myself, decided that $110 + 2 points make no sense to spend so much time and effort.

6 FourPillars

Thanks for the tip Alex.

You’re right, that sounds like a lot of hassle but for some people it might be worth it.

Mike

7 Riscario Insider

What about taking responsibility? If you’re caught breaking the law, why not accept the penalties?

I got my first speeding ticket in ages recently. While I wasn’t happy to lose demerit points or pay the fine, I was at fault. Yes, there were others who were doing the same thing: this was a speed trap just before a highway onramp. But I got caught.

That said, Alex’s approach is interesting ;)

8 Alex Givant

As I said, I paid the fine, talking about responsibility :-)

9 FourPillars

Riscario – you speed demon!

I think if you get a ticket then you are entitled to deal with it in the various ways that the government allows to you. For a small ticket it’s probably easier to just pay it, but for a major ticket then it might be worth the time and money to try to reduce or fight the ticket.

Mike

10 FourPillars

Bill – you are correct. Most of my legal training was obtained through years of watching “Law & Order”.

Mike

:)

11 James Eadie

When I was 17 I got caught doing 111 in a 60. The cop dopped it to 109 in a 60 because 50 over is steep penalties. The ticket I got was $350. I went in to the Justice of the Peace and pled guilty with an explaination. She dropped it to $80 and gave me 3 months to pay.

12 FourPillars

James – it sounds like the effort was worth it for you!

I hope you’ve slowed down a bit!

Mike

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