Please note that I'm no longer maintaining this document. I have moved out of the country, and I am no longer current in Ontario law and procedures. Please consult a lawyer for true legal advice.
It's been almost four years since I wrote the original post, and almost 2 since the last update. I can't edit the original post anymore due to a character limit, so this new thread is the result.
I may or may not respond to questions posed in this thread or in private messages/email. It's nothing personal, I just don't always have the time to answer.
Updates in red. First draft, Version 2.0
WARNING! LONG AND POTENTIALLY BORING! (This is what happens when you're bored at work )
I've compiled this guide to help those of you who want to take your tickets to court. It has some answers to common (and not so common) questions. I've made a number of revisions to the first version of this document. I hope this version is more organized and easier to read. Feel free to correct any mistakes, or to suggest any topics/improvements. This has a lot of information that's also on the "Fight your speeding tickets" website.
DISCLAIMER: The usual - This information is not legal advice. This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but I am not responsible for any consequences that may result from your using or misusing this information. Blah blah blah, etc.
-http://www.fyst.ca/ <- This is a really good read, and I suggest that everyone read it.
-The Bora Laskin Law Library at the University of Toronto is open to the public, and is an excellent source of information. Just be aware that the staff there cannot give you legal advice.
-"The Law of Traffic Offences", 2nd Edition by Scott C. Hutchison & John G. Marko, published by Carswell, 1998.
-www.canlii.org/ <- Free access to case law and judgements in Canada (not a complete reference, though).
-http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/sta...es_90h08_e.htm <- Highway Traffic Act (HTA)
-http://www.escortradar.com/errors.htm <- Common traffic radar errors. However, I don't know how credible this would be if used as evidence in court.
Public Libraries may also have some case law resources available that you can look up. Ask your local branch for details.
NEVER choose the option "Plead guilty with an explanation."
This is a waste of your time. By pleading guilty, you have admitted to the offence in question, and no plea-bargaining is allowed. The Justice cannot change or reduce the charge. The charge will be entered against your record as is. The amount of fine you pay might be reduced, but that's it. You might as well just pay the ticket at face value.
It is far better to set a trial date (or even a first appearance). Even if you don't intend to actually fight your ticket in a trial, this option will allow you to plea-bargain a lesser charge (with reduced fines and possibly reduced demerit points). The crown prosecutor is almost always open to accepting plea-bargains to save time and money. Plus, there is always the chance that the officer doesn't show up, in which case you are pretty much off the hook.
In the event that you chose the option to plead guilty with an explanation but now want a trial instead, you can simply go to your scheduled appearance in court and indicate your desire to plead not guilty and request a trial. This is your right, and it cannot be denied.
If you intend on fighting your ticket in a trial, record all relevant information relating to the offence as soon as possible. The human memory is very fragile, and with court dates being scheduled as far back as 2 years, you will want to keep some record of the event. Important details include, but are not limited to: weather, location, direction, speed, time of day, date, vehicles in the vicinity, conversation between you and the officer(s), witnesses (if any), and an 'incident reconstruction' sketch if possible.
Section 1) Court dates
1.1) How do I set a court date?
1.2) How long does it take to receive a trial notice?
1.3) How do I change my court date?
1.4) What do I do at a "first appearance"?
1.5) What do I do if I have received a summons?
Section 2) Options before your Court date
2.1) Preparation and Disclosure
2.1.1) How do I obtain disclosure?
2.1.2) What do I do if the disclosure is incomplete or unclear?
2.1.3) What do I do if they haven't given me disclosure after I asked for it?
2.2) 11b Charter challenge
2.2.1) How much delay does there have to be before I can make an 11b challenge?
2.2.2) How do I make an 11b challenge?
Section 3) Options on your Court date
3.1) General procedure and pre-trial options
3.1.1) What are my options if the officer did not show up?
3.1.2) What are my options if the officer did show up?
3.1.3) Making an 11b challenge if you filed all the paperwork
3.1.4) Making an 11b challenge if you didn't file all the paperwork
3.2) Procedure during trial
3.2.1) Cross examination tips
Section 4) Offences and Defences
4.1) Classification of offences, and valid defences
4.1.1) Defence of necessity
4.1.2) De minimis non curat lex
4.2) Fighting a speeding charge
4.2.1) Multi-officer speed traps
4.3) Fighting a 'careless driving' charge
4.4) Basic Rules of evidence
Section 5) Random Miscellany (may be combined into other sections at a later date)
5.1)(Speeding) The officer reduced the ticket at the scene. If I take it to trial, can I be charged for the actual speed I was going?
5.2) The officer made a mistake on the ticket! Can I get it thrown out?
5.3) What qualifications are required to be a Justice of the Peace?
5.4) What qualifications are required to be a Paralegal?
5.5) I didn't read this until now, and my trial is very soon! What can I do?
5.6) What do I do if I've been Bill 203'd?