Meet Anne-Geneviève Robert, a specialist in contesting tickets in Montréal
Receiving a traffic ticket isn’t just an unpleasant experience; it can be costly in terms of fines and consequences for your driver’s license. Each demerit point is valuable, which is why the MTL Ticket team is at your service to help you preserve as many demerit points as possible on your driving record.
What is a traffic ticket?
A traffic ticket, also known as a ticket or citation, is issued when a police officer or authorized individual believes you’ve violated a provision of the Highway Safety Code. Typically, the ticket is handed directly to you, but it can also be left on your windshield or sent by mail.
Certain violations under the Highway Safety Code carry significant consequences for your driving record. For example, using a cell phone while driving results in a fine of up to $600 and five demerit points, whereas speeding at 160km/h in a 100km/h zone can lead to a fine of up to $630 and 10 demerit points. These are severe penalties, but they can be avoided through negotiation or trial if you have valid reasons to believe you didn’t commit the alleged violation.
Can you contest a ticket in Montreal?
It’s important to keep in mind that not all traffic tickets are worth contesting. If you believe you have a strong case for success in court regarding the alleged infraction, you should plead not guilty to initiate the contestation process. In all cases, ask our team of specialized traffic ticket lawyers for their legal opinion on your case.
Pleading not guilty to a traffic violation
In cases where you have a valid defence to present in court, you have 30 days from the date of receiving the traffic ticket to contest it. You must first check the “not guilty” box on the form. If you want (and it’s highly recommended), you can request a copy of the police report by writing on the back of the form, “I request the disclosure of evidence for the infraction.” This includes any relevant evidence possessed by the prosecutor concerning your case, such as photos, sketches, witness statements, and the police officer’s report. Once this is done, you can submit the response form via email or deliver it in person to the return address indicated on the ticket. Eventually, you’ll receive a hearing notice indicating the date and time you must appear in court.
Pleading guilty to a traffic violation
In cases where you have no defence to present in court and choose to plead guilty, the steps to follow are relatively straightforward. First, you have 30 days from receiving the traffic ticket to plead guilty. You must check the “guilty” box on the form and then proceed to make the payment following the instructions provided. Various payment methods are available, including cash, credit card, or money order. Keep in mind that by paying the fine, you automatically plead guilty.
Doing nothing after a traffic violation
If you decide to do nothing and don’t respond to the form within the given 30-day period, starting from the 31st day after receiving the traffic ticket, you risk being convicted in absentia by a court judge and may incur additional fees. If you have an emergency and can’t attend the scheduled date and time of your hearing, contact the court as soon as possible to reschedule. It must be a genuine emergency to request a date change. Our traffic ticket lawyers can help you with the steps for requesting a hearing date change.
The trial for fighting a ticket
The trial is the most crucial stage in the entire process of contesting your traffic ticket. On the day of your trial, you must have all documents and evidence supporting your defence. Being organized and prepared is key to a successful trial. Always address the judge politely, using terms such as “Mister Justice” or “Madam Justice”. Remember that this is a courtroom, so you should dress appropriately and maintain good posture when standing before the judge.
Demerit points in Quebec
From the moment you pay a fine or are found guilty of the alleged traffic infraction, the court notifies the SAAQ, and demerit points are added to your driving record. Demerit points remain on your driving record for two years from the date of the declaration of guilt. For example, if you receive a traffic ticket on June 5, 2019, contest it, and your trial takes place on December 5, 2019, with a guilty verdict, your demerit points will remain on your record until December 5, 2021.
Please note that when it comes to excessive speeding tickets, the guilty verdict remains on your driving record for 10 years, even though the points disappear after two years.
When you accumulate several demerit points in Quebec and reach the limit of your point threshold, the SAAQ will inform you that your license is revoked. Once it’s revoked, you can’t drive for a certain period (3, 6, or 12 months). You must then take steps to regain your license.
However, you may be eligible for a restricted license. If you use your vehicle for work, contact our traffic ticket lawyers promptly to help you appeal for a restricted license.
Could you receive a criminal record for a traffic offence?
Are you accused of being involved in an accident and leaving the scene without contacting the police? Have you consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel? These are serious infractions with very severe consequences, both under the Highway Safety Code and the Criminal Code. Typically, infractions under the Highway Safety Code result in fines and demerit points without a criminal record. However, some of these infractions may lead to criminal charges and a criminal record in case of guilt. Sanctions can be imposed under both the Highway Safety Code and the Criminal Code. Do not underestimate the consequences; contact our traffic ticket lawyers immediately!