One Easy Trick to Beat Your Traffic Ticket!
For most people, getting a ticket is a surefire conviction—meaning fines, points, and an inevitable hike in insurance. However, this is not necessarily the case. Thousands of tickets are beaten and dropped each year, and the key, according to some professionals, is “disclosure”.
“Under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter, each person has the right to make a full answer and defence when they are being accused,” says Jonathan Hurter, a lawyer with years of experience dealing with traffic tickets. “This means that, if you invoke this right, you are entitled to the opportunity to review the prosecution’s evidence before trial. This is disclosure. If there are any holes in the evidence, or if the prosecution fails to provide disclosure on time, the ticket is often thrown out.”
According to Hurter, disclosure is essential to preparing any defense. Without it, it is impossible to see whether the prosecution has a case, and whether there is anything that can be argued.
“Oftentimes people plead guilty without even reviewing their disclosure,” he says. “This is a huge mistake. Why would you plead guilty, when you don’t even know if they have a case against you?”
Under Canadian law, there is no way to convict you when the prosecution fails to meet the minimal threshold for disclosure. This can often occur when the officer fails to do the paperwork diligently. Given the number of tickets that are written every year, it is no surprise that many have mistakes, or contain outright falsehoods.
There are an abundance of people who, on the advice from police officers and prosecutors, think that their best option is to go into early resolution and take the first deal that comes their way. While this does save time, there is one critical disadvantage to doing this—while you have the right to review your disclosure before trial, you have no such right before your early resolution meeting. As such, most people walk in blind. Without this knowledge, it is almost impossible to evaluate one’s odds of winning, and therefore, impossible to tell whether a deal is good or bad.
A much better option, according to Hurter, would be to request a trial as soon as possible. Assuming one invokes their rights correctly, this ensures that proper disclosure is prepared. If there really isn’t an argument to be made after reviewing the disclosure, a plea is usually still on the table—simply ask to speak with the prosecutor beforehand, and a deal can be worked out.
But are there any cases where getting disclosure could hurt you? Hurter doesn’t believe so. “It always pays to walk into court informed and prepared,” he says.
However, he does mention that there are cases where it may not be worth it. “If you’re short on time, and you were caught by an automated system, such as a red light camera, there may not be a need to book a trial and request disclosure. Simply meet with the prosecutor, and you could get your charge reduced.”
Other Key Facts:
- You cannot order disclosure until you have a trial date. Thus, it is advisable to book a trial date as soon as possible, in order to access this crucial right.
- If disclosure is not provided on time, the trial can be adjourned. This means the trial will be suspended until a later date. Trials that are adjourned can often be granted a stay of proceedings—essentially meaning that the case is thrown out.
- If disclosure was improperly prepared, the trial can also be adjourned.
- While one can certainly review their own disclosure, getting a professional to do it will greatly increase one’s chances of hitting their objectives in court.
TLDR: Disclosure is an essential part of your rights as a Canadian, and is vital to challenging any ticket or charge against you. You should always consider reviewing disclosure before pleading guilty and paying for your ticket.