Before continuing with the saga of The Street Racer, it’s important that everyone understands what happens when a driver attends traffic court in order to dispute a ticket issued to them by an officer. Several sites outline the process in detail – The Provincial Court of British Columbia, The Canadian Bar Association, Courts of BC, and a Vancouver Sun article gives a fly on the wall perspective.
Here is a Cole’s Notes version of what takes place in traffic court – keep in mind this is an extremely basic explanation:
- When you dispute a ticket you are given a date and time to attend traffic court
- When your day in court arrives, go to your designated courtroom – do not be late. Do not wear a hat, or if you do, make sure to take it off when you walk in to the court room. Be respectful. Know what you are going to say.
- You will be asked by the Judicial Justice of the Peace (the ‘judge’) if you are going to plead guilty or not guilty. Many people stall at this point, as they want to plead guilty but simply have an issue with paying the fine. If this is the case, say you want to plead guilty with an explanation
- If you plead guilty, or guilty with an explanation, the Justice of the Peace will discuss the infraction and fine with you to come to an agreement over payment/time to pay etc.
- If you plead not guilty, then both you and the officer who issued the ticket will get to tell your own sides of the story. There are usually no lawyers involved, unless the disputant is raising a legal issue (see links above). You will have the opportunity to question/cross examine the officer, and vice versa
- The Justice of the Peace then makes their decision and hands down their judgement
So there you go - a little bit of background to set the stage.
Posted with permission by the Behind the Blue Line from the post “Street Racer – Part 2 -Traffic Court Explained.” Please visit that blog for more law enforcement content. ###
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