Whether it’s for speeding, a seatbelt violation, or any of the many other non-criminal offences for which you may have received a traffic ticket, resolving the ticket is never a pleasant process.
But there’s one part of it that can seem like a real stress reliever, but it really isn’t.
After you are issued a traffic ticket, you have three options for responding to it.
- Option 1: Plea of Guilty – Choosing this option means you admit that you’re guilty of the offence and you pay the ticket
- Option 2: Early Resolution – Meet with Prosecutor – This option can seem like the perfect choice. First, you don’t admit that you’re guilty right away, and, second, you don’t have to worry about going to trial (see point 3 below).
- Option 3: Trial Option – While it might sound daunting, this is the option you should always choose if you want the best chance of avoiding the consequences of being found guilty.
Why You Should Choose the Trial Option
While the laws and enforcement methods are intended to stop you from committing an offence, one of the biggest deterrents has nothing to do with driving laws or how they are enforced.
In addition to fines and demerit points, being found guilty of traffic offences can cause your car insurance rates to increase significantly.
If you choose the “plea of guilty” option on the ticket, even for what seems like a minor offence, the offence can remain on your driving record for three years, which means it can affect your insurance rates for that length of time.
But, even if you choose the “early resolution” option, you meet with the prosecutor and your fines and demerit points are reduced or eliminated, you are still found guilty, and your insurance rates may still go up.
By choosing the “trial option”, you give yourself the opportunity to seek legal advice, which has the potential to not only reduce or eliminate fines and demerit points, but to have the charges dropped altogether
In that way, the “trial option” is the only one that may help you avoid any fines, demerit points and increases in your insurance rates. Even the worst-case scenario of choosing the trial option, which is you go to trial and are found guilty, you at least give yourself more time to pay the fines and you put off insurance rate increases as long as possible.
To learn more about the consequences you may suffer if you’re found guilty of a traffic offence, check out our post “How Long Do Demerit Points Stay On Your Record In Ontario?”.