Q&A - Being served a traffic ticket at home

Q&A ImageA few days ago an off duty police member from another town reported a family member as allegedly committing two traffic infractions.  A constable from our local RCMP has attended our home twice to try to serve this family member with the traffic tickets, but has (honestly) come when this family member was at work.  We even went to the local detachment to try to see if he could get the ticket rather than have the member come for the third time to try to serve, as it was causing anxiety to other members in the household to have the police show up at all hours.

My question is this, if the person who is requesting the ticket be written up is in fact an off duty, out of town member of the RCMP would they not be considered at that time a regular citizen?  If not, why did this member not serve the ticket when they observed the alleged infraction?  

Just as a side note, the family member is going to dispute this allegation as he says it unequivocally did NOT happen.  Of course at this point it is all conjecture as he has still not received the actual ticket!  However, from the information provided by the constable (who was amazingly polite and very respectful of privacy laws when attending our home) we believe that the off duty officer took down the wrong licence plate number as the family member observed another vehicle doing those exact same infractions and was irritated enough to honk their horn at them!

Should this family member accept the ticket and sign for it and then dispute it?  Should we get a lawyer involved as the family member needs to retain his clean driving record for his employment and as such is very careful to obey the rules of the road.

Any advice would be more than welcome.  Thanks!



There are many reasons for not serving a traffic ticket at the time of the occurrence, one of which is that the officer was not on duty at the time. Not being on duty does not remove peace officer status from that person, it just means that they are not in uniform or on shift. Serving a ticket in this manner is not out of the ordinary or unacceptable practice.

The family member may choose to arrange to go to the detachment and be served the ticket there if they wish to. A quick phone call should be enough to set that up. The officer could also choose to leave the ticket with a household member over the age of 16 in the manner of serving a summons according to the Offence Act, although the Violation Ticket form makes it difficult to do that and most officers will insist on personal service.

Whether you wish to facilitate service or retain a lawyer is up to you. If you don't want the officer trying to serve the ticket at your home, this would be the quickest way to put an end to it. A quick search for "lawyer referral" on this site will explain more about legal advice.

Thank you for your response.

Thank you for your response.  

We have been to the police detachment and were unable to make arrangements.  Today we went back to the detachment and this time the person working the front desk would not even tell us when the constable serving the ticket would be in (although we had previously been told that he planned on trying our home again tomorrow/Sunday).  We were told to phone the detachment yet when we did so received a notice to leave a message and someone would get back to us next business day (which as we are on the long weekend would be Tuesday.)  

We finally stepped outside the detachment and called the "report a crime" number and was able to talk to a person who was willing to ask the constable to phone us to arrange a time to get the ticket.  We work shift work and as it appears to be the opposite of when the constable was on duty, waiting to be served was not working.  He was showing up when I was trying to sleep and the person he was trying to serve was at work.  His planned visit to serve tomorrow would have resulted in the same outcome - me trying to sleep after working night shift and my family member at work.

I wish simply arranging a convenient time for both the constable and my family member had been made available to us before we had to jump through all these hoops just to get things arranged!  We are not trying to be difficult - in fact, instead of the constable wasting his valuable time, we were trying to ensure that we could simply have the ticket served and then figure out what the next step in disputing this might be.

I will also do a quick search for lawyer referral to see if this is a route we might like to pursue. Thanks again.



Sometimes I think that some police personnel lose sight of the fact that they are a service. If the person at the front counter was unwilling to tell you when the constable was on shift next, at the very least they could have passed on the message you wished the constable to get. How difficult was that?

This must be a large detachment, because in a smaller one whoever was working would probably been quite willing to dig out the file and serve the ticket on the officer's behalf to make it easy for all involved.

You may also wish to search on "disclosure" here for a direction to move in once you have your copy of the ticket.

Yesterday when we spoke to

Yesterday when we spoke to the person manning the front desk, she was helpful and tried to track down the constable for us.  We had just missed him and that is how we found out he was planning to serve again tomorrow.  At that point, we did not even have a name, just the fact there was a ticket pending and she tracked things down through the driver's license number.  Now we know the constable's name at least! (would have been easier if I hadn't been woken up when he came to the door and was less brain fogged and/or he had left a card)

I could not understand the attitude of the person today.  However, being polite and finding a different approach worked for us.  I don't believe in getting angry at someone just because I am frustrated.  It doesn't help you and can often cause a real problem.

I really do appreciate your tips and your support.  I am glad you understand my frustration and that we are honestly trying to do the best we can to resolve this.  I am very glad to have found this site.  I hope it is ok for me to refer it to people who might be looking for answers.


Thank You

I'm pleased that you found the site useful. If you think it is worthwhile referring visits I would appreciate it very much.

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I,m curious now

Is there somthing I am missing here? or is it just me?

Why would anyone feel upset that an officer,on or off duty as they say,show up at thier residence.Is this really an infrigment?

I could see if it was frecuntly or for no reason,or did I miss something here?

What you are missing is the

What you are missing is the fact that we have tried repeatedly to get the ticket.  I work nights and sleep days.  The person who is supposed to get the ticket works afternoons.   The police keep showing up when I am sleeping and he is at work.  I have no problem with the ticket being served.  I do however have a problem with what has now been an ongoing problem for two weeks.

EVERY day we try to make contact with the constable assigned to serve the ticket and have not been able to arrange it so the ticket can be served when the person who is being served is not at work.  We have left cell phone numbers, home phone numbers, messages regarding work schedules and still, he has not received the ticket, yet I have had my sleep interrupted no less than 5 times in the last 10 days.  If we were trying to avoid the ticket I could see that perhaps repeatedly showing up when being told the person was not going to be there might work as we could be lying, but this is not the case. We have been to the detachment 4 times now and as I said, called every single day for almost 2 weeks.

I might also add, that as we have not received the ticket, we are not even certain it is warranted. It is our belief that there was some confusion in a traffic jam and the wrong vehicles license number was written down.  It is embarrassing to me (as someone who just happens to live here) to have the police coming to the door several times a week.  It causes me to lose sleep, it upsets the household and as we have done everything but cartwheels to get someone to understand that showing up during the alleged offenders workday will not get any results, it KEEPS happening.  Now I have my neighbors asking me why the police were banging on my door when no one was home.

I am beginning to be sleep deprived.  I am frustrated.  I have no problem with the police and as I stated in an earlier post, the constable was polite and very kind when I talked to him, but frankly I am losing patience.  I am not the alleged offender but I am the one who is being made to suffer.  Explain how that is fair, especially as we have tried so hard to arrange that the constable can save his time and gas by trying to phone first or by calling to set up a time the supposed offender can meet him at the detachment to get the ticket.

Sorry for the rant, but I am out of ideas and out of patience. I guess the next step would be getting a lawyer involved and that is something we really did not want to be doing if at all possible.

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