Ticket Fallacies

Violation TicketI refused to sign the ticket that I got for speeding last week. Does that mean this ticket is invalid and I don't have to pay it?

Questions like this one are common from readers. Some errors and omissions on traffic tickets can be fatal to the charge, but you may be surprised at how much information on a ticket can be left out, or even be incorrect and the ticket will still stand. Some errors can be corrected in traffic court before or during the trial as well.

Refusing to sign a ticket is your prerogative. Personally, I would want a mark on a legal document about me that I could recognize later on and a signature is one way of accomplishing this. If you choose not to sign, the officer completes a certificate of service on the back of the original copy and this has the same effect as your signature.

Just above the officer's signature on the ticket you will find the words "shaded areas of this ticket are not part of the offence charged." The gray shaded areas of the ticket include your birth date, address, driver's and vehicle licence number and vehicle description. If these spaces are left blank or there are errors in the information they contain, it is not grounds to dismiss the charge for that reason alone.

The Offence Act allows amendments to be made to a traffic ticket prior to trial. An officer can also give evidence about the incident and then ask the Justice to amend the ticket to conform to the evidence that was given. In either case, this is at the discretion of the Justice.

The surest way to amend a ticket is simply to complete a new one and serve it to you with the advice that the old one will not be proceeded with. An officer has one year from the date of the alleged offence to do this.

So, before you get your hopes up and dispute hoping to win on a technicality, you may wish to consider proper legal advice to insure your success. The British Columbia chapter of Canadian Bar Association operates a lawyer referral service at 1-800-663-1919 that will refer you to a local lawyer with expertise in the required situation. A half hour consultation costs $25.

References

Lawyer Referral Service

Proof of Service - Section 31 Offence Act

Information Sufficient Despite Certain Omissions - Section 97 Offence Act

Limitation of Action - Section 78 Motor Vehicle Act

Comments

Ticket errors and omissions

Great Post!

Could you expand more on what sorts of omissions and errors are fatal to a charge?

Fatal Errors

Generally fatal errors include writing the wrong penalty, the wrong section number or the wrong wording for the offence on the ticket. Leaving out a date, place or time or putting an incorrect date on the ticket will also insure its cancellation.

If the officer doesn't sign the ticket, sometimes the ICBC Ticket Unit will return it for signature and sometimes they will cancel the ticket. I'm not sure why it occurs this way.

In all these cases, the officer is left with the option of serving a corrected ticket on the accused driver as there is a one year limitation of action under the Motor Vehicle Act. It is up to the individual officer whether they do so or not.

Wrong date on ticket.

Hello

I received a traffic ticket (no insurance papers produced and not displaying an "N") and the date is incorrect. The year reads 2014. Is it possible to have this dismissed as the offence hasn't even occured yet? At the very least it deprives me of my 30 days to have the ticket reduced and how does that work with my N? Who can say if I will be an N in 3 4 years?

Thank you

Blue

It's Possible....

If the ICBC Ticket Unit agrees with you that the offence date was invalid, they will cancel the ticket and return the original copy to the officer suggesting that they serve you with a corrected copy. Whether the officer does that or not is up to them. Time will tell. You may be able to find out the status of the ticket by calling the Violation Ticket Unit. (Use search on this site for it)

The easiest way to protect yourself is to dispute the allegation as this will allow you to make that argument if ICBC does not cancel the ticket.


If the N was dealt with by way of 30.13 MVAR, there are no penalty points associated with these counts, so your N should not be affected if you pay or are convicted.

The officer does have the opportunity to serve you with a corrected copy within a year, and if you dispute, may ask the court to amend the ticket to show the correct date. It is up to the court if it will allow the change and in my experience generally it will not, even though the Offence Act allows it.

Disputing a Speeding Ticket

My boyfriend recently got a speeding ticket in an area where the speed limit changes three times in close succession on the highway. It goes from 90 to 70 to 50. He was in the 50 zone. Could he dispute the claim because he was slowing to the speed in that section, and does it matter if the speed is written on the ticket?

Does a ticket still count if

Does a ticket still count if the speed is not written in on a speeding violation?

Once you pass the sign...

...you are expected to be at or below the speed posted on the sign. You have to do the slowing down before the sign, not after it.

As for the speed measured, it is contained in the officer's notes. The ticket itself only says that the driver was going faster than the law permitted. You can infer a range of speeds from the penalty. At this time, 1 to 20 over is $138, 21 to 40 over is $196, 41 to 60 over is $368 and 60+ over is $483.

Sometimes this is not a good guide as the officer chooses to write the next lower fine instead of the one provided for in law. There is nothing wrong with the officer doing this either, but you may wish to exercise care in your decision to dispute. The Motor Vehicle Act requires specific penalties and if the justice finds the speed to be in the higher bracket they may consider themselves bound by the law to impose the higher penalty.

shaded area of the ticket

 You mention the clause "shaded areas of this ticket are not part of the offence charged", and say that if there are errors there it is not grounds to dismiss the ticket.  

One of the shaded boxes is "Produced" (referring to the Drivers License).  If the officer wrote a ticket for failure to produce, but put "Yes" in the box "Produced", wouldn't that be grounds to dismiss?

Produced....

If the officer put a yes in here, that is certainly something that I would discuss at trial, but it won't automatically mean that the ticket is cancelled or that the court will not convict. You would have to convince that JP that the indication means that you actually did produce, or that that the ticket is so defective that the charge should be dismissed. In my experience, this is not enough in itself for a dismissal, but you never know...

Postal Code?

 so the cop left my postal code totally blank, even though it was on my license.. do I have any chance of disputing it on these grounds? thanks a lot for the advice!

Sorry....

It's in the shaded area of the ticket. If that is the only error, you have no useful avenue of dispute.

Not asked to sign ticket.

I was issued a ticket for not displaying front plate.  I was not asked to sign ticket.  Why?

Answer

The only one that could tell you that with any certainty is the issuing officer. I worked with one that wouldn't let anyone have his pen during flu season. He felt that it saved him from getting sick each year.

Not asked to sign ticket

I wasn't asked for my insurance papers so the "registered name" of vehicle on the ticket is left blank. Is it mandatory for the officer to request insurance papers? I also wasn't asked to sign the ticket either, didn't even realize that was an option. It was just handed to me and that was that. You stated that if a ticket is not signed the officer completes a "certificate of service on the back " I don't see anything on the back of my ticket except info on how to pay or dispute. Since it wasn't signed by me should I be seeing something on the back? If he didn't do a "certificate of service" is the ticket still valid? And it doesn't mention the name of the registered owner of the vehicle... Only the licenense place, colour, make and model.

Some Answers

No, it is not mandatory that an officer request the insurance and registration documents for the vehicle.

The certificate of service only appears on the back of the original copy of the ticket. This is the copy forwarded to ICBC.

The balance of your questions are answered in the traffic tickets section of the forum. Please save my fingers and time by taking a look there and making use of the search facility here on the site. Thanks!

Vehicle description wrong

I am planning to dispute a ticket because the officer write down "Honda" and "Prelude" when my vehicle is actually"Acura" and "Integra" is this worth disputing as previous comments and other forums don't allude to this. Thanks.

Answer

I've searched "shaded area" for you as I knew it would turn up what you are looking for. I wouldn't expect most people to realize this would be the best way to find it.

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