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I got a traffic ticket, what are my options?

Reviewed by
Nov 3, 2021

There are two ways you can be charged with a traffic offence: a ticket or a summons.

A ticket is a less serious offence. For many offences, including parking, speeding, driving without insurance, and several offences under the Motor Vehicle Act, the police will give you a Violation Ticket (a traffic ticket.) The ticket will show the offence(s) you are charged with and a penalty beside each offence. There is also information on the ticket about how to pay it and how to dispute it.

A Summons or Appearance Notice is a more serious offence such as careless driving or a hit and run. You will get written notice of the offence in the form of a Summons or an Appearance Notice. A Summons is mailed to you or personally delivered to you. An Appearance Notice is given to you by a police officer at the time of offence. These documents describe the offences you are charged with. They also tell you when you need to appear in court. You MUST appear in court. If, for some reason you cannot appear in court, contact the court registrar to inform them. If you receive a Summons or Appearance Notice you may need to talk to a lawyer to get legal advice. A lawyer could represent you in court.

You can dispute a ticket or fine if you feel it was unfair because you didn’t commit the offence. If you agree that you committed the offence you can still dispute the amount of the fine reduced or request more time to pay it. If you don’t agree with a traffic ticket or fine, you have to do it within 30 days of getting the ticket. You will have to register your dispute, then you will have to appear in traffic court. For more about disputing a traffic ticket or fine, go to the ICBC website.