How I went to court for a parking ticket and won!

I hate fees and tickets and fines (especially since I did not earn them). If I did a crime I should do the time or pay the fine (no more rhyming I swear)!


Here is what happened. 

I live in downtown Victoria, BC and my wife and I were going to a parenting class (prior to our daughter’s birth). I parked in a zone that was under construction and said no parking between 8 AM and 5 PM. I received a ticket and decided instead of paying the automatic $25 fine I would fight this (I was in the right).

My court date was in September and prior to the appearance, the traffic officer asked if I wanted to plead guilty because he didn’t know how long and my position in the string of cases read.

I said thanks but no thanks and proceeded to listen to the rest of the cases.

Wow! About 1/2 the people pleaded their case and received a lower fine and others refused to cooperate with the officers  and others had such interesting cases that they tried to get out of (one person tried to get out of a $500+ ticket because the officer wrote his birthdate MM/DD/YYYY instead of DD/MM/YYYY).

I basically told my case and the judge awarded me the case (I had to draw a map and I had a witness – my wife) and told them about my experience living in the area (I know where I can and can’t park).

It was great!

How I won: 

1. Be prepared.

Have all the information about the street and the day and event. Address the judge as your honour.

2. Understand that you have to be patient.

Most people would have just taken the fine but I was willing to wait out the officer and was confident.

3. Be confident.

I had my speech prepared and I even cross-examined the officer (out-lawyered him) so I showed the judge and the court that I knew that I was talking about.

Has anyone else had to go to court before for a court case?

6 thoughts on “How I went to court for a parking ticket and won!”

  1. Right on! I know most people don’t think they can win and just automatically pay their fines, but good to know that you can win if you are in the right and just take the time to actually go to court.

  2. In the City of Toronto minor parking tickets ($35 and less) are automatically stayed if you go to the trouble of demanding a hearing. You will never receive a notice from the city of when your hearing date will be.

    For other non-moving violations you are always better off demanding a hearing as once you do the 10 month clock starts. The Courts have ruled that if you do not get to plead your case within approx. 10 months of the infraction date you can have the cased stayed for delay. The current backlog for minor, non-moving tickets are well into a year.

    For my last ticket (just to ensure that I’d hit the 10-12 month court date milestone) when demanding my hearing I made sure that the hearing request would be in French and that a sign language interpreter would be needed (as I always wanted to learn both….)

    That was 12 months ago and I still have not received the letter of the City of Toronto advising me when my hearing date will be scheduled.

    1. @ Max Power – Virtually everything in your post is incorrect. You do not know what you are talking about.

  3. Max – that’s interesting – but is it just a delaying tactic?

    Meaning eventually you’ll get your hearing and potentially lose the case and have to pay the ticket?

    Or is there a possibility that be continually delaying the hearing, the violation will be dropped entirely?

    If it’s the former – what’s the point? Unless you feel you have a strong case then why not just get it over with?

  4. Max Power, you are right on. I’ve probably requested a hearing for about 20-40 tickets since 2006 and have never received a notice for any of them. Actually, that’s not fully true. I had one notice for a $60 parking ticket and at the hearing they reduced it to $10. So best way to deal with a parking ticket, if you have the time, is request a hearing. You are 95% sure to never have to pay a dime.

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