Myth: If the officer doesn't show up in court, you'll automatically win and receive no ticket fines

By Jonathan van Ekelenburg

The police officer that issued you a ticket is a witness for the prosecution whose testimony is very important because it is the key to convicting you and issuing ticket fines. It is true that the officer not showing up in court is a good thing for you, but it does not mean an automatic victory in court with no ticket fines.

If the officer does not appear on your trial date, the prosecution may ask for an adjournment from the court to get a later trial date so the officer can have a chance to show up.

It will be up to the discretion of the justice of the peace whether or not to grant the adjournment, and they will base their decision on the officer's reason for not being present. If the officer has a good reason for not being there, it is likely that the trial will just be pushed back to a later date, and there will still be opportunity for you to be convicted and face ticket fines.

That being said, sometimes the officer does not have a good reason for not attending, and in busier courts, such as those in the Greater Toronto Area, officers may just be so busy that they won't appear and the ticket will be withdrawn with no ticket fines.

As well, even if the trial is adjourned to a later date because the officer didn't arrive, it could be to your benefit because your right to a speedy trial might be violated. If too much time passes from the day you got the ticket to your trial date, you may be able to apply to have the charges withdrawn with no ticket fines. So whether the ticket is thrown out automatically or not, the officer's not appearing is definitely to your advantage.

Read about more traffic ticket myths