Entering a Plea of Guilty
Dress smartly for your court appearance. Even if you are entering a plea of guilty for your speeding ticket, you still want to make a good impression on the court.
Prepare for yourself a statement of your financial situation if you think you will have difficulty paying the speeding ticket fine. Make a budget for yourself and get an idea of exactly what you need to do each month financially to survive. This will be important later when the Justice decides your penalty for your speeding ticket.
Enter the court at the appointed time and wait for the clerk to call your name. Once it is called, approach the bench and say, “Good morning/afternoon Your Worship. My name is ____, and I am prepared to enter a plea today. I am doing so voluntarily and I understand I am waiving my right to a trial.”
You need to make sure the court knows you know your rights. If you give the impression that you have been coerced into your decision or that you don’t know what your options are, court may proceed to trial anyway, and you could possibly lose your negotiated bargain for your speeding ticket.
The clerk will read your speeding offence to you, and then the prosecutor will read the facts according to the charging officer. Listen very carefully to the facts as they are read and make sure that they are correct. If you don’t understand something that was read out, make a note of it so you can ask for clarification. Also note if anything was incorrect.
Once the prosecutor is finished reading the list, the Justice will ask you if you have anything to say regarding the facts for your speeding ticket. If they are all correct, simply answer, “I agree with the facts, Your Worship.” If there is a problem with the facts for your speeding ticket, only address it if it will affect your sentence but not the question of your guilt. Do not argue in such a way as to call into question whether or not you committed the speeding ticket. If that occurs, the Justice will quash your plea and the matter will go to trial, which you will likely want to avoid at this point. Only argue if the prosecutor’s evidence makes your speeding ticket more severe.
For example, your speeding charge would be more severe if you were doing so in an area where there were children. If the prosecutor claims that children were in the area, but the time was when school wasn’t in session and no children were present, say so. You are not arguing with the fact that you were speeding, just that you weren’t doing so with children present.
It is important to know what kind of factors can make your speeding ticket more severe for just this reason. At no time try to explain why you’re not guilty of speeding. Doing so will just make you look foolish to the court, and your plea will be quashed and a trial will proceed.
Once any issues with the facts of your speeding ticket are addressed, the Justice will ask the prosecutor for submissions on your penalty. Once a penalty has been submitted, the Justice will then ask you if you have anything to say regarding the penalty. This is the time to bring up any concerns you have with the penalty for your speeding ticket, particularly if you are worried that you will have financial difficulties. If you need to, explain your financial situation calmly but sincerely to the court, using your prepared budget to back yourself up. Let them know how much hardship you would face if the fee were levied against you, and demonstrate how sorry you are for committing the speeding offence and your intention to never do so again.
You can apply under section 59(2) of the Provincial Offences Act (POA) to have your speeding ticket fine reduced or waived completely based on your financial situation. Address this section to the Justice and see what he or she determines. The Justice will also ask you how much time you will need to pay your speeding ticket fine. You usually have up to 15 days to do so, but you can apply to have as much time as you need.
Once you are finished, thank the court for their time and leave quietly. Make sure to pay your speeding ticket fine before the deadline, and be aware of how your charge will affect your driving record and your insurance.