Limitation periods are often difficult to deal with and even more so if they are missed. Consequences could even be devastating. For traffic tickets in British Columbia, you are able to dispute them if you believe that it was issued unfairly, want to reduce the fine, or delay the payment. However, these disputes must be done within:

  • 30 days of the violation date.
  • 30 days if a red light camera ticket was served to you in person.
  • 45 days if a red light camera ticket was received in the mail.

It is important to note that traffic tickets are not synonymous to Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, 24-Hour Driving Prohibitions, or Administrative Driving Prohibitions. These prohibitions have varying time periods for dispute.

What Happens if You Miss the Time to Dispute?

The first step you should take if you miss your deadline is to call a lawyer. This period is incredibly critical as some actions may lead to you not being able to dispute your ticket at all. Keep in mind that the second you pay your ticket, you are admitting guilt and ultimately, eliminating all chances from disputing at all. Note that doing this may also affect any matters you may have with ICBC. ICBC requires that you pay any outstanding fines prior to issuing insurance or renewing your drivers’ license.

Finding a lawyer may be your first priority, but make sure that you also act quickly. Failing to act quickly can affect your dispute. Further delaying the process may cause the Justice of Peace to infer that you did not have a valid reason or intention to dispute your ticket in the first place.

To dispute your ticket, you can file an affidavit with the Traffic Court Registry. Ensure that you choose the correct form for your dispute. Bring the form and ticket to the closest court registry where it will be notarized. Then, be sure to complete a Notice of Dispute. Extensions for the time to dispute are governed by Section 16 of the Offence Act. In order to be successful in disputing the ticket, you must provide information to show that you have a compelling case for an extension of the time. To do so, you must prove that you did not have the opportunity to dispute the ticket within the given time frame. Examples include a postal error, sickness, or hospitalization. Additionally, it is important to show that you did have the intention to dispute the ticket.

What Happens if Your Affidavit is Rejected?

Unfortunately, affidavits can be rejected. If this is the case, the court registry will notify you by mail and your ticketed amount will be payable immediately.

What if You Can’t Attend a Hearing?

There are, however, two ways to change the date and time of your hearing.

If you are physically unable to attend your hearing, you must have an agent available to attend on your behalf. This can be a family member, a friend, or legal counsel. However, this individual cannot give evidence on your behalf so it is advisable that you arrange matters so that you attend.

There are, however, two ways to change the date and time of your hearing.

  1. File an affidavit form at a court registry to request a new date, so long as your missed hearing was not your fault.
  2. Mail an application to adjourn your hearing. These can also be found at a court registry.

If you miss your court hearing and fail to do one of the above-listed options, the full ticketed amount is payable immediately.

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