There is a common urban myth and belief that if a Certificate of Offence, colloquially referred to as a 'traffic ticket', is flawed, meaning imperfectly completed by the charging police officer, then the Court must quash (throw out) the charge. This false presumption commonly circulates among the public and leads to many awkward situations where a charge survives and a conviction is registered dispite an irregularity upon the Certificate of Offence document.
The Provincial Offences Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33 (the POA), being the statute that prescribes, among other things, the way certain charges, or offences, should be dealt with, contains the requirements that a 'traffic ticket' should be, "... complete and regular on its face ...", per s. 9.1(2) of the POA. Where a flaw exists, s. 34 of the POA, generally, provides the authority for amendment of the flaw; however, this authority to amend is only available when the person charged with the offence, or an agent of that person such as a paralegal, is present and therefore is able to receive details of the amendment. Accordingly, whereas if the person charged is absent and without a representative appearing, the Court is faced with the incapacity to amend the document. Based on the perceived dilemma and improper presumption that if a charged person is absent and also without a representative appearing that the Court must quash the Certificate and thereby dismiss the proceeding, it is common that people charged with an offence will fail to appear in Court with the expectation that the matter will be quashed; however, this is a improper presumption.
Per the case of Chow v. York (Regional Municipality), 2018 ONCJ 818 at paragraph 10, a Certificate is considered "... complete and regular ...", and therefore in compliance with s. 9.1(2) of the POA unless the flaw could mislead the defendant when making the decision to defend the charge or fail to appear on the charge and thereby risk being convicted ex parte (meaning in absence). Specifically, the Court said:
 A certificate is complete and regular despite omissions or errors that involve information that is not required to provide notice of the offence (surplusage) and could not mislead the defendant with respect to the choice as to whether to defend or default ...
In the Chow case, upon Appeal review, the Court deemed that where the police officer failed to check the AM/PM box so to indicate the complete time-of-day details, such was an insufficient flaw in that the person charged (Chow) would know whether the charge occurred during the day or at night and therefore the lack of this information upon the Certificate was insignificant and incapable of influencing the decision of whether to defend or default; and accordingly, the Certificate was unquashed and the previous ex parte conviction remained.
Help Defending Your Legal Matter
DefendCharges.ca has successfully defended thousands of Ontario traffic tickets, bylaw charges, and provincial offences.
Our network of licensed professionals possess the courtroom knowledge and experience required to successfully negotiate a withdrawal or reduced offence or proceed to Trial, if required, in effort to achieve the best possible outcome.
One of our experienced representatives will review your legal matter and explain the unique strengths and weaknesses of your case; and then work with you to create a winning strategy for defending your matter. We will always make the best attempt to eliminate your charge or charges completely. In the event that we are unable to eliminate your charge(s) completely, we will take all necessary steps:
- To secure a guilty plea to a reduced or amended offence;
- To minimize any monetary penalty imposed;
- To protect you from license conditions, revocation, or suspension;
- To protect your business (if applicable) from costly disruptions and losses; and
- To prevent damage to your good reputation.
The DefendCharges.ca representation includes the filing of your traffic ticket or offence notice, as it may be, or any other necessary documents as may be discussed and agreed to. Additionally, for those matters requiring a first appearance, commonly referred to as a 'set date', DefendCharges.ca will attend such court dates on your behalf as well as providing the best effort possible stategic defence given the circumstance(s) of your offence or charge.
You Have Three (3) Traffic Ticket Fighting Options
(Plea of Guilty)
Paying a traffic ticket is never recommended as payment of the fine will be accepted as an automatic admission of guilt. This will result in a conviction on your driving record for the charge as laid and you will suffer the full consequences which may include demerit points and/or a driver’s licence suspension. Novice driver’s beware!
with the Prosecution
Meeting with the prosecutor is never recommended as you will not be able to obtain a copy of the evidence prior and you will not know the strength of the case against you. While there may be some form of reduction offered, there is usually little chance to secure a withdrawal regardless of your explanation which will likely do more harm than good.
Your Best Option
Requesting a trial date is always recommended so that you may request and receive a copy of the evidence. Only then will you truly be able to determine the strength of the case against you and any possible defences. Choose DefendCharges.ca to defend you at trial and increase your chances of winning.
Quick & Easy Retainer Process
Contact DefendCharges.ca to obtain your free fifteen (15) minute consultation, a legal representative will review your circumstances, and explain your options for defending your matter. Consideration will also be given to your driving record and/or history of any past offence(s), as well as the potential consequences of a conviction.
We will obtain a copy of your driver’s licence or other government issued identification, a copy of the charging document(s), and details of the alleged offence(s) as well as any other information that you deem relevant.
We will forward our retainer agreement to you wherein our service fees are outlined along with payment arrangement options as well as the nature of our relationship including our obligations to each other.