Is Fighting Traffic Tickets a Good Idea? What to Consider

Have you got a traffic ticket? Your first instinct might be to pay the fine and move on. But hold up – fighting that ticket could save you money and keep your driving record clean. Going to court sounds about as fun as a root canal. But trust me, it’s worth considering.

I’ve been there, staring down a ticket that felt unfair. I didn’t want the hassle, but I also didn’t want the points on my license or the hike in my insurance. So, I did some digging and fought it. Spoiler alert: it paid off.

Ready to learn if fighting your traffic ticket is the right move? Let’s break down the reasons for the contest, the process, and the potential outcomes. You’ll have a game plan for your ticket situation by the end. Let’s go!

Fighting Traffic Tickets

Reasons to Fight a Traffic Ticket

I’ve been there. That sinking feeling when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror and realize you’re being pulled over. Your mind races as the officer approaches your window. Maybe you were speeding, or perhaps you missed a stop sign. Whatever the reason, you’re now facing a traffic ticket. But before you resign to pay the fine and move on, consider this: fighting your traffic ticket could be worth it. Here’s why.

Avoiding Demerit Points

One of the biggest reasons to fight a traffic ticket is to avoid demerit points on your driving record. In Ontario, demerit points are added to your record for certain traffic violations. You could face serious consequences like license suspension if you accumulate too many points. You can keep those points off your record by fighting your ticket and winning. I’ve successfully fought tickets for this exact reason. Trust me, it’s worth the effort to keep your record clean.

Preventing Insurance Rate Increases

Another major reason to fight your traffic ticket? Preventing your insurance rates from skyrocketing. Insurance companies look at your driving record when determining your premiums. More tickets and convictions generally mean higher rates. Just one traffic ticket conviction can cause your insurance rates to increase by 10-25%. Fighting your ticket can help you avoid these costly increases and keep more money in your pocket.

Keeping Your Driving Record Clean

Beyond demerit points and insurance rates, keeping your driving record clean is important for many reasons. Potential employers, especially those hiring for positions that involve driving, will often check your record. Rental car companies may also review your history. Fighting a ticket when you have a good chance of winning helps ensure your record stays unblemished. I’ve seen firsthand how a clean driving record can open personal and professional doors. It’s worth fighting for.

Factors to Consider Before Fighting a Traffic Ticket

So you’ve decided to fight your traffic ticket. Before you start preparing your case, consider a few key factors impacting your chances of success.

The severity of the Offense

First, consider the severity of your alleged offense. Were you ticketed for going a few kilometers over the speed limit, or were you caught going 30 km/h over? The severity of the violation can impact whether it’s worth fighting the ticket. Generally, more serious offenses with hefty fines or that add multiple demerit points to your record are better candidates for fighting in traffic court. Minor infractions may not be worth the time and effort to dispute.

Strength of Evidence

Next, evaluate the strength of the evidence against you. If the police officer has solid proof of your violation, fighting the ticket may be an uphill battle. However, if you believe the officer’s observations or the ticketing equipment could be called into question, you may have grounds for a strong defense. I’ve successfully fought tickets by pointing out inconsistencies or errors in the evidence. It’s all about building a solid case.

Time and Cost Involved

Finally, consider the time and financial costs of fighting your ticket. Contesting a ticket will require you to attend court, often multiple times. You’ll need to take time off work or school to appear. Legal fees will also add up if you hire a traffic ticket lawyer. Weigh these costs against the potential savings of getting your ticket dismissed or reduced. In some cases, the trade-off may not be worth it.

Steps to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Ontario

You’ve weighed your options and decided to fight your traffic ticket. As someone who has been through the process multiple times, I can attest that preparation is key. Here are the crucial steps to build your case and give yourself the best shot at success in traffic court.

Pleading Not Guilty

The first step is to file your “not guilty” plea with the court. In Ontario, you can do this by mailing in your ticket with the appropriate plea option selected before the deadline on the back of the ticket. Once the court receives your plea, you’ll be notified of your trial date. Mark this date in your calendar and start preparing your case immediately. Avoid waiting until the last minute and scrambling to build your defense.

Requesting Disclosure

After entering your plea, you’ll want to request disclosure from the prosecutor. Disclosure is all the evidence the Crown has against you, including the officer’s notes, witness statements, and any technical reports or proof related to your charge. Requesting and reviewing disclosure is crucial to building your defense. It allows you to see exactly what the officer is alleging and spot any potential weaknesses in their case. I always request disclosure as soon as possible after entering my plea.

Preparing Your Defense

With disclosure in hand, it’s time to start crafting your defense. Look for inconsistencies or errors in the officer’s notes or other evidence you can challenge in court. Common defenses include questioning the officer’s observation of the alleged violation, providing evidence that a traffic sign was obstructed, or demonstrating a maintenance issue with the speed measurement device. Organize your arguments and supporting evidence in a clear, concise manner. Practice presenting your case out loud. Consider any potential counter-arguments the prosecutor may raise and how you’ll respond.

Attending Your Trial

On your scheduled trial date, arrive early and dress professionally. When your case is called, the officer will present their evidence first. You’ll then have the opportunity to cross-examine them and present your defense. Remain calm and respectful, even if you disagree with the officer’s testimony. Focus on poking holes in their evidence and presenting your proof in a logical, persuasive way. After both sides have presented, the judge will make a decision. If they find you not guilty, congratulations. Your ticket will be dismissed. If you’re found guilty, you’ll be responsible for paying the fine and any associated court costs.

Potential Outcomes of Fighting a Traffic Ticket

When you decide to fight a traffic ticket, it’s important to understand the potential outcomes. While a successful defense can help you avoid fines, demerit points, and insurance increases, there’s also a chance you could lose your case and face additional consequences. If the officer fails to appear in court on your trial date, your ticket will typically be dismissed immediately. This is one of the best-case scenarios when fighting a ticket. Alternatively, if you present a strong defense, the judge may find you not guilty and dismiss the charge. In other cases, the court may reduce the severity of your offense and lower your fine, even if they don’t dismiss the ticket entirely. However, if the judge rejects your defense and finds you guilty, you’ll be required to pay the full fine amount plus any additional court fees. The conviction will go on your driving record, impacting your insurance rates. For more serious convictions, you may face demerit points, license suspension, or even jail time in extreme cases. It’s important to understand these risks before deciding to fight your ticket.

When to Consider Hiring a Traffic Ticket Lawyer

Navigating traffic court and fighting a ticket alone can be overwhelming, especially if facing a serious charge. In certain situations, hiring a traffic ticket lawyer may be beneficial to help you build the strongest possible defense. Consulting with an attorney is highly recommended if you’re facing a charge that could result in license suspension or even jail time. Traffic lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the law and court proceedings. They can assess the strength of your case and advise you on the best path forward. A lawyer can provide valuable guidance and peace of mind even for less serious tickets. Many offer free consultations to review your case and discuss your options. Hiring a lawyer does come with a financial cost. However, the savings can outweigh the legal fees if they can get your ticket dismissed or your fine reduced. It’s a personal decision based on your unique circumstances. Whether you fight your ticket alone or with legal representation, you must weigh your options carefully. Consider the potential outcomes, costs, and benefits. With the right preparation and strategy, fighting your traffic ticket can be worthwhile to protect your driving record and save money in the long run.


Yes, fighting can save you from demerit points and insurance hikes. But weigh the offense's severity against potential costs.

Show evidence that disputes the officer's account or proves your speed was safe under specific conditions.

No magic excuse works every time. A real emergency might sway some judges, but proof helps more than words.