What Happens if You Contest a Ticket and Lose in Ontario?

So, you’ve decided to contest that pesky traffic ticket, hoping to dodge the fines and keep your driving record clean. But what happens if you contest a ticket and lose? Understanding the potential fallout is crucial. 

In Ontario, the stakes can be high, and the consequences can ripple through your life in ways you might not expect. Let’s dive into what you can expect if the judge doesn’t rule in your favour and how this decision can impact your driving future.

The Process of Contesting a Traffic Ticket in Ontario

Contesting a ticket isn’t just about appearing in court and hoping for the best. It involves a series of steps that, if navigated correctly, could potentially turn the tide in your favour. Here are the steps:

  1. File for a trial date: You’ve decided to challenge your traffic ticket, so the first step is to file for a trial date. This means submitting a trial request to the corresponding provincial offences court. You can do this either in person or by mail, indicating your intention to dispute the ticket. Make sure to do this within 15 days to make sure to meet all deadlines.
  2. Prepare for your court appearance: Contesting a ticket requires preparation. Gather any evidence supporting your case, including photos, witness statements, or other relevant documents. The goal is to build a solid argument to present in court.
  3. Court proceedings: On your trial date, you’ll appear before a judge or justice of the peace. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:
    • Presentation of your case: You’ll have the opportunity to present your evidence and explain why you believe the ticket should be dismissed or reduced.
    • Officer’s testimony: The officer who issued the ticket will also present their evidence and testimony.
    • Judge’s decision: After hearing both sides, the judge will make a decision. This process can be formal and intimidating, but being well-prepared can boost your confidence.

What Happens if You Dispute a Ticket and Lose

So, you’ve gone through the process and presented your case, but the judge didn’t rule in your favour. Here’s what you can expect if you lose your case:

  • Fines and court costs: You’ll be required to pay the original amount of the ticket. In addition to the ticket fine, you may also be responsible for court costs. These can add up, making the financial burden heavier than if you had simply paid the ticket upfront.
  • Demerit points: The demerit points associated with your specific offence will be added to your driving record. For example, a speeding ticket in Ontario might add 3 to 4 points, while more severe offences like careless driving charges can add up to 6 points.
    • Impact: Accumulating many points can lead to further penalties, including possible licence suspensions and higher insurance premiums.
  • Licence suspension: For severe offences such as Ontario DUI charges, multiple speeding violations, or dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, the court can impose long-term licence suspensions lasting several months or even years.
  • Increased insurance rates: A conviction on your driving record will likely cause your insurance rates to increase. Insurance companies view traffic violations as indicators of higher risk, and you may see a significant rise in your premiums for at least 3 years.
  • Additional penalties:
    • Mandatory driving courses: Depending on the offence, you might be required to complete a driving course. For instance, drivers convicted of  Ontario stunt driving charge or accumulating too many demerit points may need to take a driver improvement course.
    • Community service: For more severe offences, such as excessive speeding (50 km/h over the limit), Ontario street racing, etc., the court may impose community service hours as part of your penalty.
    • Other consequences: Certain offences might lead to other specific penalties, such as vehicle impoundment, jail time or a criminal record, particularly in cases involving impaired driving.

Options After Losing Your Ticket

If you’ve contested your traffic ticket and the judge ruled against you, don’t despair. There are still several options you can consider to minimize the impact:

1 – Appeal the decision:

Grounds for appeal: If you believe a legal error occurred during your trial, you have the right to appeal the decision. This must be based on specific grounds, such as procedural mistakes or misinterpretation of the law.

Filing an appeal: File a notice of appeal at the court where your trial was held. There are strict deadlines, so act quickly.

Appeal process: An appeal will be heard in a higher court where a judge will review your case for any errors made in the original trial.

2 – Request a reopening:

New evidence: If new evidence has come to light that could significantly affect the outcome of your case, you may request to reopen the case. It must be done within a reasonable time after the conviction.

Reopening procedure: Submit a request to the court explaining why the case should be reopened and what new evidence is available.

3 – Consider legal advice

Even after losing, consulting with a traffic lawyer can be beneficial. They can advise you on the best course of action, whether it’s appealing, requesting a reopening, or negotiating a payment plan.

4 – Payment plans

If paying the fine in full is financially challenging, you may request a payment plan. It allows you to pay the fine in installments over a set period.

That’s why bringing in a traffic lawyer can be your ace in the hole. They know the ropes, can build a solid case, and tilt the odds in your favour. Don’t leave your driving future to chance – get expert help and drive with peace of mind.

Call X-COPS today to estimate your case and minimize harsh consequences if you’re facing a traffic ticket in Ontario. Our experienced team can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the best possible outcome.


Here we've prepared a short list of frequently asked questions in order to provide quick answers to anyone who's looking for information associated with the topic. If you need more clarification, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

👉How long does a ticket stay on your record in Ontario?

A ticket typically stays on your driving record forever. However, insurance companies can utilize it to increase your premiums for the next 3 years from the date of the conviction.

👉How do I contest a ticket in Ontario?

To contest a ticket in Ontario, first, file a request for a trial date at the provincial offences office, either in person or by mail. This initiates the process of disputing the ticket. Prepare your case by gathering evidence and considering legal representation. On your trial date, present your case before a judge, who will then make a decision based on the evidence and arguments presented.

Thank you!