My experience in court.

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My experience in court.

by: Gweedz on
Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:32 am

This is what happened to me yesterday. I think it's very typical but I'm writing this for people who have never been and may have questions on how things work (like I did a couple days ago).

I was charged with speeding, 29-over.

I got there about 1/2 hour early, which was lucky because it took me 15 minutes to find parking. I went to the courtroom, looked inside and it was empty. There's a sheet posted on the wall next to the door and it had my name on it, along with about 10 other names. It showed the same police officer # next to all the names.
I sat on the bench next to the door. About 5 minutes before the trial time a couple people came and unlocked the door and went in. We all just sat there. A minute later one came out and said we can go in the courtroom. One lady (the prosecutor) had a folder with all our offences and asked that we go to her to "sign in". You go up to her one at a time, in no particular order and giver her your name. She looks at the paperwork and says "You are charged with X, are you open to a resolution or do you want to go through with the trial?". Basically they're asking if you want to work out a deal. I said I'm open to discuss it. She said "you were charged with 29 over, which is 3 points and $136 fine. What if I reduce it to 15 over, zero points and $45 fine, are you willing to accept that?" I said yes and she said thanks and please sit down.
She said exactly the same thing to everyone (and they all said yes).
All this time the officer is standing next to her, but didn't say anything.

When she's done someone goes and calls the judge. He walked in the room, you hear "please rise" and then we all sit. The prosecutor calls someone, you walk to a table near the front and they ask you to say your name. The prosecutor tells the judge "we come to a resolution to change this to 15 over". The judge mentions if you accept this charge then you are forefitting your right to a trial. I agreed. Then some other lady reads the new charge... "You, <NAME> on <DATE> are charged with the offence of speeding 75km/h in a 60km/h zone. How do you plead?" I said ... guilty.
The judge says the fine is $60 ($45 plus fees) and if I will be paying today or need time to pay. I said I need time and he said he'll give me 60 days.

And that's it. You just walk out. No papers to sign or nothing else to do. Note, if you choose to pay that day I don't know what the procedure is. There was a pretty large line up at the front. If you pay later he said I can mail in a cheque. They will mail me papers indicating how to pay, but even if I don't receive the papers it up to me to make sure I pay within 60 days.

All the above took less than 20 minutes, but only about 2 minutes of time standing infront of the judge.

Everyone did the exact same thing (however all others decided to pay their fine that day). A couple people had an interpreter translating for them. One guy was charged for not having his ownership in the car, during the sign-in the prosecutor asked him if he has one and he said yes. She let him to go to the car and get it. I didn't see what happened afterwards because I left, but I think it got thrown out.

It appears that before the judge walks in everything is very informal. Some people didn't speak perfect english and the prosecutor went out of her way to make sure they understood what she was saying.
Treat them with normal respect, get rid of the gum and cell phone, and everything should go smoothly.

Let me know if you have any questions while it's still fresh in my mind.
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:34 pm

by: Flyview on
Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:04 pm

Thanks for the detailed account. However, as you realized, everyone is offered this "deal". But what's $50-$100 reduction in the ticket amount when you are possibly dinged thousands more over the next three years due to your conviction, regardless?

For my first ticket, I was too lazy to request disclosure, etc, etc, on time and so I took the deal as well. But for my second ticket, I am going to fight it to the ground!
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