$450 handicap zone ticket in Toronto

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$450 handicap zone ticket in Toronto

Unread post by Ticketee on

I have received a $450 ticket for parking in a handicap loading zone. I did not see the sign and the pavement was not marked. I have lived in Toronto for 15 years and this is the first ticket of any kind I have received. My last ticket, in a different city, was over 20 years ago. I am always very careful about parking and traffic regulations.

I cannot afford to pay $450. I do not make a lot of money and this is a real hardship for me. I've seen posts online that say I can try to speak to a Justice of the Peace and try to get the fine reduced or try to go to court.

I would appreciate some advice on how to deal with the situation.

Thank you very much.


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Unread post by Stanton on

You may want to try fighting the ticket if the actual parking signs (not the pavement markings) weren't visible. If not, your best bet is to either try to work out a deal with the Prosecutor to plead guilty with a joint submission for a lower fine, or plead guilty outright to the Justice of the Peace and explain your financial situation. Quite likely you would be given a lower fine and an extended period of time to pay.


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Simon Borys
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Unread post by Simon Borys on

Although it's the city's prerogative to set whatever fines they want, I personally think that fines like this for handicap parking offences are outrageous. You could have caused a serious collision by careless driving and damaged property and injured people and still only gotten a $490 fine. That's why handicap offence fines don't really seem proportional to the gravity or moral blameworthiness of the offence.

That being said, I don't have anything to add to Stanton's advice.
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Unread post by Ticketee on

Thanks to you both for your response. I was shocked at the size of the fine. I've read articles in the media saying the same sort of thing as Simon has.

It sounds like I should do is request a trial date and say I plan to plead not guilty. Then go in on the day of the trial and talk to the prosecutor (I thought they are called Crown Attorneys here. Not right?) or the JP and offer to plead guilty if I can get the fine reduced.

Can you tell me how I would know whether I should talk to the prosecutor or to the JP? I'm a little confused on that point. How do you know which one to talk to?


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Unread post by Stanton on

Speaking to the Crown or JP requires different options. To request a reduced fine from the JP, you would plead guilty with an explanation (Option 2). Prior to setting the fine, the JP would allow you to provide input. You could explain your financial situation and circumstances surrounding the offence. You are still pleading guilty however, and the JP has no obligation to reduce the fine (though they typically do). If you select Option 3 and work out a deal with the Crown ahead of time, they advise the JP there is a joint submission (basically you both agree to a certain fine). Again, the JP can ignore the submission, but it's very rare for them to do so. Realistically I think your chances are quite good at getting a fair reduction either way, but I have no experience with Toronto Parking tickets, so I'm not speaking from personal experience.

I'd suggest trying to work out a deal with the Crown ahead of time. If they're totally unwilling, you can still change your plea to guilty with an explanation at the last minute and hope for more sympathy from the JP. You should have an opportunity to speak with the Crown on the day of your trial prior to Court commencing. I'm guessing they don't offer resolution meetings for parking tickets prior to the day of your trial.


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Simon Borys
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Unread post by Simon Borys on

Also, "crown attorney" is a lawyer who works for the government doing prosecutions, usually criminal, sometimes provincial offences as well. But because it doesn't take as much skill to prosecute provincial offences and traffic tickets, they don't always use full fledged lawyers. Sometimes they just use someone with the necessary training but not the law degree. Also, sometimes they use law students on summer terms to do this for parking tickets. One of my classmates is actually doing it this summer.

Bottom line is that they're all "prosecutors", but the ones who aren't lawyers aren't properly called "crown attorneys". For most people it's an irrelevant distinction. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Unread post by Ticketee on

Thank you both very much. I will follow Stanton's advice - plead not guilty and try to work something out with the prosecutor. If that doesn't fly, I'll change my plea to guilty with an explanation and tell my story to the JP. I will also bring a letter from by doctor regarding my medical situation for back up.

Simon, good luck with your studies.






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