I will share what the process is like once this ticket makes it through the system. I haven't been able to find much resources online for this so I hope that this will help others in the future. But I would like to ask if anyone has had experience dealing with parking tickets through this new AMPS process?
I'm planning on taking this ticket through the entire system, just to satisfy my curiosity and also so I know what it's like and how to handle this in the future.
But yes, so far, I requested a screening review online yesterday and they replied the same day with a date and time for the screening review, which is scheduled for three weeks from now. This is definitely much faster than the court system and more convenient (i.e. filing ticket online vs. filing ticket in person at the courthouse/mail)
The screening officer looked at the evidence (i.e. photographs) from parking enforcement and showed it to me. This is different from early resolution meetings that I've experienced in the court system because they usually don't have the evidence prepared for early resolution; they tell you to request disclosure only after a trial date has been set, so you don't get to see the evidence until then. In my opinion, being able to see the evidence makes it easier to decide if you want to pay the ticket or dispute it further.
The screening officer said that she would not be able to cancel the ticket, but she reduced the fine from $40 to $25 using her "reviewed allowable reduction".
The screening officer was also much nicer than the court staff and the prosecutors that I've dealt with before!
I will be taking this to the next step to a hearing review, just to see what the process is like. It seems that the hearing review is set up like a tribunal, so I will share how it's different than the court system.
Also I'm not sure if this is consistent everywhere with the new AMPS process, but the City of Markham's bylaw says that the hearing officer can only:
(1) affirm the decision of the screening officer;
(2) reduce the fine;
(3) cancel the ticket; and/or,
(4) extend the amount of time to pay
So basically there is nothing to lose, the worst that happens is that you pay $25, which is already a reduced fine from the original $40. Whereas, in the court system, the prosecutor's plea deal is no longer valid if you go to trial and if you're found guilty, it's up to the justice to decide the penalty based on legislation (and usually it's just brought up to the original set fine on the ticket or increased).