Are you guilty of the offence shown on the violation ticket but unable to pay the ticketed amount? In many cases you can have the fine reviewed and set to a penalty more appropriate for your circumstances without having to set foot in traffic court. When the penalty cannot be reduced or you need both a reduction and time to pay, that can be accomplished as well. All you need to do is to complete and submit two forms for the judicial justice to review.

The two forms are PTR021 – Violation Ticket Notice of Dispute and PTR022 – Violation Ticket Statement and Written Reasons. These forms are available on line or can be obtained at the nearest Court Registry office.

Form PTR021 is used to start the dispute process. In all cases you would complete parts A and D. For this situation you would also complete part B. This indicates that you agree that you have committed the offence(s), do not wish to appear in court personally and require a reduction (check box C1) and/or time to pay (check box C2).

Form PTR022 explains your situation to the judicial justice and accompanies form PTR021. You must complete parts A and B and then choose part C for a reduction in penalty and/or part D for time to pay the penalty. This is where you would explain your financial situation, highlight an otherwise spotless driving record and name a specific period of time for payment. If you cannot specify a time, you could explain what is left of your budget each month that you can afford to pay and leave the calculation to the judicial justice.

The form is specific that the written reasons must not contain a defence of the allegation. For instance, you must not ask for a reduction or time to pay because you did not know what you did was wrong, the offence was minor in nature or some reason compelled you to disobey. Arguments that refute guilt are for disputes of the allegation, and you’ve already chosen to indicate that you are guilty of the offence.

These forms, along with a copy of the violation ticket that you were issued may be sent to the address listed on them or taken in person to the Court Registry.

A judicial justice will review them and may choose to ask the issuing officer about the circumstances that led to the ticket being issued. Your driving record is not reviewed as part of the process unless you decide to provide that information yourself. In case you are tempted to shade the truth here, remember that you are working with legal documents and there are penalties for being less than forthright.

If you wish to attach a copy of your driving record, you can download and print the document free of charge directly from ICBC.

Some driving offences such as speeding have specific fines set in the legislation. Others such as driving without insurance have minimum fines indicated. In either case, the judicial justice must follow the law and either cannot vary the specific fine or set a penalty lower than the indicated minimum.

Traffic ticket fines are meant to act as a deterrent, not a financial hardship. The ticketed amounts are determined to indicate the seriousness of the offence and balanced for an average income. The system outlined here helps adjust the penalty to suit other than average circumstances.

To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

Constable Tim Schewe (Retired)

DriveSmartBC: Where better than average drivers satisfy their curiosity.

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