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Challenging a traffic ticket can prove costly, writes The Star's Ellen Roseman

Long-time personal finance columnist and consumer rights advocate at The Toronto Star, Ellen Roseman writes on Saturday, January 31, 2015, about traffic tickets and how difficult it can be to try and fight them yourself, in an article "Challenging a traffic ticket can prove costly."

If you don't pay your parking tickets, you won't be able to get your licence renewal sticker. If you get a traffic ticket (speeding ticket or other moving violation), you will lose demerit points. If you already have a spotty driving record, those demerit points do add up. You could lose your licence. If you need you car to get to work or see your children, that is a very bad thing, indeed.

Ellen Roseman writes about just some of the things that people do wrong when trying to fing a ticket yourself:

  • A letter or a cheque paying the amount of the traffic ticket can get lost. The court does not accept responsibility for lost mail, nor does it give plaintiffs "a break" when this happens. The court does not stop for missed deadlines on your part.

  • If you go to court, check the address of the court. If you show up in the wrong place, the court doesn't give you "a break."

  • Where you pay a traffic ticket is different than where you go to apply for a motion to appeal a ticket for a conviction.

  • If you go to court, be prepared to wait a long time. You may be given a time for your case to be heard, but the courts are backlogged. The judge, in fact, may not get to your case on the appointed day. You may have to come back again.

Delays in court are not unusual. Unless you have a lot of time to devote to solving your traffic ticket, it is a better idea to hire a paralegal to help you navigate the court system. A paralegal can help you for a cost that is between one-third and one-half of the cost of a lawyer.

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