The Provincial Court deals with three types of tickets:
These are the most informal proceedings in Provincial Court - you can conduct your own hearing to dispute a ticket, although you may hire a lawyer to handle your case if you wish.
The procedures for dealing with a ticket are different, depending on whether you’re charged with an offence under a provincial (BC), federal (Canada), or municipal law.
For Provincial Violation and Federal Contravention Tickets:
To dispute the ticket ...
Check the ticket for instructions on how to dispute it. You must file a Notice of Dispute within thirty days of getting your ticket. Be sure to provide your complete mailing address. You’ll receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail, although this may take several months.
If you only want to dispute the fine ...
If you agree that you committed the offence, but just want to dispute the amount of the fine, say so on your Notice of Dispute and fill out a Violation Ticket Statement and Written Reasons, giving reasons to have the fine reduced and asking for time to pay your fine. A judicial justice will review your reasons and make a decision. There are some fines that a justice cannot reduce below a minimum amount set by law, but they could give you ‘time to pay’ if you explain why you need more time. You will not have to come to court if you fill out and send in this form.
If you move before getting your Notice of Hearing ...
If you change your address after you filed the Notice of Dispute and before you get the Notice of Hearing, complete a Change of Address form and send it to the Violation Ticket Center at the address on the form. Changing your address with ICBC and the Motor Vehicle Branch is not enough.
If you change your address after getting the Notice of Hearing, send the form to the Violation Ticket Centre and to the Court.
If you can’t come to court on the date set for your hearing ...
Complete and send in an Application to Adjourn a Hearing as soon as you can. Explain in detail on the form why you can’t come to court on the scheduled date. Don’t delay. Last minute requests may not succeed.
For traffic and other offences under BC laws, find all these forms at:
Provincial Violation Ticket Forms
For ticket offences under Canadian federal laws, find the forms at:
Federal Contraventions Violation Ticket Forms
For Municipal Ticket Informations:
The Municipal Ticket Information system (also referred to as MTI or municipal ticketing) enables local governments to enforce and prosecute certain contraventions of local government bylaws.
While some bylaw offences are prosecuted in Provincial Court, others may be dealt with in a local adjudication system. For more information on the municipal ticketing process, contact your local government or check its website.
Be aware that you may only have 14 days to pay the fine or file a dispute after receiving a municipal ticket or bylaw notice.
Our Guide to Disputing a Ticket answers these and other questions about Provincial Violation Tickets in more detail. It also offers information on how to prepare for and conduct your hearing.
Trial procedures in Provincial Court for the three types of tickets are similar. The trial usually takes place before a Judicial Justice with a police or enforcement officer conducting the prosecution. Although a lawyer may sometimes act as prosecutor and a judge may preside at the trial, the procedures they follow will be the same as that described in the Guide.