Fatal Errors

A fatal error is an error on your traffic ticket that is sufficient to get your case thrown out. It is quite common for people to receive a traffic ticket with errors on it. Unfortunately not all errors are fatal. If the right person is standing in court and the police officer can identify you, then the error could not have been fatal. In fact, under Section 34 of the Provincial Offences Act the justice can amend the traffic ticket to fix the error so that it is correct.

Non-Fatal Errors

The following errors are not fatal and won't get your traffic ticket thrown out:

  • misspelled name, incorrect address, wrong driver's licence number;
  • incorrect location;
  • incorrect date or time;
  • wrong licence plate;
  • wrong vehicle color or description;
  • incorrect set fine or total payable amount. (You can make this a fatal error, see Incorrect Fine Amounts.)

Fatal Errors

The following errors are fatal and will get your traffic ticket thrown out:

  • no offence date;
  • no defendant’s name (if your name is misspelled, the traffic ticket still counts);
  • no location;
  • missing officer’s signature;
  • unknown offence (e.g. speeding 70kh/hr in a 64km/hr zone);
  • the filing date is beyond seven days.

More Information

For a full discussion on errors, how to make a motion to have your traffic ticket thrown out and how to take advantage of errors during your trial, see Quash the Trial.

For an alternative approach to trial that can get your traffic ticket quashed for a non-fatal error, see How to Force a Fatal Error.

Prosecutors Who Act in Bad Faith

Some prosecutors will pursue a conviction at any cost. You must be very careful not to discuss the error with the prosecutor before the trial or at First Attendance. Some people mistakenly assume that if they show the error to the prosecutor, he will drop the charge. Instead, they have given him a heads up to correct the error before the trial begins.

This is also true for fatal errors. Showing the prosecutor the fatal error does not mean you will beat the charge. The prosecutor can drop the charge and then issue a summons for the same charge within six months of the offence. He avoids the fatal error and still gets to convict you.