The idea of having to attend court to fight a traffic ticket could be intimidating and overwhelming. Some may feel that they are at a disadvantage because they do not have any legal experience or knowledge of how the sequence of events will take place. To make your court appearance less stressful, this post will provide an outline of what to expect and what ground rules you should follow when attending traffic court.
Inside the courtroom
On arrival at the courtroom, you should check in with the Prosecutor who will ask for your name to verify your matter and ask how you would like to proceed. You will then sit down and wait for your name to be called by the Prosecutor.
When you are called, you will approach to the front of the courtroom, and stand at the table in front of the clerk and the Justice. You identify yourself to the Justice. There will be an arraignment where the court clerk will read your charges to you, and you will decide if you want to plead guilty or not guilty.
Pleas must be made voluntary, and the Justice will often check to ensure that the defendant has been made an informed choice and is aware of the consequences that will arise from the plea.
There are specific rules when entering into a courthouse. Everyone attending court is expected to abide by the rules and follow the norms of behaviour by displaying appropriate etiquette in the courtroom. If you are unsure, signs are posted at the entrances. Some of them include:
Quiet in the courtroom
While the court is in session, everyone is expected to be quiet. Talking or other noise can cause a distraction to others and is considered disrespectful.
Although courts are open to the public, proceedings cannot be recorded by recording devices such as camcorders, video phones. Cellphones also have to be turned off, rather than using the “vibrate” mode. The vibration coming from cell phones can interfere with the court’s intercom system.
No food and beverages
No food or beverages are permitted in the courtroom as it can cause a distraction to others and cause a mess.
Show respect for the Justice
Ultimately, the Justice holds the absolute authority in the courtroom. When speaking to the Justice, ensure that you are standing up to show him or her respect.
If the justice is wearing a black robe with a red sash, he or she is a judge and should be addressed as “Your Honour.” If he or she is wearing a black robe with a green sash, that person is a justice of the peace and should be addressed as “Your Worship.”
Related: Understanding Small Claims Court
Every situation is different. Remember, you have a right to fight your traffic ticket. At Bulwark Legal Services, we provide free consultations. Send us a copy of your traffic ticket, and we will help you decide the right course of action to take. Contact us today.
Bulwark Legal Services – Fighting traffic tickets in Guelph, Kitchener, Brampton, Caldeon and more.
By Allyson Yang