You should prepare if you’re going to represent yourself in traffic court. (submitted)

You should prepare if you’re going to represent yourself in traffic court. (submitted)

Drivesmart: Your day in traffic court

Sit in on a morning or afternoon session as a spectator.

By Tim Schewe

“I’ll see you in court!”

This hollow threat often ended conversations at the roadside after a driver was issued a traffic ticket for a violation. I knew that few of them would actually carry out their intention and if they did, there would probably be no coherent defence made.

If you are really serious about defending yourself well, probably the best $25 (plus tax, of course!) and 30 minutes you can spend is by taking advantage of the Canadian Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service. This will help you decide if you want to represent yourself or hire the lawyer to defend you. Should you decide to manage your own defence you will very likely receive valuable advice.

You can learn a lot through the experience of others. Contact your local court registry and find out when traffic court is being held. It may even be possible to find out if the officer that issued your ticket will testify. Sit in on a morning or afternoon session as a spectator. On the day of your trial, you will already know what to expect.

This advice is valid until our provincial government replaces the traffic court system with an adjudication process. The progress of that began in 2012 with amendments to legislation and as far as I am aware, we are only now preparing to test e-ticketing in some areas of B.C.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca