I had a matter in a traffic court and I don’t think it was fair what happened. What can I do?
So you have had a traffic – or other regulatory offence – trial and a justice of the peace has made a finding that you were guilty of the offence(s) that you were charged with and you disagree with it. Is there anything you can do?
If you think you want to appeal, please contact us immediately. Delay in this area can mean that you may not be allowed to appeal at all.
YOU MUST APPEAL WITHIN 30 DAYS YOUR MATTER CONCLUDING.
You must file the appeal with the appropriate court WITHIN 30 DAYS to do so or risk never being allowed to do that. This is extremely important.
While you have 30 days from the conclusion of your case, you should consult with one of our lawyers immediately after the decision because there are steps that need to be taken.
If you want to appeal your case and you are outside of the 30 day window, please contact us immediately. In some circumstances, you may apply to a justice for permission to appeal even if you are outside the timeline.
CAN I OR SHOULD I DO MY OWN APPEAL?
You can, but you should not.
Appeals are complicated and have many rules. There are specific deadlines and requirements to order things and provide them to the court. The consequences of missing a deadline or not understanding the rules can have very drastic consequences. It can result in your appeal being disallowed without you even being allowed to argue about whether something different should happen.
It is recommended you consult with one of our lawyers immediately if you are considering appealing a decision.
WHO DO I APPEAL TO?
An appeal of any provincial offence, including traffic offences, occurs in the Court of Queen’s Bench.
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN I APPEAL?
Appeals of traffic matters happen for many reasons. Perhaps most often, people appeal being convicted in absence and having their application to set aside that conviction dismissed. This is an appeal where you ask a Queen’s Bench justice to review the reasons why your application to set aside your guilty plea was dismissed.
Other times, appeals can happen from findings of guilty after a trial. This kind of appeal is exactly like a normal conviction appeal discussed in our conviction appeal article. You may appeal the way the trial was conducted, decisions made by the trial Judge or unreasonable findings of fact. unreasonable.
Additionally, you are free to appeal the sentence imposed. This kind of appeal is exactly like a normal sentence appeal discussed in our sentence appeal article.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING AN APPEAL?
A traffic appeal is not a do over of the original matter. An appeal normally looks at the record that already exists. That would include the transcripts of the original matter and any exhibits that were filed such as pictures, video statements etc. That record is reviewed for mistakes that were potentially made by the judge or justice in how they trial was run, or in some rare cases, how your defence was conducted. Once that is done, a written legal argument is submitted to the justice or justices that will be deciding the appeal.
The Crown Prosecutors then get to submit their written legal argument and a date is set for oral arguments to be made.
At the oral hearing, your lawyer will go first and make argument. Argument generally is not about whether you were guilty or not, but about whether the judge or justice made mistakes that affected their decisions. Usually, there will be a back and forth discussion between your lawyer and the appeal justice or justices.
Then the Crown Prosecutor gets to make their argument.
Once everyone is done, the appeal justice or justices might take a short break and tell you what they have decided. However, it is more common for the justice or justices to say that they need time to make their decision.
It can take two or three months or even more time for a decision to be handed down.
Generally, a decision is handed down by faxing a copy of the decision to your lawyer and the Crown prosecutor. The normal course of action is for the decision to be published so that anyone can review it.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I WIN MY APPEAL?
What happens depends on what you appealed. If you are successful in appealing not being allowed to set aside your conviction in absence, the conviction will get set aside and your matter will be scheduled for trial. If it is an appeal of your conviction, you generally get a new trial. If it is an appeal of the sentence imposed, the appeal justice will generally conduct a re-sentencing of you and impose a new sentence. This could mean a different kind of sentence, a change in how long of a sentence you got, or conditions being changed.
HIRING AN APPEAL LAWYER
If you are considering an appeal, it is very important to speak a lawyer as soon as possible. At Pringle Chivers Sparks Teskey our lawyers are recognized for their experience conducting appeals and providing expert advice. Call our office today for your free consultation.