Over 2 million people get tickets each year in Alberta. However, not everyone who receives a ticket is found guilty. The same applies to you.
Before defending a careless driving charge, you must understand the charge to fight a careless driving ticket in Alberta. Find out in this article what it legally means to drive carelessly and know the jurisdiction under which the ticket has been issued.
By the end of the discussion, you will understand how to contest a careless driving charge.
What is the Traffic Safety Act for Careless Driving Ticket Alberta?
Since you’ve got a ticket, you’re charged under Alberta Traffic Safety Act. This legislation promotes safety on Alberta’s highways, including sidewalks, roads, streets, bridges, or any other passages the public is permitted and entitled to use.
It states in the act for Careless driving Alberta section 115 (1) that you get this particular ticket for two reasons, as follows—
- Not paying adequate care and attention while driving
- Not having enough consideration for the public using highways while driving
While impaired driving is expected, this act aims to determine if you acted as an ordinary, reasonable, or fairly sensible person while steering your motor vehicle.
One important thing you must know here is that you might not have just a ticket. This means there’re careless driving Alberta demerits as well. Check the following section for more information.
What are the Penalties for Careless Driving Charges in Alberta?
Here’s the overview of the available penalties if you’re found guilty.
- 6 Demerit points
- A fine between $400 to $2000
- A 3 months driving ban
- A maximum 6 months prison term
What to Do When You Get a Careless Driving Ticket?
If you’re wondering what else one could do other than fight the charge, go through this section. And if you’re sure you want to defend the charge, jump over to the next section.
When one is charged for careless driving with a ticket and a fine, they’re expected to do one of the three things mentioned below.
- Admit guilt to the accusation
- Meet with the prosecutor, explain the circumstances, and enter a guilty plea.
- To avoid demerit points and higher insurance costs, contest the ticket.
Want to go for option 3? The next part contains suggestions for that.
5 Tips for Fighting Careless Driving Ticket Alberta
To fight a careless driving ticket charge, you must go to court. But you can’t just appear in court anytime your wish. Instead, do these—
1. Set or find a trial date
The first thing you are supposed to do is get a trial date.
You’ll find the trial date right on the ticket. So, check it first. If you can see a trial date in the details, all you need to do is to appear in court that day.
But you might not get a trial date. In that circumstance, you’ll have to take a few steps to get a trial date. And there’ll be instructions on the ticket for fixing a trial date.
2. Find out what you are charged with
Once you complete the first step, you need to know the details of your charges. In other words, what is the law saying about your charge?
By that, you’ll be well informed about your case. Also, this is one of the important steps you need to take to prepare yourself to defy the charge in court.
The earlier sections of this blog contain details on the Traffic Act, charges, and penalties for careless driving.
3. Get a copy of the police report
You must review the incident’s police report to assess the officer’s statement of the incident. This is important since the statement will miss specifics regarding what occurred. So, it’s a good chance to put together your part of the story.
When you get the police report, read it carefully and note any information you consider inappropriate or should be omitted.
For instance, the police claimed that you suddenly changed lanes. However, you might have to abruptly cut the lane due to a tree branch, which is significant enough to be stated in the report.
How should a traffic ticket be collected? To obtain a police report on your situation, you must go to your city’s police station.
4. Contact the witnesses if there are any
Any witnesses you think can help your case, speak with them. You can visit the place you have broken the traffic rule. Next, try to contact any witnesses you think to prove your innocence.
People won’t come to your door to help you with the case. Therefore, you need to reach them and request them to help you. Then, if what they’ve seen is accurate, you have to issue a subpoena (court order) for them to appear in court for your case.
5. Collect as much evidence as possible
You’ll have to provide enough evidence to back your claim. For example, in the area where the incident took place, there could be CCTVs. Collect the CCTV footage.
Additionally, you can collect video coverage from patrol cars as well. But not all of them have it. However, give it a try because you don’t want to accept the allegation, and you need to try your best to prove you’re innocent.
If the video footages show as you expect, you want to utilize the evidence. However, if the recording shows you are at fault, that’s not helpful for your course.
What Happens on the Day of the Trial?
You, the witnesses, and the evidence need to present in court. The police who charged you for careless driving need to be in court too. Next, you’ll be called at the time to testify, and you need to explain what happened precisely.
Alongside the rest of the preparation, you must prepare questions you want the police officer to ask. This is the tricky part. So, you must prepare in advance.
Furthermore, the police might address the court if you need to prepare more questions for the cross-examination. And if the office doesn’t show up, your case will likely be dismissed.
Final suggestion: Take a Lawyer’s Case to Handle Your Case
There’re many things you’re required to do to face the court and prove your innocence. If you don’t prepare properly, you’ll be found guilty. Besides, you aren’t entirely familiar with the law and tactics to support your claim. To prevent that from happening, seek help from a personal lawyer in Alberta to win the case.