Disputing a Ticket
I've been issued a municipal ticket, what options do I have?
You can either pay or dispute the ticket. Payments and Notices of Dispute for tickets are due no later than 14 days after the date of issue. If you fail to submit your payment or Notice of Dispute within 14 days you will be deemed convicted and the fine will be imposed.
How do I pay?
Please do not send cash through the mail. You can either mail in your payment or deliver it in person. To pay by mail, send your cheque or money order, payable to the Municipality of North Cowichan, to the following address:
Municipality of North Cowichan
PO Box 278
Duncan, BC V9L 3X4
Payment can also be made in person on weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm at the municipal hall, located at 7030 Trans Canada Highway, or by using the convenient 24 hour drop box located at the front entrance of the municipal hall.
If I pay by mail or drop box, what information must I include?
Your payment must be accompanied by either a copy of the ticket or a note with the following information: ticket number, full name, address, offence and violation date. If you fail to include this information, the payment may not be credited to you and the fine will remain outstanding.
If I pay the fine, am I considered guilty?
Yes. Paying the fine is considered a guilty plea to the offence on the ticket.
How do I dispute the ticket?
If you disagree with the allegation shown on the front of the ticket or the prescribed fine, you may file a Notice of Dispute with North Cowichan within 14 days of being served with the ticket.
What if I am unable to dispute my ticket prior to the deadline?
If, through no fault of your own, you have not been able to file the Notice of Dispute prior to the Respond Period, you may apply to a Justice of the Peace to dispute the allegation or the fine, if not more than 30 days has passed since you became aware of the conviction. This can be done at the Provincial Court Registry.
What happens after my notice of dispute is recorded?
You will receive notice in the mail from the Provincial Court Registry or be given a Summons advising you of the time and location of your trial.
What happens if I do not attend the trial?
If you do not appear in court on the specified date and time, the ticket may be treated as undisputed or a Bench Warrant could be issued for your arrest.
How do I prepare for the trial?
You need to bring any evidence required to prove your case. Usually all that is required is your testimony. If needed, evidence can be presented by other means such as the use of documents, photos, or witnesses. If you have never been to court before, it's a good idea to go to another trial before the one you are scheduled for to see what happens.
The day of the trial
- You may want to bring someone with you for support.
- Your name should be posted outside the courtroom door where the trial will be heard.
- It would be advisable to speak with the person prosecuting the case before it starts if you have not already done so.
- You can wait for the trial to be called in the courtroom or in the area outside the door.
- While waiting you should not talk about the evidence to be given with other witnesses. This could be grounds for a mistrial.
- In Provincial Court, you should address the Judge as "Your Honour".
- When giving evidence or answering questions during the trial, take your time and think before you speak. If you do not understand the process or a question, ask the Judge to have it repeated or explained to you.
- Once the trial begins, the Justice will read the charge and you will be asked if you plead guilty or not guilty.
- If you plead guilty, the Justice convicts and passes sentence.
- If you plead not guilty, the Justice proceeds to hear the trial.