Automotive

Okay, lets be serious. Has anyone paid a parking ticket in Toronto?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 27th, 2010 1:59 am
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Jul 26, 2009
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greenmoon wrote:
Feb 11th, 2010 9:22 am
You make so little sense, it's funny. If I just pay my parking ticket, the chances of getting convicted are what? 100%. If I choose to dispute it, what are my chances of getting convicted? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it is more than the original 100%. So how exactly do the chances increase instead of decreasing? From 100% the only way to go is down.
Actually you're the one not making sense. There is never a 100% certainty of conviction at any trial and I never said there was. You keep saying that if you request to challenge the officer's evidence "there is a fairly good chance", your words exactly which clearly suggest a better than 50% chance, that the prosecutor will withdraw the matter and that simply is not true. You are implying that the officers and prosecutors are seldom prepared to proceed so they will just withdraw the matter to avoid embarrassment. The fact that you keep saying this just proves how little you actually know about the courts and how they operate. I have always maintained that if you request to challenge the officer's evidence, the matter will likely NOT be withdrawn as you keep insisting and, to use your own phrase again, "there is a fairly good chance" that if the officer is present to give testimony you WILL get convicted. I never said it was 100% certain you will be convicted, it's probably more like 90% certain. I have absolutely no problem with people exercising their right to challenge any ticket, that is the system I work in and it's a good one. My problem is people such as yourself giving bad advice to others based on one fluke experience you had that does not reflect what usually happens in court. Any offer by the prosecutors to reduce fines in exchange for a guilty plea is simply a way to dispense with the case in a quick and efficient manner. It is not because they feel they are not prepared and do not have a strong enough case to proceed to trial. Anybody who spends a lot of time in Provincial Offences court, including paralegals who represent those being charged, can tell you this.
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greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
Paying the fine (without any trial) is equivalent to a guilty plea.
I am well aware of that. But a guilty plea for parking tickets has no serious consequences like causing insurance rates to increase.
greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
Pleading guilty results in 100% certainty of conviction.
Yes but it also results in not paying 100% of the fine like losing at trial does. Say for the sake of argument you have a $100 parking ticket. If by pleading guilty you have a 100% chance of getting your fine cut in half to $50, wouldn't it be smarter to do that instead of taking your chances at trial and facing a 90% probability of losing and paying the full $100? Only a degenerate gambler or somebody who doesn't understand the system would take that longshot bet.
greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
I never "suggested" that the chance of winning is better than 50%, or any other number, simply that it's got to be better than 100%, wouldn't you agree?
Yes you did. You didn't give an exact percentage but when the weatherman says there's a "fairly good chance" it will rain today, I take my umbrella when I go out. If people took your advice, they would probably walk into court expecting that they will win and not have to pay anything and it will be a rude awakening when they get found guilty. You don't see a problem with that?
greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
Perhaps, "fairly good chance" is too vague of a statement. I admit that the wording was not the best on my part.
Finally.
greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
What upsets me most about the "sheepish" attitude of many people is when I come to file the notices of intention to appear, there are huge lines of people waiting to PAY to the damn parking tickets. It's such a complete waste of time. In Toronto there is a way to pay these fines over the phone and online. Sure there is a tiny surcharge on top of that, but it is worth less than 30 minutes of time of even the lowest paying jobs.

Why does it upset you so much? It isn't your money they are paying to the city.
greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
I witnessed a conversation recently between a clerk and a man who wanted to pay his ticket: "Do I have to wait in this line to pay or is there some other way?" - "You have to wait, there is no other way". Tell me, isn't that ridiculous?
I actually agree with you there. Toronto isn't very efficient when it comes to dealing with parking tickets, hence the backlog reported in the news a year and a half ago. In Mississauga we have First Attendance administrators at the courthouse with whom you can make an appointment to meet with at your own convenience. They will review the ticket, check the by-laws, read the officer's notes and hear your side of the story. If they feel it is appropriate, they have the authority to reduce the fine or even cancel the ticket, all without having to progress to a trial. It's a very efficient way of dealing with parking tickets and I've always said Toronto should do the same thing.
greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
My point is that if you show up there ready to wait 30 minutes or more just to pay the fine, you might as well just dispute it. Go ahead, take the prosecutor's deal for a reduced charge, it's still a substantially less than the original amount (especially those $100-$250 tickets for parking in prohibited areas). A court session for parking tickets takes 30 minutes, you'll be out even sooner unless you are the last person to go. So to people who say how they can't take a day off work to appear in court: you don't have to take a whole day off! 1 hour could be sufficient including travel time. If you can afford to take the time to pay the fine in person, you can afford the time to go to trial.

Am I making more sense now?
See my reply above. There is a solution. Toronto just needs to implement it.

greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
Speaking about paralegals, those people often just can't be bothered to actually "fight" the charge. Even if they get a reduced fine, they show it off as success. There aren't many paralegals going to parking ticket trials, but there are quite a few pretending to fight speeding tickets. I have seen so many just go for the reduced fine, with their clients leaving in smiles as if they just won a lottery, not realizing that not only could they have done the same thing alone with zero effort, but that their "reduced" fine will not reduce their insurance premium hike by even a cent.
Paralegals only do what their clients instruct them to do. If the client wants them to fight it, that's what they will do. However, all paralegals know what I've been saying all along, pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced fine is usually the best strategy for dealing with provincial offences tickets because losing at trial can be a lot more expensive. As for what people can do for themselves, I can't say I disagree but that doesn't mean that all paralegals are taking advantage of people's ignorance. For some more complicated or serious charges, hiring a professional is the smart move.
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Yes.

Trying to show kids not take ownership for their mistakes...not to look for a loophole.
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greenmoon wrote:
Feb 12th, 2010 3:39 pm
Paying the fine (without any trial) is equivalent to a guilty plea.

Pleading guilty results in 100% certainty of conviction.

I never "suggested" that the chance of winning is better than 50%, or any other number, simply that it's got to be better than 100%, wouldn't you agree?

Perhaps, "fairly good chance" is too vague of a statement. I admit that the wording was not the best on my part.

What upsets me most about the "sheepish" attitude of many people is when I come to file the notices of intention to appear, there are huge lines of people waiting to PAY to the damn parking tickets. It's such a complete waste of time. In Toronto there is a way to pay these fines over the phone and online. Sure there is a tiny surcharge on top of that, but it is worth less than 30 minutes of time of even the lowest paying jobs.

I witnessed a conversation recently between a clerk and a man who wanted to pay his ticket: "Do I have to wait in this line to pay or is there some other way?" - "You have to wait, there is no other way". Tell me, isn't that ridiculous?

My point is that if you show up there ready to wait 30 minutes or more just to pay the fine, you might as well just dispute it. Go ahead, take the prosecutor's deal for a reduced charge, it's still a substantially less than the original amount (especially those $100-$250 tickets for parking in prohibited areas). A court session for parking tickets takes 30 minutes, you'll be out even sooner unless you are the last person to go. So to people who say how they can't take a day off work to appear in court: you don't have to take a whole day off! 1 hour could be sufficient including travel time. If you can afford to take the time to pay the fine in person, you can afford the time to go to trial.

Am I making more sense now?


Speaking about paralegals, those people often just can't be bothered to actually "fight" the charge. Even if they get a reduced fine, they show it off as success. There aren't many paralegals going to parking ticket trials, but there are quite a few pretending to fight speeding tickets. I have seen so many just go for the reduced fine, with their clients leaving in smiles as if they just won a lottery, not realizing that not only could they have done the same thing alone with zero effort, but that their "reduced" fine will not reduce their insurance premium hike by even a cent.
As already mentioned above. Paralegals work for you. If you instruct them to conduct a trial then that's what they have to do. They are also experienced enough to inform a client on what their chances may be taking into account the Prosecutor, the J.P and the Officer. To some people the demerit points are actually more important then the conviction. People who drive for a living such as TTC, Truck Drivers etc.

There is no more 'WE WIN or it's FREE' type guarantees. This is actually a good thing because win never really meant win! Paralegals are now all on the same playing field and are regulated/licenced by the Law Society.

There aren't many Paralegals defending parking offences simply because there is no real need for them. Makes no sense to pay someone to go and try to save you money when you can do that all on your own.
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Here is a news story from the Toronto Sun site Dated February 12, 2009.

News Toronto & GTA
Parking tickets: Make 'em pay

City looks for ways to collect

By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief

A city committee has approved a crackdown on people who don’t pay their parking tickets.
Toronto staff has been told to take a look at the hard-nosed collecting habits of Hwy. 407 and to figure out why the plate-denial process is not being routinely used in cases of unpaid fines.
Other tactics, such as sending collection agencies after vehicle owners, armed with their names and addresses provided by the city, and chasing down out-of-province offenders are also under review.
But Councillor Michael Del Grande, a member of the audit committee, said he wonders why the city persists in handing out tickets that it knows it can’t collect on or that it shouldn’t collect on.
Parking enforcement routinely hands out tickets to delivery trucks even though it’s legal under provincial legislation for courier companies and the like to drop off goods, he said.
“If you ticketed nothing but delivery vehicles, all those tickets get thrown out,” Del Grande said. “Under the Highway Traffic Act, you’re allowed to load and unload.”
The city also slaps yellow paper down on the windshields of cars with out-of-province licence plates which are nearly impossible to pursue.
In 2008, the city cancelled 425,000 parking tags valued at more than $18 million.
About 60% of fines are collected in the year the ticket is issued, and 20% in subsequent years.
Toronto has done well overall from ticket revenues, though.
In 1998, the city was issuing 2.6 million tags a year valued at $63 million.
There were 2.9 million tickets issued in 2008 with a value of more than $110 million — a 75% increase in a decade.
The parking ticket matter still needs to go before city council for approval.


FYI there are a couple of inaccuracies in the story that need to be clarified.

First, the plate denial option is used to collect outstanding fines when any of the vehicles in question are registered in Ontario. Unfortunately it can't be done for out of province plates which account for a large percentage of those who do not pay their fines. It isn't the case that this option is only being used occasionally like the article suggests.

Second, Councillor Del Grande is not entirely correct when he says it is legal for delivery trucks to park in No Parking zones, etc when they make deliveries. It IS legal for anyone, including delivery people, to actively engage in the loading or unloading of passengers or merchandise in No Parking zones, but that's all. They cannot leave their vehicles unattended while they go into a building with said passengers or merchandise. That's when the parking violation occurs. So any ticket issued to an unattended delivery vehicle is perfectly legitimate under the current by-law and the HTA. If the city chooses to cancel those tickets they are doing so as a courtesy, not because the ticket was issued in error. That being said I rarely issue tags to delivery vehicles unless they are causing issues with traffic or are blocking a fire route.
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another interesting post:

http://fightyourtickets.ca/toronto-want ... motorists/
The City of Toronto’s Auditor General, Mr. Jeffrey Griffiths, C.A., C.F.E. made a number of recommendations to the City of Toronto’s City Council with respect to Toronto’s 2010 Operating Budget . The City of Toronto faces a shortfall of approximately half a billion dollars in revenue and is attempting to find additional monies by carefully reviewing it operations and untapped sources of revenue.

In his November, 2009, released in a report on January 27, 2010 report Toronto’s Auditor General noted several facts and made many recommendations designed to generate the maximum revenue for the City, at the expense of motorists.

Here are some of his observations and recommendations:

Value of Parking Tickets

The Auditor concluded that the annual value of parking tickets issued in Toronto is about $110 million.

He also noted that the value of parking tickets have increased 75% from 1998 to 2008. In 1998, the City issued 2.6 million parking tags valued at $63 million. Since that time, the number of parking tags issued has increased from 2.6 million to 2.9 million or 12 per cent. The value of parking tags issued in 2008 exceeded $110 million, an increase of 75 per cent from 1998.

Some of the Reasons why Parking Tickets are Cancelled:

In 2008 the City of Toronto issued 2.9 million parking tickets and cancelled 425,000 of those parking tickets, potentially valued at over 18 million dollars in 2008. The City of Toronto staff cancel 15% of parking tickets issued for various reasons.
Various reasons why parking tickets are cancelled:
# The City must cancel parking tickets that are issued, but given to the vehicle operator or not placed on the motor vehicle windshield. Due to legislative requirements, the City cannot mail the ticket to the registered vehicle owner’s home. In 2008, the City lost a potential of approximately 5 million dollars (by cancelling 111,000 parking tickets), due to vehicles driving away, before the parking ticket could be placed on their windshield or hand delivered to the operator of the vehicle.In 2007, much like the following year, the City lost a potential $4.53 million dollars (119,000 parking tickets), due to “drive-away” vehicles that couldn’t be ticketed by parking enforcement officers. In the last decade, the City of Toronto has twice approached the Province of Ontario, to amend the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to allow the City to send parking tickets, that could not be served upon the operator or vehicle, to the registered vehicle owner’s home, but both times the request has been made (in 1999 and 2002), the Province has not amended the legislation.

The Auditor urged the City of Toronto to mail tickets to drive-away motorists, as is the current practice in cities such as Vancouver and Edmonton. The Province of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General is signalling that they would be open to working with the municipalities and amending the laws to allow parking authorities to mail parking tickets to the registered vehicle owner’s home.

What the Auditor’s report stated “Depending on the success of negotiations with the Province and other third parties, there are opportunities to increase revenues in the administration of parking tags. On a conservative basis assuming that the number of drive-aways could be reduced by 50 per cent, the potential of increased revenues to a level of over $2.5 million is likely attainable.”
# The City also cancels parking tags issued to out-of-province vehicles because owner address information is not available. In 2008, the City cancelled 93,000 tags exceeding $4 million for vehicles registered outside of Ontario. On average, 85 per cent of parking tags issued to out-of-province vehicles remain unpaid and are subsequently cancelled. This is a long outstanding issue at the City of Toronto. If reciprocal agreements do not exist with other Provinces and Territories and States, the free exchange of information (relating to the registered owner and his/her residential address) cannot take place and attempts to collect on unpaid parking tickets is futile and unproductive.In 2007, in an effort to collect parking tags issued to out-of-province vehicles, the City initiated a pilot project with several American states including New York, Pennsylvania, Maine and Ohio. The pilot project provided for an exchange of vehicle-owner address information. In 2008, City management determined that the project was not cost effective due to the significant administrative work and cost in collecting the necessary information.

In April 2009, Council approved the discontinuation of the out-of-province parking ticket collection process because the cost of the program exceeded revenues realized. Council also approved that the Province of Ontario be requested to continue negotiation of data transfer and data exchange agreements by the Province of Ontario with other provincial and state governments as this remains an effective and viable option. The report tabled in November 2009 indicates that the City will continue to work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Big 12 Police Services Boards in Canada in order to secure support for data-exchange agreements with other jurisdictions.

What the Auditor’s report stated “if the City were able to recover 25 per cent of out-of-province tags a further $1 million in revenue would be possible.” While we support these initiatives, the City should also consider reviewing best practices in other organizations including the collection methods used by 407 International Inc., the company that manages the operation of the 407 Highway in connection with out-of-province road toll charges. During our discussions with management of 407 International Inc., we were advised that 407 International Inc. has entered into various agreements with organizations such as the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators in Canada and in the United States with various vehicle licensing authorities to obtain vehicle-owner address information. 407 International Inc. uses this information to mail toll charge fees to out-of-province drivers. We have not been able to determine the success rate of this initiative as this information is not available to the public. 407 International Inc. has an arrangement with the Ministry of Transportation to share registered plate owner information with collection agencies for collecting outstanding road toll charges. The City does not have such an agreement with the Ministry.
In addition, we were further advised that 407 International Inc. uses collection agencies to collect revenue for out-of-province vehicles. The minimum threshold for the collection of revenue is $30, which is in the range of the City’s average parking tag amount.”

Ontario’s privately owned highway, Highway 407, has been subjected to heavy criticism, given its collection methods and practices and overbilling and the fact that it is private but has agreements within the government, normally reserved for other forms of government.
# First appearance facilities accept payments, process trial requests and address parking tag disputes.
In 2008, of the 425,000 cancellations, the City’s “discretionary cancellations” at first appearance facilities totalled 12,000 parking tags valued at over $500,000. These cancellations are categorized as “discretionary” because City staff are allowed to exercise a degree of judgement in cancelling parking tags. Examples in which tags are cancelled relate to bylaw exemptions, missing signs, educating first time offenders and medical emergencies.
The Revenue Services Division has developed guidelines to waive fines in this cancellation category. However, current policies and procedures do not adequately specify the documentation requirements to support the cancellation. In some cases, when cancelling parking tags certain staff obtain documentation to support the offender’s claim while others cancel tags without requiring documentation.

The Good News:
Motor Vehicle Operators are beginning to understand that the only way to win their parking tickets is to fight their tickets.
In his report, the Auditor noted that the City of Toronto staff members review pre-court filing documents for accuracy prior to submission to Court Services. The number of trial requests has increased over the past several years. For example, in 2006, 125,000 parking tags resulted in trial requests, while in 2008, requests for trial almost doubled to approximately 248,000. This means that motorists are beginning to exercise their rights and contest the City’s parking tickets and more tickets are being won.
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fantom wrote:
Feb 15th, 2010 12:52 am
another interesting post:

http://fightyourtickets.ca/toronto-want ... motorists/
An interesting article. One thing I'd like to point out though is that tickets do not get canceled if they are served to a vehicle someplace other than on the windshield. A parking ticket only needs to be served to a conspicuous location on the vehicle where the driver will find it. You cannot avoid receiving a parking ticket by simply removing your wiper blades as one poster suggested in another thread. If for whatever reason we cannot serve it on the windshield, we have other options that are perfectly legal.
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QTheNukes wrote:
Feb 11th, 2010 11:55 am
That is right, asked for 10 court dates in the last year and a bit. Just received two court dates in the last two weeks for $30.00 tickets from last January, just over a year old. I work on both dates, so it looks like I am paying...
I'm no expert (nor is this legal advice), but these do sound like unreasonable delays, which the Charter says is not okay.
But do the research for yourself!
It's likely not worth your time anyway.
Out of curiosity, how far away are the court dates themselves?

According to the aforementioned article, if one drives away before being presented with the ticket, the ticket isn't validly served? This would be very hard to prove however.
To make matters even more organized, when you go to file a notice of intention to appear in court, grab a stack of those notices with you home. This way, next time you have a stack of tickets to dispute, you can pre-fill them at home (or make your kid brother do it for you) and not have to fill them out on the spot. I learned that one after filling out 15 notices in one go - my hand hurt like hell by the end of that exercise.
One parking ticket "We-charge-$10-and-file-for-court-dates-on-your-behalf" website gives a $1 discount for sending in a scan of your ticket. Perhaps he/she just staples it to the notice? My understanding is that forms are just templates, as long as you hand in a form with the right information with it, it's valid.
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