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Mailed traffic tickets, website cause court date confusion in Metro Vancouver

Last Updated Jun 22, 2020 at 12:05 pm PDT

FILE - Vancouver received complaints about too many drivers taking advantage of relaxed parking enforcement during the pandemic. (NEWS 1130) (Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)
Summary

There's some confusion about traffic court notices being sent during the pandemic

Letters have gone out telling people to appear in court, while the provincial court website says dates are suspended

A local lawyer says the issue is causing a lot of confusion

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Anyone who might have been taking some liberties with traffic rules during the pandemic might want to check their mail.

Reports suggest provincial court notices have been going out to drivers in the form of letters, advising them they have a court date for their tickets.

The letters say people have a court date for a traffic ticket, but the website says otherwise.

Vancouver lawyer Kyla Lee says the B.C. provincial court website has said all traffic court dates remain suspended until further notice.

“This is incredibly confusing for a lot people who don’t know whether they’re supposed to be showing up to court, and it puts people at risk for relying on the information on the B.C. provincial court website, which is supposed to be up to date, and potentially missing their traffic court date,” she explains.

Lee says it isn’t clear if the letter, or the website is the final say.

She also says this creates a challenge for those who might want to contest their ticket in court, if it’s even open.

“People are going to weight whether they really want to defeat the ticket against their health and safety without the information how traffic court is dealing with all the new requirements of bringing court back in the age of COVID.”

A failure to dispute a traffic ticket is considered an automatic guilty plea, meaning fines and points.

Lee says this situation creates a lot of uncertainty for those who would like to oppose a ticket, especially during COVID-19.

“Nobody’s being told whether they should be bringing witnesses at all. People often with traffic court, bring their family members with them because they can’t get childcare to cover the amount of time they’re going to be there,” she says.

Lee says people can still call the traffic court registry to see if they’re expected to show up on the date in the letters, which suggest traffic court will resume in July.

NEWS 1130 has reached out to the court about the matter.