Provincial Offence Appeal Lawyer Ottawa • Provincial Offence Appeal Lawyer Toronto • POA Appeal Lawyer Cornwall

What is a Provincial Offence Appeal

Provincial offence convictions are non-criminal contraventions of provincial legislation like the Highway Traffic Act. Speeding is probably the most common provincial offence in Ontario.

There are two methods of contesting a provincial offence conviction:

  1. asking for a reopening because you didn't know about or were prevented from attending the trial;
  2. filing an appeal because you were involved in a trial but believe you were unjustly convicted.

Why Appeal a Provincial Offence

Convictions for some provincial offences can have serious consequences, especially if you have a prior record for similar offences. You might even lose your driving privileges. 

How to Appeal a Provincial Offence

Provincial offence appeals go before a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, which will usually be at a different courthouse than the place that heard your provincial offence trial. Appeals are often heard once a month, depending on the jurisdiction. There are four main steps to provincial offence appeals.

1. Develop viable grounds of appeal

You can't appeal simply because you don't like or disagree with the trial judgment. You need to cite significant errors of fact and law in order to stand a chance of a higher court overturning a conviction. Issues like whether or not a trial witness should have been believed are usually left by higher courts to the discretion of the trial justice because it is that justice who saw the witnesses in person, so you're unlikely to win on that basis.

You may want to consider hiring a lawyer to do your appeal because appeals are much more legalistic than factual trials. A lawyer may be able to give you a reasonable "block fee" in order to do the appeal, as provincial offence appeal are much simpler to prepare and argue than higher court appeals. 

2. Fill out the notice of appeal form and file it with the court

There is no fee to file a POA appeal, and the court will even serve it for you on the prosecutor. You'll need to prove you've ordered the transcript of the trial proceedings from a court reporter (and paid for them), as appeals are based on transcripts of oral evidence and submissions, and copies of the documentary exhibits filed at trial.

3. The court will eventually give you a date to argue you appeal

You'll have a deadline before the hearing by which you need to file your written argument and authorities with the court and serve them on the prosecutor. While filing written submissions isn't mandatory, putting arguments in writing for the court will make winning your appeal much easier. 

4. Show up and argue your appeal

Provincial offence appeal hearings are pretty quick. It might only take 10 or 20 minutes to hear an appeal. You'll be given a chance to verbally state your case to the judge, the judge might ask you questions, and then the prosecutor will have an opportunity to respond. The judge might decide the appeal immediately, or might reserve judgment to be released orally or in writing at a later time. 

If you don't like the result of an provincial offence appeal, you do have a chance of appealing the appeal to the Superior Court of Justice.