Fines and Traffic Tickets

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does a Manitoba ticket look like?
  2. What options do I have when I get a ticket?
  3. How and where do I pay my fine or ticket?
  4. Can I pay my ticket immediately, or do I have to wait for the respond date?
  5. What do I do if I get a ticket with no fine amount  shown?
  6. Can I go to court myself or do I need a lawyer or agent to represent me?
  7. What happens if I don't respond by the date shown on the ticket?
  8. What is a default conviction?
  9. Can I still dispute a ticket even if I have a default conviction?
  10. Can I explain what happened even if I plead "guilty", and how will this help me?  
  11. What will happen to the merit points on my licence if I am convicted of a traffic offence?
  12. If I can't afford to pay the complete fine right now, what can I do?
  13. How do I plead "not guilty" to my ticket?
  14. Where will my trial take place?
  15. What happens if I miss my trial date?
  16. If I don’t agree with the court’s decision, can I appeal my conviction?
  17. What will happen if I do not pay my fines by the due date?
  18. What is a trial slip and why would I receive one?
  19. What happens in the courtroom?

1. What does a Manitoba ticket look like?

There are four tickets commonly used in Manitoba:

1) the regular ticket 

2) the photo enforcement ticket (photo radar)

3) the bylaw ticket and,

4) the electronically generated ticket.

The information on this website refers to these four tickets. To view them, follow the links below:

Regular Ticket
(PDF 38 Kb)

Photo Enforcement Ticket
(PDF 40Kb)

Bylaw Ticket
(PDF 29Kb)

Electronically Generated Ticket
(PDF 112Kb)

For a list of the most common offences the tickets are used for and fine amounts, please see the Brown Book. These tickets are issued by various law enforcement agencies.

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2. What options do I have when I get a ticket?

On or before the due date shown on your ticket, you must either:

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3. How and where do I pay my fine or ticket?

Tickets received in the province of Manitoba can be paid:

  • online
  • by mail – with a cheque or money order, payable to the Minister of Finance. Send it to the court address shown on your ticket. Make sure you:
    • enclose a copy of the ticket
    • write the ticket number on your cheque or money order
    • allow enough mailing time for the payment to get to the court office by the due date
    • do not send cash in the mail
  • in person – at any Manitoba court centre, including the Provincial Court – Summary Office at 373 Broadway, Winnipeg from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for holidays. The office on Broadway also has a drop box for use after hours.  All court centres accept cash, debit cards (Interac), Visa or MasterCard, money orders and cheques made payable to the Minister of Finance
  • by phone – (204-945-4673) 24 hrs. a day to pay by Visa or MasterCard. A fee is charged for using this telephone service

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4. Can I pay my ticket immediately, or do I have to wait until the respond date?

The respond date on the ticket allows time for the agency that issued it to send it to the court so it can be entered on to the court system. If you want to plead "guilty" and pay your ticket right away, you can go to any court office or mail in your payment along with your ticket. If you want to plead "guilty" by paying it online, you need to wait until the court has its own copy of your ticket in the system.

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5. What do I do if I get a ticket with no fine amount shown?

This means you have been charged with an offence that carries with it a range of fines. Your ticket must be reviewed by the court to decide the fine amount. This depends on the circumstances of the offence – what happened that resulted in you being charged.

To have your fine assessed, go to the Provincial Court – Summary Office at 373 Broadway in Winnipeg, or any rural court centre between the response dates indicated on your ticket. All court centres are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for holidays.

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6. Can I to go to court myself or do I need a lawyer or agent to represent me?

You can go to court on your own or have an agent go on your behalf. An agent is someone you give permission to represent you in court. It can be a friend, relative, business associate, lawyer or paid agent.  A paid agent represents people in court for a fee.

If you plead "not guilty" and want a lawyer or paid agent to represent you at your trial, get someone as soon as possible, as it will take some time to prepare your case. If you don't have a lawyer or agent by the trial date, the court may not give you the time to get one. In that case, you would have to represent yourself.

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7. What happens if I don’t respond by the date shown on the ticket?

If you do not respond by that date, a warrant can be issued for your arrest or you can receive a default conviction.

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8. What is a default conviction?

It means that you have been convicted without actually being in court (in your absence). You will receive a default conviction notice in the mail explaining your options and you will be charged a fee of $50 in addition to your fine.

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9. Can I still dispute a ticket even if I have a default conviction?

Yes. You can apply for a new hearing, called a Hearing De Novo, by the date shown on your default conviction notice. The notice explains the details of this process.

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10. Can I explain what happened even if I plead "guilty"?

You can plead "guilty with an explanation". Once you've entered a "guilty" plea, you can tell the court what happened. The Court will consider what you've said and can reduce your fine, if it feels your explanation is reasonable.

In the case of a photo enforcement ticket (photo radar):

The registered owner of the vehicle, whose name is on the ticket, is responsible for the fine.

  • If the owner of the vehicle goes to court, he or she can get a written statement explaining what happened from the driver and attach it to the ticket.
  • If the owner of the vehicle wasn't driving when the ticket was issued and wants the driver to go to court on their behalf, the owner can still plead “guilty with an explanation”. However, the driver must have written permission from the owner to act on their behalf and a written statement saying he or she is pleading "guilty".

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11. What will happen to the merit points on my licence if I am convicted of a traffic offence?

The court is not responsible for giving out merit or demerit points on your driver's licence. To find out that information, go to the Manitoba Public Insurance website.

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12. If I can't afford to pay the complete fine right now, what can I do?

If your ticket is not overdue:
Go to the nearest court centre and ask for time to pay your fine. You will be given at least 14 days. If you need more than 14 days, you may need to provide a reason.

If your ticket is overdue:
You may be referred to a collections officer to discuss your payment. For more information on overdue fines, click here.

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13. How do I plead "not guilty" to my ticket?

To plead "not guilty", you have two options:

  • Go to a court centre in person, between the dates printed on the “respond” section of your ticket, and enter your "not guilty" plea.
  • If you cannot come to court in person, sign the back of the ticket and check the box showing you want to plead “not guilty”. The ticket must be mailed to the court address that is in the "respond" box on the front of the ticket and be received by the court before the final due date. The court centre will mail you a notice with the trial date.

A trial date will be set for you to go to court at a later date. You must appear at the trial to plead your case or have an authorized agent represent you. If you do not show up, a warrant may be issued for your arrest or the trial may go on without you there.

In the case of a photo enforcement ticket (photo radar):

A "not guilty" plea must be made by the registered owner whose name is on the ticket. Even if the owner wasn't driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, the owner is responsible for dealing with the ticket.

A driver who is not the registered owner can go to court to represent the owner, but needs to have a written statement from the owner pleading "not guilty" and authorization from the owner to act on their behalf.

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14. Where will my trial take place?

Trial dates are scheduled in the court centre that is closest to where the offence happened. For example, if you received a ticket in Thompson, the trial would take place in Thompson (even if you live in Winnipeg).

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15. What happens if I miss my trial date?

If you miss your scheduled trial date a warrant could be issued for your arrest or the trial could go on without you being there. This is called an "ex parte” hearing. If you are found "guilty", you will receive an “ex parte” notice in the mail telling you the outcome of the trial.

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16. If I don’t agree with the court’s decision, can I appeal my conviction?

Yes. If you disagree with the decision after pleading "guilty" to a ticket, or after your trial, you may file a formal appeal in the Court of Queen's Bench within 30 days of the court decision. There is a filing fee. You will need to get a transcript of the trial. There is also a fee for the transcript.

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17. What will happen if I don’t pay my fines by the due date?

Several things will happen:

  • You will not be able to renew your driver's licence and/or your vehicle registration until the fine is paid.
  • The fine will be sent to a collection agency.
  • The fine will be listed with a credit reporting agency.

The following may also happen without advance notice:

  • Your wages or bank account may be garnished.
  • The sheriff may be sent to seize your personal property (ex: vehicle, electronic equipment, other valuable property).
  • A lien may be placed against your home or other property.
  • Your GST and income tax refunds may be redirected to pay your fine.
  • A warrant may be issued for your arrest.

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18. What is a trial slip and why would I receive one?

A trial slip, also called a trial notice, tells you a date has been set for trial and you must go to court on that date. You may receive a trial slip if you have:

  • pled "not guilty" and asked for a trial date or
  • been default convicted, pled "not guilty" and asked for a trial date (Hearing De Novo).

Note: If you don't attend court on the date set, you can still be found "guilty" even if you're not there.

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19. What happens in the courtroom?

Arrival in Court

  • You are expected to be in court on the date shown on the trial slip. You need to arrive at least 15 minutes before the check-in time. If an emergency comes up and you can't get to court on the date set, you must call the Crown Attorney's office as soon as possible, at (204-945-2852) in Winnipeg. Tell the receptionist the time and courtroom number for your trial, and you will be connected to the person handling your case.
  • When you come into the courtroom, you must let the Crown Attorney know you have arrived. The Crown Attorney will ask you how you plan to plead. Your options are "not guilty" or "guilty with an explanation".
  • The Crown Attorney will note that you are there and may have some documents for you. If you have documents concerning the case, you must bring them with you. The court will only consider documents that you've brought to the trial.
  • Before the trial gets started, you must:
    • show the Crown Attorney any documents you plan to use in your case
    • tell the Crown Attorney if you are going to be calling witnesses, because witnesses have to leave the room while others are testifying

Entering a plea

"Not guilty"
This means you did not do what you have been accused of doing. For example, you were driving within the speed limit; you were wearing your seatbelt.

Note: When you plead “not guilty,” you cannot stand up in court and say you did what the ticket said you did, but it wasn't your fault or you didn't deserve to get a ticket. The only time you can plead "not guilty” is when you believe the offence described on the ticket did not take place. For example, you were stopped on the highway for speeding, but you were watching your speedometer and believe you were driving within the speed limit.

"Guilty with an explanation"
This means you did what the ticket said you did, but you would like to explain the circumstances. For example, you were above the speed limit, but your speedometer was faulty and you have brought proof; you could not wear your seatbelt because of medical reasons and you have brought the medical certificate that proves this.

If you plead "guilty with an explanation", the Crown Attorney will first tell the court what you are accused of doing. You will then have the opportunity to give your explanation. The court may consider your explanation in its decision – but this does not necessarily mean you will be acquitted. After hearing all the evidence, the court will then tell you its decision.

At your trial
The Crown Attorney will present their witnesses first. The witnesses will be asked questions about the incident. After each witness has been questioned, you have the opportunity to ask your own questions, although you do not have to do so.

This is not the time for you to give your explanation. You are only allowed to ask the witness relevant questions. If you want to present documents, you must show them to the witnesses while they are on the stand. When the last witness has been called and the Crown Attorney has presented their documents, you may call witnesses you have brought with you.

When your witnesses are testifying, you will ask the questions first and then the Crown Attorney can ask your witnesses questions.

When your last witness is finished, or if you have none, you may choose to testify yourself, but you do not have to do so. The Crown Attorney may also ask you questions. Any documents you have brought should be presented to the court clerk while you are on the stand.

Make sure you ask all your questions and give all your information because you will not have another chance to speak. If you forget to ask something important or you forget to tell the court something and the case is closed, you do not get another chance to speak. Just as the Crown Attorney is not allowed to reopen their case if they forget something, an accused cannot reopen their case.

When you are finished, the court will give its decision, called a verdict. The court can decide anything from dismissing the charge to imposing the maximum penalty.

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