Early Resolution vs. Trial

If you have received a traffic ticket, you should be weighing your options and the important decision to pursue an early resolution meeting or take the case to trial. Each option has its advantages, disadvantages and potential outcomes. 


Early Resolution Meeting

An early resolution meeting is a less formal discussion compared to a trial, providing an opportunity to discuss your case with a prosecutor without the presence of a judicial official or the officer who issued the ticket.

Key Considerations:

  • No Formal Evidence or Witnesses: Unlike a trial, early resolution meetings don’t involve presenting evidence or witness testimonies. The officer who issued the ticket is not present.
  • Discussion with the Prosecutor: The meeting allows for a discussion about the incident’s circumstances, potentially leading to a negotiation on the outcome.
  • Possibility of Reduced Penalties: Often, these meetings can result in an offer from the prosecutor, such as a reduction in fines or the charge being downgraded to a lesser offense.



  • Saves Time and Resources: Opting for an early resolution can speed up the resolution of your case, saving time and potentially reducing any legal costs.
  • Flexibility: You retain the right to proceed to trial if the early resolution meeting doesn’t result in a satisfactory outcome – you still have the option.



Choosing to take your case to trial means preparing for a more formal legal process, where evidence and witness testimonies play an important role in determining the outcome of your case.

Key Considerations:

  • Full Disclosure and Evidence Presentation: Trials involve a thorough examination of all evidence, possibly including witness testimonies and cross examinations.
  • Presence of Judicial Officials: A judge or justice of the peace presides over the trial, evaluating the evidence and arguments presented by both sides.
  • Opportunity to Raise Doubt: The defence’s objective is to introduce reasonable doubt regarding the charges, which can lead to a dismissal of the case.



  • Potential for Complete Dismissal: Successfully raising reasonable doubt can result in the case being dismissed, as if the charge never existed.
  • Fair Assessment: A trial provides a formal setting for your case to be heard and judged based on its merits, with a judicial official making the final decision.


Making the Right Choice

Deciding between an early resolution meeting and a trial depends on various factors, including the specifics of your case, the potential consequences of a conviction, and your personal circumstances. Consulting with a legal professional experienced in traffic law can provide you with the guidance you need and the best path forward.


Seeking Legal Advice

OTD Legal has a deep understanding of Ontario’s traffic laws, offering advice and representation whether you’re considering an early resolution or preparing for trial. Our team is dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.


Contact OTD Legal for a free consultation to discuss your options and how we can assist you in making an informed decision.


Video Transcription:

Early resolution versus trial option. I’ll first tell you what an early resolution meeting is. It’s often in these cases called the first step. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up any rights to trial. It is a, a meeting with the prosecutor one in which the evidence is not there and in most cases that means the officer is not present.

There is no evidence that’s heard and there is no judicial official, no judge, no justice of the peace that will be listening to the case and weighing the pros and cons. There will be some mild discussions about maybe what happened, maybe what didn’t happen. And, and in those cases, sometimes you will be offered some sort of a incentive to plea, maybe a reduction in a fine or maybe even a lesser offense. That is what an ER looks like, or an early resolution meeting. A trial is very different. It’s set for trial, and at that time everyone would be there. So the investigating officers would be there full disclosure obviously would be there.

It would be live in a courtroom where you would be in front of a justice of the peace, or a judge, and at that point in time, witnesses would be called, witnesses would be cross examined. Evidence would be disputed. Arguments would be raised. The goal of the defense is to raise a doubt. And if it’s accepted by the court at that time that it’s a reasonable doubt, if that happens, then what happens to the case is it becomes dismissed.

It’s like it never existed. So that is the difference between an ER and a trial.

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