NOTICE OF HEARING
After your not guilty plea has been entered, the court office will send you a notice by mail indicating the date, time and place of your hearing.
The disclosure of evidence (offence report, SAAQ attestation, etc.) will accompany your notice of hearing.
If you are unable to attend your hearing, you must request a postponement. Be sure to send this request to the prosecutor by fax or e-mail at least 5 working days before the hearing.
ABSENT AT TRIAL
If you do not show up for your hearing, the trial will take place in your absence. The judge will render a default judgment and you will be found guilty.
You will receive a Notice of Judgment and you will be required to pay the fine and any applicable costs. See the Judgment in Municipal Court section for the next steps.
If there is reasonable cause for your absence, you may apply for a motion to set aside the judgment.
PREPARATION FOR YOUR HEARING
At your hearing, you have the choice to be represented by a lawyer or to act alone.
SUMMONING A WITNESS
If you wish to have the police officer or the person signing the offence report and/or your own witnesses present, please contact the court clerk in writing at least 10 working days before your hearing.
If you have photos, video or audio evidence to present at your hearing, you must have them printed or you must file a USB key containing only your evidence. This evidence will be kept in the court file for a period of 30 days after the judge’s decision. You may request that this evidence be returned to you after this period.
SUMMONS TO APPEAR AS WITNESS
A subpoena is a document in which a judge orders you to be present to give testimony. This means that you are required to appear in court. The court office sends you this document that tells you the date, time and place where you must appear.
You must be properly dressed. Please refer to the page on Court Decorum and Conduct.
If you wish to present photos, video or audio evidence during your testimony, you must have them printed out or you must leave a USB key containing only your evidence. This evidence will be kept in the court file for a period of 30 days after the judge’s decision. You may request that this evidence be returned to you after this period.
If there is a serious reason why you cannot be present on the date of the hearing, you must contact the court without delay.
COURSE OF THE TESTIMONY
When you are called to the witness stand, the clerk will swear you in by affirmation. You will be identified by your first and last name, address, date of birth and occupation.
The prosecution, the defendant and even the judge will be able to question you about the facts of the case. When your testimony is completed, you may return to your seat or leave the courtroom with the judge’s permission.
FINANCIAL COMPENSATION FOR TESTIFYING
Your employer must allow you to take time off work to testify. If your employer does not provide compensation while you are in court, you may be eligible for compensation. The court clerk will determine your eligibility.
REQUEST FOR POSTPONEMENT OF HEARING
If you are unable to attend your hearing, you may request a postponement. If your request is accepted, you will be called for a new date.
You must fax or email your request to the prosecutor at least 5 business days before the hearing:
- By email : firstname.lastname@example.org
- By fax : 819 827-5712
Your application must contain the following information:
- Last name and First name
- Case number
- Reason for your absence
- Your non-availability dates, if any
If your application is received after the 5-day deadline, you will need to fax or email your application to the judge. The clerk will inform you of the judge’s decision.
For all requests for remission, a fee will be applied to your case. These fees are provided for in the judicial tariff in criminal matters.
If your request is denied and you do not show up for your hearing, a default judgment may be rendered against you. Please consult the recourses available to you, if any.
The Municipal Court administers tickets issued under municipal by-laws and the Highway Safety Code. Once you enter a plea of not guilty, court proceedings are initiated.
Before you go to court, please refer to the Court Conduct and Decorum page. You must arrive a few minutes before your hearing.
THE ROLE OF A JUDGE
The judge hears the parties and is responsible for the proper conduct of the trial. He decides disputes about the law and considers the facts of the case. The judge must be impartial and independent at all times. The judge applies the law and rules of procedure equally to all parties.
The judge must treat the parties fairly and not favour one or the other. If you are alone in court, the judge will explain the process and the role of each party. He or she is not an advisor or personal guide to any of the parties. If you are acting alone, you should not rely on the judge’s advice to help you during the trial.
At any time during the trial, the judge may ask questions if he or she needs clarification of the facts.
PROCEEDINGS DURING A TRIAL
- Prosecuting Party: The prosecuting attorney will present his or her evidence first by filing the statement of facts, the offense report, and any other relevant documents. The prosecutor may call witnesses, if necessary. When he has finished questioning them, you may cross-examine them.
- Defendant: When the prosecutor has finished giving evidence, you will be called to testify. The clerk will ask you to identify yourself and you will be sworn in by affirmation. You will be able to present your defence, call witnesses and produce documents or other exhibits if necessary. The prosecutor may cross-examine you and your witnesses.
- Argument: The prosecutor will present his or her arguments. You may not interrupt the prosecutor during his or her argument. When he or she has finished, you may comment and state your point of view.
- Decision: The judge will render his decision immediately. The judge may also postpone his or her decision to a later date in order to review the entire trial. The judge may acquit or find you guilty.
- At any time during the trial, the judge may ask questions if he or she needs clarification of the facts.
For more information, we invite you to consult the following links:
- Association québécoise des avocates et avocats de la défense
- Barreau du Québec
- Bureau des infractions et des amendes
- Centres de justice de proximité du Québec
- Chambre des huissiers de justice du Québec
- Commission des services juridiques
- Éducaloi (pour informations générales sur la loi)
- Liste des cours municipales du Québec
- Ministère de la Justice du Canada
- Ministère de la Justice du Québec
- Seul devant la cour en matière criminelle et pénale (guide d’aide)
- Site du ministère de la Justice du Québec (pour les frais judiciaires)
- Signets du juriste québécois
- Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ)