If you break a rule of your city or the province, you have committed what the law calls an “offence”.
Examples of Offences
Here are examples:
- You are in a municipal park at night after it closes.
- You didn’t stop at a red light.
- You're in a bar but are not yet 18 years old.
If you commit an offence while you are in a vehicle, a police officer will ask you to pull your car over to the side of the road. The police officer will also ask you to identify yourself. To respect the law, you must do this.
Committing an Offence: Same as a Crime?
Most common offences are not crimes. If your act isn’t considered a crime, you won’t be called before a court, and you won’t have a criminal record.
Statement of Offence
If you are 14 or older, you can be given a ticket or fine, officially called a “statement of offence”. A copy of the statement of offence will be sent to your parents.
The statement of offence includes information like
- the law or the by-law you violated,
- what happened, and
- the amount of money you have to pay.
The amount of money depends on the type of offence.
Can you contest a ticket?
Yes, you can plead not guilty if you don’t think you did what the police officer says you did. You must contest the ticket within 30 days. A judge will listen to your version of events, and the officer’s version, before making a decision.
Usually, the document the officer gives you will have information about how to contest the ticket. Read our article Contesting a Ticket to learn more.
Trouble Paying a Ticket or Fine?
You can contact the Bureau des infractions et amendes (the Quebec offences and fines bureau). You may be able to do community service instead of paying the fine.
Important! Don’t ignore your ticket or fine. If you decide not to pay or contest your ticket, there will be consequences. The judge can make a decision about your ticket without you.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.