11/06/2014 06:00 EST | Updated 01/06/2015 05:59 EST

Parking Ticket Issued Nine Months Late Rare, But Legal

Almost everyone who drives in Montreal has a story about a parking ticket they think they do not deserve. 

But an Anjou woman was shocked when she received a parking ticket in the mail, nearly nine months after the alleged violation. 

On January 30, Monica MacLellan found a ticket on her car, which she had parked in front of her home. 

The ticket had information about the location, the make and model of the vehicle, but had no indication of what parking bylaw had been violated. 

She pleaded not guilty to the ticket, noting on the back that the nature of the infraction was not indicated. 

"I didn't hear from them in ages and, in fact, a couple of times we said, 'Well, I guess it's gone in the garbage,'" MacLellan said.

Nearly nine months later, an XpressPost envelope was delivered to her house, containing a new parking ticket.

This second ticket had all the same information as the initial ticket MacLellan had received nearly nine months earlier -- except this ticket had the infraction checked off. 

She was accused of having violated an Anjou bylaw which prohibits parking on a street for more than 72 consecutive hours. 

'It just doesn't make sense'

MacLellan was shocked and angry. She says she was not aware of the bylaw, but is more annoyed by how long it took to deliver the ticket. 

"I wouldn't have minded if it was a month or even two months, but to wait nine months before they give a ticket, it just doesn't make sense," she said.

"How do they know if their agent has made a mistake. Does she remember every ticket she gives out?"

Montreal police say issuing a ticket months after an infraction is rare, but perfectly legal. 

"Basically the officer has a year to go back and issue a ticket to a person who was in infraction," says Sgt. Laurent Gingras of the Montreal police. 

Gingras says police officers and parking agents often keep notes when they issue tickets, so it would be possible that the agent who issued the original ticket had a record of the infraction, even if it was not indicated on the ticket. 

But a former Crown prosecutor who now helps people fight tickets says MacLellan may still have a case.

"In my opinion, the second ticket should not have been issued in that way. It should have been an amendment made to the first ticket," argues Avi Levy of Ticket 911. 

"Once you plead not guilty, the judicial process on that ticket is already started. Normally you should not just be cancelling that ticket and reissuing another one."

Monica MacLellan has pleaded not guilty to the second ticket and is awaiting her day in court. 

"As far as I am concerned, your employee made a boo boo," she said. 

"That's not my problem."

CBC Montreal Investigates

Do you have a story you think CBC Montreal's investigative team should look into?

Leave a message on our confidential tipline, send us an email or contact us on Twitter. 

Tipline: 514-597-5155


Twitter: @CBCMontreal