Why Should I Fight a Charge in Provincial Offenses (“Traffic”) Court?

You should investigate every offence and obtain legal advice before deciding on whether to dispute a traffic ticket. You are convicted of the charge if you simply pay the ticket. The amount of the fine may not be the only consequence. Convictions carry implications due to demerit points and/or insurance risks. Prior convictions may be brought back against the driver in future Court proceedings. A decision made now may affect matters later.

Miller Paralegal Services offers free consultation for a fair and honest assessment of your particular situation and professional advice on how to possibly resolve the matter.

TO REQUEST A CONSULTATION ON YOUR MATTER, contact Nancy via phone or email.

You may also wish to seek advice from an insurance agent or broker before you pay any ticket. A conviction could result in higher insurance premiums or you being placed in a “high risk” insurance category.

Demerit Points:

In Ontario, drivers start with no demerit points and points are added upon conviction. The number of demerit points vary with the charge. Most moving traffic violations do carry demerit points. Most administrative and equipment charges do not carry demerit points.

The court will notify the Ministry of Transportation when a conviction is registered against a driver. The Ministry will record the conviction(s) and apply demerit points on the driver’s record. The court has no control over the points and cannot convict for an offence and instruct the Ministry to not impose the points.

Points remain on a driver’s record for two years from the date of the offence – not the conviction date. The conviction is still part of the driver’s record even after the points have expired.

If a driver accumulates too many demerit points, his or her licence may be suspended. The number of demerit points is different for each level of licence, eg: G1, G2 and G.

For further information about demerit points from the Ministry of Transportation website, click here.

CVOR Points

Commercial truck drivers and their company also face consequences on the CVOR.

For further information for commercial drivers from the Ministry of Transportation website, click here.

Insurance Implications

Insurance companies may increase premiums for convictions under Federal, Provincial, or Municipal driving laws.

Convictions remain on the insurance record for a minimum of 3 years from the date of the conviction (not the date of the offence).

Most insurance companies look at the number of convictions and not necessarily at the accumulated demerit points. A driver with multiple zero demerit point speeding convictions may still face higher insurance premiums due to the habit of speeding and a display of “at-risk behaviour”. A professional driver with what the insurer deems to be “too many” convictions or demerit points may become uninsurable and therefore the job could be at risk.

Categories of offences

In general terms, insurance companies place offences into one of three categories and have policies in place as to how many in each category it deems as “acceptable”. Your insurer will have its own policies and you should check your own individual policy.

Even one “major” or “serious” conviction may increase your premium or put you into “high risk” insurance rates. These rates may be 3 to 5 times those of other drivers for the same age and years of driving experience.

  • Minor convictions include:
    • simple moving traffic violations such as
      • failing to wear a seat belt,
      • lower level speeding charges;
    • documentation (administrative) type charges such as
      • failing to produce your driver’s licence,
      • fail to produce proof of insurance
      • fail to produce vehicle ownership
    • vehicle equipment offences such as burned out headlight;
  • Major convictions include:
    • failing to report an accident,
    • higher level speeding charges, and
    • driving without insurance;
  • Serious convictions include:
    • careless driving,
    • impaired driving,
    • very high speeding charges, racing or stunt driving
    • driving while disqualified or under suspension.

TO REQUEST A CONSULTATION ON YOUR MATTER, contact Nancy via phone or email.

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