TRAFFIC TICKETS

A traffic ticket is a notice issued by a law enforcement official to a driver (motorist) or other road user, accusing violation (offence) of traffic laws. Although direct operation of a bicycle and a mounted animal are commonly referred to as riding, such operators are legally considered drivers and are required to obey the rules of the road.
Traffic tickets generally come in form citing a moving violation, for example, exceeding the speed limit. The tickets issued for a non-moving violation, such as a wrong parking, are called parking tickets.

A traffic ticket constitutes a notice that a penalty, such as a fine or deduction of points, or both, has been or will be assessed against the driver or owner of a vehicle. Failure to pay generally leads to prosecution or to civil recovery proceedings for the fine. In others, the ticket constitutes only a citation and summons to appear at traffic court, with a determination of guilt to be made only in court.

In Canada, traffic laws are made at the provincial level. Some serious violations are considered criminal (such as Drinking and Driving) and are located under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Each province maintains a database of drivers, including their convicted traffic offence. Upon being ticketed, a driver has a chance to plead guilty, guilty with an explanation or not guilty. To do so, the driver or their representative (a Lawyer/Paralegal) must attend the court for the town or city in which the violation took place. The back of the ticket states the driver has up to 15 days to enter their pleas.

If the driver pleads not guilty, a trial date is set and both the driver, or a Lawyer/Paralegal representing the driver, and the ticketing police officer, are required to attend. If the police officer fails to attend, the court judge will often find in favour of the driver and dismiss the charge, although sometimes the trial date is moved to give the police officer another chance to attend.

The court will also make provisions for the officer or the prosecutor to achieve a deal with the driver, often in the form of a plea bargain. If no agreement is reached, both driver and police officer, or their representatives, formally attempt to prove their case before the judge or Justice of The Peace, who then decides the matter.

If the driver pleads guilty, the outcome is equivalent to conviction after trial. Upon conviction, the driver is generally fined a monetary amount and, for moving violations, is additionally given demerit points, under Ontario Demerit Point System. Jail time is sometimes sought in more serious cases such as racing or stunt driving.

If a driver is convicted, he or she must accept the penalties or try to appeal the ruling. An appeal will typically only be granted in cases where there were errors in the law or proceedings.

If a trial date takes more than a reasonable amount of time, and the accused had nothing to delay it, a Charter of Rights violation can be filed and pleaded. The reasonable length of time changes from court to court. In most cases, this is typically 1 year. A Charter of Rights Violation must be filed with the Attorney General of Ontario and with the courts themselves and then argued on the court date.

Four (4) Digit ICON numbers on your Traffic Ticket or Notice:
Often, motorists receive Yellow Offence Notices or Notice of Fine and Due Date or a Red Light Camera Offence Notice and are not sure who to talk to or where they should go to Request a Trial Date to contest their tickets. Often there is a sequence of numbers on the ticket or notice which can aid a motorist in locating the office responsible for their tickets. On a Yellow Offence Notice – look at the top left hand corner and you will see a four (4) digit ICON number. On a Notice of Fine & Due Date Notice or a Red Light Camera Offence Notice – look at the first four (4) digits of the Offence Number – this is the four (4) digit ICON number. After you have identified those four (4) digits, review this list of ICON numbers. You will find the four (4) digit ICON number, the corresponding Provincial Offence Office and corresponding phone numbers.

DEMERIT POINTS SYSTEM
This is an overview of Ontario demerit point system for your information but please note that it’s an unofficial version.

No doubts, you know that traffic violation convictions usually come with demerit points against your licence. Drivers convicted of certain driving-related offences have demerit points recorded on their records. It is a common misconception that drivers “lose” points due to convictions for certain traffic offences. In fact, a driver begins with zero demerit points and accumulates demerit points for convictions. Demerit points stay on your record for 2 years from the offence date. If you collect enough points, you can lose your driver’s licence.

In the Regulation 339/94 of the Highway Traffic Act, “accumulated demerit points” means the total demerit points in a person’s record acquired as a result of offences committed within any period of two years. “Conviction” includes a plea of guilty or a finding of guilt.

If a resident of Ontario is convicted or forfeits bail in another province or territory of Canada or in one of the states of the United States of America for an offence that, in the opinion of the Registrar, is in substance and effect equivalent to an offence for which demerit points would be recorded upon conviction in Ontario, the Registrar may record the demerit points for the conviction as if the conviction had been entered or the bail forfeited in Ontario for the equivalent offence. Although, the demerit points have no direct impact on insurance rate they can affect it indirectly. Insurance rates and eligibility are typically measured by the number of tickets received in recent years.

Driver’s licence/license suspension
The demerit points are used by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario to determine licence suspensions due to repeated traffic violations. Ontario allows the suspension of driver’s licenses for child support arrears through the FRO; job loss, and any other reasonable excuses, including the need for a licence to work, are routinely ignored, and you can expect to be jailed for up to 6 months immediately following your licence suspension. If caught driving with a suspended license, the vehicle you are driving will be impounded for 7-days.

If a person is convicted of an offence or two or more offences arising out of the same circumstances and the penalty imposed by the court includes a period of licence suspension, no demerit points shall be recorded.

If a person is convicted of two or more offences arising out of the same circumstances and the penalty imposed by the court does not include a period of licence suspension, demerit points shall only be recorded for the conviction carrying the greatest number of points.

Demerit Point System
(The Regulation 339/94 of the Highway Traffic Act)

Demerit points

Offence

7 Points
  • Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
  • Failing to stop when signaled / requested by a police officer

 

6 Points
  • Careless Driving
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 50km/h or more
  • Racing
  • Failing to stop for a school bus

 

5 Points
  • Driver of a bus failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing

 

4 Points
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49km/h
  • Following too closely

 

3 Points
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29km/h
  • Driving through, around or under a railway crossing barrier
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic control stop/slow sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal
  • Failing to obey the directions of a police officer
  • Driving the wrong way on a divided road
  • Failing to report a collision to a police officer
  • Improper driving when road is divided into lanes
  • Crowding the driver’s seat
  • Going the wrong way on a one-way road
  • Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road
  • Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided
  • Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle
  • Failing to move, where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle
  • Improper passing
  • Improper use of high occupancy vehicle lane

 

2 Points
  • Improper opening of a vehicle door
  • Prohibited turns
  • Towing people – on toboggans, bicycles, skis, etc.
  • Failing to obey signs
  • Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
  • Failing to share the road
  • Improper right turn
  • Improper left turn
  • Failing to signal
  • Unnecessary slow driving
  • Reversing on a divided high-speed road
  • Driver failing to wear a seat belt
  • Driver failing to ensure that a passenger less than 23kg is properly secured
  • Driver failing to ensure that a passenger under 16 years is wearing a seat belt
  • Failing to lower headlamp beams
  • Backing on a highway
  • Driver failing to ensure infant/child passenger is properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system or booster seat

 

Demerit Points and New Drivers

  • As a Class G1, G2, M1 or M2 driver, if you get two or more demerit points, you will be sent a warning letter.
  • At six points, you may have to go to an interview to discuss your record and give reasons why your licence should not be suspended. If you don’t attend, your licence may be suspended.
  • At nine points, your licence will be suspended for 60 days from the date you surrender it to the Ministry of Transportation. You can lose your licence for up to two years if you fail to surrender your licence. A driver’s licence may be surrendered at any ServiceOntario Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, ServiceOntario College Park Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, or mailed to:
    Ministry of Transportation
    Driver Improvement Office
    Building A, Main Floor
    2680 Keele Street
    Downsview, ON M3M 3E6
  • DriveTest Centres do not accept surrendered licences for suspension purposes.
  • After the suspension, the number of points on your record will be reduced to four. Any additional points could again bring you to the interview level. If you reach nine points again, your licence can be suspended for six months from the date you surrender it to the Ministry of Transportation.
  • Note: If you are a novice driver and are convicted of violating any novice condition or a Highway Traffic Act offence which carries 4 or more demerit points or receive a court-ordered suspension for an offence that would have resulted in 4 or more demerit points, you will receive the appropriate penalty under the Novice Driver Escalating Sanctions program. However, no demerit points will be applied to your record or be counted towards your demerit point total

Demerit Points and Fully Licensed Drivers

  • As a fully licensed driver, if you get 6 demerit points, you will be sent a warning letter.
  • At 9 points, you may have to go to an interview to discuss your record and give reasons why your licence should not be suspended. If you don’t attend, your licence may be suspended.
  • At 15 or more points, your licence will be suspended for 30 days from the date you surrender it to the Ministry of Transportation for the first suspension. You can lose your licence for up to two years if you fail to surrender your licence. A driver’s licence may be surrendered at any ServiceOntario Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, ServiceOntario College Park Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, or mailed to:
    Ministry of Transportation
    Driver Improvement Office
    Building A, Main Floor
    2680 Keele Street
    Downsview, ON M3M 3E6
  • DriveTest Centres do not accept surrendered licences for suspension purposes.
  • After the suspension, you may be required to complete a driver re-examination (vision, knowledge and road tests). If you successfully fulfill your requirements you will have your driver’s licence reinstated and the number of points on your record will be reduced to seven. Any extra points could again bring you to the interview level. If you reach 15 points again, your licence will be suspended for six months.
  • If you receive a conviction for an offence committed while a novice driver that is eligible for sanctions under the novice driver escalating sanctions program but you now hold a full class G driver’s licence, you will be required to serve the following:
    • 30-day licence suspension for the first occurrence;
    • 90-day licence suspension for the second occurrence; and
    • 90-day licence suspension for the third occurrence.

Demerit Points for Out-of-Province Convictions

  • Drivers convicted of a driving related offence in the State of New York, the State of Michigan or any Canadian province or territory, will have home jurisdictional penalties such as demerit points and/or suspensions applied to their Ontario driver record as if the offence occurred in Ontario.

Remember, paying the fine is an admission of guilt. There will be a conviction registered in your driver records. You will have no chance to lower your traffic ticket fine and demerit points (if any). Do not forget, if you have a conviction record, your auto insurance will be increased upon renewal. Calculate the cost of fighting the speeding ticket and weigh it against the chances of getting it dismissed or reduced to a lower charge.

If you got a traffic ticket you might seek assistance from a paralegal that specialize in defending traffic ticket cases. The paralegal has to be licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada. It is always a good idea to hire CP Paralegal Solutions to fight your traffic ticket. For more information please visit www.paralegaltoronto.ca

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