When & why should I fight a traffic ticket?
Even if you are guilty, you should file a defence to protect your licence and prevent horrendous insurance increases.
If you were charged with any provincial offence including one under the Highway Traffic Act, the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act or Liquor Licence Act, or the equivalents in your province, you should act immediately.
How many points will I lose?
These examples are for Ontario, but your province will be similar.
First of all, points are accumulated against your licence, not lost, but the following is a sample of some offences:
16 - 29 over is 3 points
30 - 49 over is 4 points
50 and over is 6 points
Impaired Driving or over 80
Careless Driving (6 points)
Driving under suspension (major fine)
Following too close (4 points)
No Insurance Minimum $6,000 fine for 1st offence
Minimum $12,000 fine for 2nd offence
Over 150 KM in Ontario. Seize your vehicle for seven days, lost of licence and $5000 fine
Making a false statement (major fine)
Fail to remain (7 points)
Fail to report (3 points)
Fail to stop for School Bus (6 points)
Red Lights / Stop Signs (3 points)
Improper Passing (3 points)
Improper Turns (usually 2 - 3 points)
Disobey Signs (usually 2 - 3 points)
Seat Belts (2 points)
How long do I have to respond to a ticket?
Currently it is 15 days from the issue date.
However double check. Procedures change from time to time
The response deadline should be listed on your ticket.
However, if it is more than 15 days since you were charged, a special application may be brought for an extension.
What happens if I don't do anything?
You will be found guilty in your absence as you are deemed not to dispute the charge on the basis of your failure to respond.
Your licence could be suspended for unpaid fines if you fail to pay the fine and costs. Not knowing of the unpaid fine is not a defence.
You could even face jail time for serious tickets
My license is suspended for unpaid fines, what do I do to get it reinstated?
You must do two things:
1. Pay all outstanding fines, costs and late charges at any provincial court.
2. Then, take your receipt to the Ministry of Transportation and apply for reinstatement. There is an additional $100.00 fee for this application over and above all fines.
Once your application is accepted, it takes approximately four business days to process. In the interim, you are still suspended and must not drive.
A paralegal may be able to arrange a time payment plan and get your licence reinstated so long as you make all the payments on time.
Why is the Victim's Fund Surcharge
added to all tickets?
This is a special fund dedicated to assist victims of crime. A small percentage is added to each provincial offence fine and is earmarked for this fund.
- a $40.00 fine has $ 5.00 added
- a $90.00 fine has $15.00 added
- a $1,000.00 fine and over has 20% added
Therefore, a $5,000.00 fine for no insurance, for example, has $1,000.00 added making the total $6,000.00.
There is an error. is the ticket dismissed?
No. Minor errors are simply amended for accuracy, but not dismissed.
However, if the error or omission is vital evidence, there may be grounds for a motion to quash or stay proceedings.
If the officer does not show up for the trial, is the matter automatically dismissed?
No. The provincial prosecutor has the right to request an adjournment to another day just as the defence has if there is a valid reason.
However, on minor traffic matters, many provincial prosecutors will withdraw the charge if the officer is absent rather than require the defendant to attend another day
Your Traffic Ticket Fine is the Least of Your Problems
It is the points and your insurance company that will really hurt you.
Consider these simple facts:
- If convicted, you could end up paying thousands of dollars more for your car insurance.
- Your insurance rates could triple!
- You could also lose your licence
- You could pay a heavy fine
- You could even face jail time.
TRAFFIC TICKET DEFENSE?
What you need to know. Make sure you are dealing with a paralegal who is experienced in motor vehicle law.
Experienced paralegals are familiar with the issues surrounding traffic charges and the consequences you could face. A paralegal who is not experienced in motor vehicle law might miss an important issue that an experienced paralegal would recognize.
Can I represent myself?
A. Legally, yes, but it is not recommended. Motor Vehicle law is complex, with increasingly harsh penalties.
A paralegal will be familiar with all of the legal issues surrounding the charges, and the consequences you could face. Lack of expertise and knowledge could cause you to make critical and expensive mistakes. A paralegal has the knowledge and experience that is essential to be successful.
Can a paralegal really help me?
Yes, a charge does not have to mean a conviction. A qualified, experienced paralegal can do the following:
Obtain a copy of disclosure, including police officers notes and witness statements.
Review the prosecution's case for weaknesses and defects.
Argue successfully for the exclusion of evidence.
Retain the services of expert defense witnesses.
Prepare for, and conduct a trial.
Challenge the credibility or memory of witnesses who may testify against you.
Negotiate with the prosecution for the withdrawal of charges, a lesser charge, or a reduced sentence.
Should I plead guilty?
Just because you did it does not mean you are guilty.
Never plead guilty without knowing the consequences of a guilty plea. They can be very serious. Consequences could include any combination of the following:
- A fine
- A suspension of your drivers licence.
- Jail time.
- Indirectly, a substantial increase in the cost of insurance for several years.
You might enter a guilty plea only to discover too late that you had an absolute defence to the charge(s), or that you could have pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.
Before you rush into anything, Click here ask ParaLegalAdvice to help you find the right paralegal a paralegal for a free consultation. Explore your options. If you still want to plead guilty, you can always do so after you have spoken to a qualified agent or paralegal.
When should I consult with a paralegal?
The sooner the better. There may be evidence that needs to be preserved or witnesses lined up. A knowledgeable paralegal can alert you to what evidence should be collected immediately.
How much will it cost?
Generally consultations are FREE of charge and you are under no obligation.
The paralegal will make an initial assessment of the case against you. Based on this assessment, they will probably quote you a flat rate or fixed fee.
Can I plead guilty with an explanation?
Yes and no. You or your paralegal can plead guilty but the Justice of the Peace has no control or authority over points. This is a Ministry of Transportation issue set by the Province.
As for the fine, the Justice of the Peace has discretion under the Provincial Offences Act to reduce the fine if there is justifiable reason to do so.
If I am convicted of a traffic violation,
will my insurance go up?
In many cases, yes. Insurance company rates and "forgiveness factors" vary from company to company and are based on several facts including:
- the age and driving experience of the driver
- was an accident involved
- was alcohol involved
- how many points is this offence
- how many moving violations has this driver had in the past
- what is the class of license
- Generally speaking, for one minor ticket of 3 points or less over 3 years where an accident is not involved and the driver has a full G license (or better), there is no increase in rates.
However, for a specific answer, contact your insurance company, keeping in mind that this may trigger an enquiry or review which in turn may result in an increase.
If I drive someone else's car and later discover they had no insurance, who is responsible?
Both you and the owner are responsible to ensure you are insured before you operate the vehicle.
If you fail to do so, both of you could face a $5,000 fine which attracts a $1,000 victims fund surcharge making the total $6,000 EACH for the first offence, and $10,000 + $2,000 = $12,000 EACH for the second offence.
If I am charged with impaired driving and/or "over 80", can you help me?
Yes! These are criminal charges but we have lawyers as associates who are experts in this area. The fieldwork is done by our private investigators and paralegal staff. The actual trial is done by a lawyer.
If I have been injured in an accident,
can I sue?
Yes, but there are rules and limitations.
How long do demerit points stay on my record?
Two years, but the information may remain on the Ministry of Transportation computer for several years even after points have been restored. This data is often used by insurance companies in their decisions regarding new policies or renewals as well as by employers with respect to their hiring policy of drivers.
Is it worth spending $300.00 to fight a $100.00 ticket?
Many times it is the wisest decision you could make, especially if your insurance rates are going to increase 25% to 50% for 3 to 5 years, or if you are a professional driver and your employer requires regular clean driver abstracts for you to keep your job.
What about paralegal offices which "guarantee to win or it's free"?
No one can guarantee to win in any court. Be suspicious and read the fine print in contracts from companies offering a guarantee of "We win or it's free". Ask them;
- Is a lesser fine a win?
- Is a conviction for fewer points a win?
- What are your actual total charges for representing me in court?
Once you get this information, read it carefully. That guarantee is probably full of holes
I missed my trial date and was convicted. Can I appeal?
Yes There are 3 steps required to appeal a conviction and/or sentence which your paralegal can manage.
What is the difference between a Summons and a Provincial Offences Notice.
The summons requires you to attend court and has no set fine option allowing you to simply plead guilty and mail in your cheque.
The Provincial Offences Notice gives you the options:
1) To plead guilty and mail (or phone) in the fine shown on the ticket, or,
2) To plead not guilty and request trial.
IN SOME JURISDICTIONS THERE IS THE OPTION:
3) To request what is called a FIRST ATTENDANCE hearing where in you, or your agent, meets with the Provincial Prosecutor in an office environment in an attempt to resolve the matter on mutual consent.