It's never just a traffic ticket...
When you are convicted of a traffic offence, the consequences are far greater than the fine alone.
Don’t forget about Demerit Points, CVOR Points, Insurance Rates, Suspension, Reinstatement Fees, Impoundment and your Driving Record…
It’s never a good idea to pay a traffic ticket without first turning your mind to each of these considerations. When you simply pay your ticket, you are actually agreeing to be convicted of a provincial offence and that is not a trivial matter.
It doesn’t cost you anything to talk about your options. No-obligation consultations are FREE and confidential.
Demerit Points are added against you for many of the most common traffic offences. When Demerit Points accumulate, they can ultimately result in the suspension of your licence.
If you are a Novice Driver, the consequences from Demerit Points happen sooner. Less points are required for the suspension of your licence and other sanctions.
Insurance rates are one of the most common reasons to fight a traffic ticket. Even minor convictions on your driving record can have serious repercussions on your insurance rates.
Worse still, for certain convictions insurers have been known to cancel your insurance coverage altogether. If this happens, you may have significant difficulty in obtaining a new policy, even with a different insurer. Some common convictions that may result in your insurer dropping you include Stunt Driving, Driving while using a Handheld Communication Device, Careless Driving and having multiple convictions in a short period of time.
Suspension of your Driver’s Licence is a serious potential consequence of a traffic conviction.
Even without a conviction, there are roadside suspensions that take effect from the time you are charged. This is the case when charged with Stunt Driving or for registering a “Warn” on an alcohol screening device.
When it comes to indefinite suspensions, having unpaid fines or missed family support payments are some of the most common reasons that one’s licence is suspended.
In these cases, suspended drivers can find themselves in a vicious cycle; Needing to work to pay their fines, but needing to drive in order to work.
Driving while under suspension is one of the most serious offences in the Highway Traffic Act. A conviction can result in thousands of dollars in fines ($1000.00 minimum first-time), the prolonging your suspension and even carries the potential for up to 6 months of jail time.
If you’ve been charged for Driving While Under Suspension, you are facing a very serious charge. With the complexities of the Provincial Offences Court system, it pays to hire a licensed paralegal to fight for you and to explore your options.
As with most other governmental functions, getting your licence restored after being suspended has a fee. At present, the reinstatement fee in the Province of Ontario is $281.00.
If you are paying down fines or family support payments to get your licence back, make sure you budget for this additional expense. Even once you’ve paid your outstanding debts, your licence remains suspended until you pay for it to be reinstated. Driving prior to reinstatement can result in you being charged.
It is important to note though that this fee is not charged if your licence was suspended for a medical reason.
Depending on how long your licence was suspended for, you may also have to take vision, written and road tests again in order to be reinstated.
Vehicle Impoundment occurs when, in accordance with law, your vehicle is seized, towed and stored for a period of time. The costs associated with tow and storage of the vehicle become the responsibility of the vehicle owner in most cases. These costs are paid to the tow/storage company and can be a costly additional burden.
Vehicles may be impounded for a number of reasons. One of the most common impoundments is when police lay the charge of Stunt Driving. In this case, the vehicle is impounded for a period of 7 days.
Similarly, when a driver is charged with impaired driving, their vehicle is also subject to a 7-day impoundment.
45-day vehicle impoundments result from operating a vehicle in contravention of a sentence for an impaired driving conviction. Quite often, the high costs of such prolonged storage outweigh the cost of the vehicle itself.
The law does not take ownership of a vehicle into consideration when choosing to impound it. This means that even if the vehicle being driven is not owned by the present suspended/prohibited driver, it still is subject to tow and seizure for the full duration of the impoundment period.
Under some circumstances, vehicle impoundments may be appealed to the Licence Appeals Tribunal. Prevail Paralegal has experience in this process and may be able to help you.
Upon being convicted of most traffic offences, an entry is made on your driving record kept by the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO).
This will show up on a driver’s abstract which may be required if you apply for a driving job. Your insurer may also pull your driving abstract from time to time, such as when renewing your policy.
Your MTO record is also visible if you are stopped again by police. Having blemishes on your driving record can make you less likely to receive a warning from police in the future.
CVOR Points- Commercial Drivers
The Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) uses a points-based system used to regulate the operation of commercial vehicles.
Commercial vehicle operators and their carriers can accumulate Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration (CVOR) Points, similar to the Demerit Point system for regular drivers. These points may be accumulated in a number of ways, including accidents, inspections, infractions and even enforcement attention.
It is essential for Commercial Drivers and their carriers to protect against unwarranted CVOR points. Too many points can lead to increased enforcement measures, increased insurance rates and damaged safety ratings.
You are considered a Novice Driver if you have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 class licence. While in the earlier stages of Ontario’s graduated licencing system, you are subject to greater scrutiny with respect to the penalties and consequences of traffic convictions. Demerit points hit harder and it’s easier to fall into lengthy licence suspensions and even the cancellation or downgrading of your licence class.
As a Novice Driver, you are also subject to a separate “Escalating Penalties System” which creates very strict penalties for Novice Drivers upon conviction of certain offences.
Despite being subject to stricter regulation, you have the same rights in contesting your tickets as any other driver. Being subject to a traffic conviction at this early stage can have lasting consequences. You may have made a mistake behind the wheel but there are other ways to learn from your mistakes than being subject to a driving conviction. Hiring a professional to fight for your rights can help you make informed decisions with respect to your driving abilities, both now and in the future.
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