Were you just pulled over by the police? Did you receive a traffic ticket? If yes, you may be wondering exactly what you are being charged with. You may not know how the ticket you just received will affect your driving record or your insurance premiums.

The consequences of being convicted of a traffic violation could be very serious. If you are convicted of a traffic offence, your driving record will be affected and your insurance premiums may increase. Certain traffic violations may even lead to a criminal record.

Penalties for traffic offences can include fines, demerit points, licence suspension and even imprisonment.

Remember, if you accumulate more than 9 demerit points (for G2 Driver's Licence) or 15 demerit points (full G and A-Z), your licence will be suspended. Therefore, it's worthwhile to fight a traffic ticket in order to protect your driving record and avoid or minimize penalties.

Don't plead guilty or simply pay a fine for any traffic ticket without consulting Traffic Points Professional Corporation. We provide a FREE CONSULTATION explaining your rights and options.

Save your driving record, reduce your fine and avoid insurance rate increases by contacting us today!

Below are definitions of some of the most common traffic offences. We have also listed information relating to vehicle insurance premiums. If you have any questions, please contact us. Our experienced team will work with you to help you understand your options.

Traffic Offences:

Careless Driving | Top |

The offence of careless driving is committed when a driver operates a vehicle without reasonable care or attention to other drivers. If you have been charged with careless driving, you will be convicted providing that facts presented in court attest to driving without the proper care and attention. The penalty for careless driving could range from a minimum fine of $200, six-month jail term, or up to two years licence suspension, plus a loss of six demerit points. Usually, the police lay charges for careless driving following a motor vehicle accident.

Speeding | Top |

The offence of speeding is committed when a driver operates a vehicle at a speed exceeding the legal limit. It is also an offence to drive at a speed that blocks traffic. Speeding tickets are usually the result of a police radar check. The penalty for speeding is usually a fine, the amount of which will depend on the speed you were travelling. You may also receive three to six demerit points, depending on the police radar record. If you are repeatedly convicted of speeding offences, your licence could be suspended.

Failed to Stop at a Red Light or a Stop Sign | Top |

Drivers are usually charged with this offence when failing to come to a full stop at a red light, a stop sign, or when a car crosses any part of the pedestrian walkway area of an intersection. The penalty for failing to stop is a fine ranging from $90 to $500, plus three demerit points. If you fail to come to a full stop and yield for a school bus, the penalty could be a minimum fine of $400, plus six demerit points.

Failed to Report and Remain at the Scene | Top |

Offences of failing to report and remain at the scene of a motor vehicle accident are committed when a driver, who is directly or indirectly involved in an accident, fails to report the accident to the police, or fails to remain at, or immediately return to the scene of the accident.

The law requires that you report accidents that involve injuries or more than $1000 in property damage. You should be careful about estimating what $1000 of property damage is, because people tend to underestimate the extent of the damage. You are obligated to report an accident whether you are directly or indirectly involved in it.

The penalty for failing to do so is usually a fine ranging between $90 and $500, plus three demerit points on your record. The law also requires that you remain at the scene of the accident, or that you immediately return to the scene of the accident. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are legally obliged to give your name, address and phone number as well as insurance information to people who ask for it.

It is a serious offence under the Criminal Code to leave the scene of an accident. Penalties for failing to remain at the scene include fines ranging between $200 and $2000, seven demerit points, a maximum of six months in jail and a suspended licence for up to two years.

Following too Closely | Top |

The offence of driving too closely is committed when a driver follows another vehicle at a distance that is not reasonable and prudent. The exact definition of a reasonable and prudent distance will depend on the road conditions and the street or highway you were traveling on. The penalty for following too closely are fines ranging from $90 to $500 and a loss of four demerit points.

Driving without insurance | Top |

It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle that is not properly insured. The law requires every motor vehicle to be insured with at least the third party liability coverage. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that they are properly insured. If you are stopped by the police, you must show them your insurance card if they ask for it. The penalty for driving without insurance is a fine ranging between $5,000 to $25,000. Your licence could be suspended for up to one year and your car could be impounded for up to three months.

Stunt Driving/Racing/Speeding over 50 km/h | Top |

The most common reason that a Stunt Driving charge is issued is because the driver of the motor vehicle has been caught travelling at 50 km or more above the posted speed limit.

You can also be charged with this offence for performing a stunt while driving, such as "squealing" your tires or trying to make an extremely dangerous manoeuvre.

Once you have been charged with Stunt Driving you will immediately be issued a seven day roadside suspension of your driver's licence. Your vehicle will also be impounded for seven days, at your own expense.

Upon Conviction of Stunt Driving the penalties are:

  • 6 demerit points
  • $2,000.00 - $10,000.00 fine
  • A possible suspension of your driver's licence for a period of no more than 2 years
  • A possible term of imprisonment for up to 6 months

Your insurance could be affected for up to 3 years or more. Some insurance companies will not even insure you once you have been convicted of Stunt driving.

Driving While Under Suspension | Top |

Driving with a suspended licence is one of the most serious offences under the Highway Traffic Act.
A conviction for Driving While Under Suspension carries an automatic six-month suspension of your driver's licence and the conviction will have serious implications for insurance premiums. You may not even qualify for insurance at all.

The reasons of suspension could be:

  • Unpaid fines
  • Medical reasons
  • Family support missed payments
  • Criminal court decisions
  • Demerit points

For the first time you have been charged with Drive under Suspension, you are facing the following penalties:

  • A fine not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 (**Note: If your licence is suspended because of convictions under the Criminal Code of Canada, the fine is not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000**)
  • A mandatory 6 month suspension of your driver's licence
  • A possible term of imprisonment of not more than 6 months

For each subsequent offence:

  • A fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000 (**Subsequent offences related to the Criminal Code: fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000**)
  • Suspension of your driver's license
  • A possible term of imprisonment

Relevant insurance information | Top |

Insurance firms in Ontario categorize convictions on your driving record as MAJOR and MINOR offences. Major offences include all criminal driving offences i.e. Impaired Driving, as well as the following Highway Traffic Act offences: Failure to Remain at the Scene of an Accident, Fail to Stop for Police, Careless Driving, Fail to Stop for a School Bus, Racing, Speeding over 50 km/h, Fail to Report Accident, Driving While Under Suspension and any G1 or G2 driver's licence related offence. A major conviction can result in your insurance premium increasing by 300% or higher. Your insurance company may also choose not to renew your policy. You would then be labelled as a high risk driver and placed into the facility insurance category where the premiums are very high. You could remain in this category for the minimum of 3 years or longer.

Driver licence suspension for unpaid fines or any other reason will appear on your driving record resulting in an increase of your premiums or cancellation of your policy.

Fraud or misrepresentation to the insurance company is also considered a major offence and will be held against you for up to 6 years.

Minor offences include any other Highway Traffic Act, Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act or Municipal Traffic Bylaw offences. Speeding convictions between 30-49 km/h over the limit are treated more seriously than a minor offence by some insurance companies, but not as seriously as any major offence. These higher speeding convictions can result in immediate increase of your insurance premiums. By-law parking tickets may not affect your driver's licence and they may not be reflected on your driving record.

Some insurance companies will not renew your policy if you have 3 or more convictions on your record within the 3 year period. Convictions are held against you by the insurance companies for a minimum of 3 years before they forgive and forget. Insurance companies hold all convictions against you even if these convictions are equipment related or are minor offences that carry no demerit points. In most instances, insurance companies are not interested in demerit points but insurers of commercial fleets can consider driver's demerit and CVOR points.

If a driver has 6 or more demerit points on his or her record, he or she can be deemed un-insurable by an insurance company. All convictions remain on your driving record for the rest of your life. Only demerit points are subtracted from your record after two years from the date of the offence. Pardons only apply to criminal driving offences, if granted.

Insurance companies assess fault in relation to accidents. If the accident is assessed as an at fault accident, it will be held against you for a minimum of 5 years before your insurance company forgives and forgets. Additional at fault accidents within 5 years will further increase your risk factor as a driver and, consequently, increase your premiums. Insurance companies differ in their policies with regards to the number of convictions, time limits, etc.

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