I have got a traffic ticket, now what?
After receiving an Offence Notice (ticket) you have three options: a) plead guilty by paying the fine; b) visit a court office to plead guilty but make submissions about the penalty (amount of fine or time to pay); c) request a trial. If you do not choose one of the above options within 15 days of receiving the ticket, or if you do not appear for your trial, a Justice of the Peace will review your case and may enter a conviction without you there. It is always a good idea to consult a Paralegal.
How many days do I have to respond once I got a traffic ticket?
Please read and follow the instructions provided on the back of the yellow ticket. Within 15 calendar days, you must choose one of the following options: a) plea of guilty – payment out of court; b) plead guilty with an explanation; c) Trial option or a meeting with a prosecutor
There are two amounts on my ticket. Why?
One amount is the set fine and the second is the total payable. The total payable consists of the set fine, court costs and the Victim Fine Surcharge. The set fine is ordered by the Chief Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice as an amount payable by the defendant in lieu of attending court to contest the charge. Court costs are an amount to be paid by the defendant for the service of the offence notice and/or summons and upon conviction of an offence. The costs are authorized by Section 60 of the Provincial Offences Act and the amount is set by regulation. Section 8 of the Provincial Offences Act provides that payment of an offence notice (ticket) constitutes a plea of guilty and results in a conviction being registered. The Victim Fine Surcharge is imposed by the Provincial Government and is added to every fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act. The amount of the Victim Fine Surcharge is variable, and is based on the amount of the set fine. Proceeds from the surcharge are used to maintain and expand provincial services to victims of crime.
What is the victim fine surcharge?
- The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act. It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
- The amount of the VFS is usually 20% of the imposed fine. For example, a $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge. Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25%
What does exactly Demerit Point System say?
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 two years from the offence date. If you collect enough points, you can lose your driver’s licence.
The demerit point penalties for driving offences are as follows:
- Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
- Failing to stop when signaled/requested by a police officer
- Careless Driving
- Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Driver of a bus failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing
- Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
- Following too closely
- Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to obey the directions of a police officer
- Failing to report a collision to a police officer
- Crowding the driver’s seat
- Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road
- Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle
- Improper passing
- Driving through, around or under a railway crossing barrier
- Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic control stop/slow sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal
- Driving the wrong way on a divided road
- Improper driving when road is divided into lanes
- Going the wrong way on a one-way road
- Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided
- Failing to move, where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle
- Improper use of high occupancy vehicle lane
- Improper opening of a vehicle door
- Towing people — on toboggans, bicycles, skis, etc
- Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
- Improper right turn
- Failing to signal
- Prohibited turns
- Failing to obey signs
- Failing to share the road
- Improper left turn
- 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 23 kg 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 Driver & Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, Ministry of Transportation Queen’s Park Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, or mailed to:
- 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.
Demerit Points and Fully Licensed Drivers
- As a fully licensed driver, if you get six demerit points, you will be sent a warning letter.
- At nine 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 Driver & Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, Ministry of Transportation Queen’s Park Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office, or mailed to:
- 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), 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.
I know that demerit points affect my insurance that is why I always pay my traffic ticket immediately.
What most people do not realize is that insurance companies are now assessing your risk level based on how many convictions you have on your record, and of course by how serious the offences are. Demerit points DO NOT affect your insurance. But what does, is getting convicted of an offence.
If I get demerit points, how long they are going to be on my record?
Three years; the problem is this information most of the time stays in the Ministry of Transportation data, therefore the Insurance Companies (which have access to it) can make decisions upon your insurance renewal.
What does the Canadian Law says about impaired driving?
Drinking and driving in Canada is a crime. Section 253 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the offence of impaired driving: “Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,
- while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
- having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred milliliters of blood.
A person is guilty of impaired driving where he uses a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug. The person must either use the vehicle while impaired or after his blood alcohol level was 80mg of alcohol to 100ml of blood (0.08).”
What is No-Fault Insurance?
The No-Fault insurance exists in Ontario and New Brunswick. “No Fault” refers to the fact that regardless of fault each person reports to their own company and companies do not sue each other to recover on certain types of losses. “No-Fault” does not literally mean that no one is “at fault”. The insurance company is compelled to assess fault using the Fault Determination Rules that are part of the Insurance Act.
Can I lose my Licence if I drive without insurance?
You might, also do not forget that the penalty for driving without insurance are stiff. If you are having this kind of problem do not try to solve the matter by yourself, you will end up paying more than you should if you do not hire a Paralegal.
I always pay my tickets right away, how come I have charges on my record? Paying your ticket automatically finds you guilty of the offence and creates a conviction on your driving record for 3 years.
Will it affect my insurance rates if I make an accident claim?
Assessment of rates for the most part is based on who is liable for the accident. Whether or not you claim for Accident Benefits once you have submitted a claim is not a factor when calculating rates.
What is my deductible and when I have to pay it?
The deductible is the amount which is shown on your Certificate of Automobile Insurance and which you agree to pay toward the cost of any claim you make, if any. The deductible applies each time a claim is made and separately to each automobile that is insured. Some sections of coverage do not have a deductible. For example, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario involving another vehicle and the other vehicle is “at-fault” for the accident, and if the other vehicle has valid insurance you will typically not be required to pay a deductible.
What if my mailing address is different from my residential address?
An Ontario residential address is required and will appear on your driver’s licence and vehicle permits. However, the ministry will require your mailing address to send your driver’s licence and vehicle permits, as well as any other future correspondence/products such as renewal notices. If your mailing address changes, please notify the ministry within six days of the change.
What is the difference between a Part I and a Part III offence?
A Part I offence is called an offence notice (ticket) and has an out of court settlement (fine) on it, whereas a Part III is a “Summons” (has a date on which you must attend court to answer to the charge(s)). Part I matters require you to request a court date (if you want to fight your ticket), they are often minor offences and the court penalty is kept at a minimum. Court penalties for Part III offences are more severe and can involve licence suspensions, jail time, heavy fines etc.
How do I fill out a Notice of Intention to Appear?
If your ticket says that you must attend court to request a trial, then you will be required to complete a Notice of Intention to Appear at the court office. It is vital that the information recorded on this document is written neatly, correctly and completely to ensure that notification, when mailed, will be directed properly.
What happens if I ignore my ticket?
If you do not respond to the ticket within 15 days, you may be convicted of the offence you are charged with. If you are convicted you would be required to pay the set fine, court costs and, if it is not a parking ticket, the victim fine surcharge by the due date. Failure to pay the fine imposed upon conviction by the due date will result in one or more of the following:
- For certain offences, including parking infractions, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation could refuse to issue or validate your vehicle permit
- For certain offences, including speeding, your driver’s licence could be suspended
- You will be charged an additional administrative fee
- Your defaulted fine will be referred to a collection agency
- Your defaulted fine information will be given to a credit bureau.
What if I need more time to pay a fine?
- If you need more time to pay a provincial offence fine, visit the court office noted on the back of your ticket.
- If you just received the ticket but cannot pay right away, you will be required to see a Justice of the Peace to plead guilty but ask for extra time to pay.
- If you have already been convicted, you will be asked to fill out a form that will be reviewed by a Justice of the Peace. This form will require you to fill in all of the information regarding your ticket including how much you have paid so far and a specific date that you would like it extended to.
What happens if I don’t pay my fine in full?
Failure to pay your fine in full could result in a conviction being entered against you. Upon conviction you will be required to pay the set fine including court costs and the applicable victim fine surcharge by the due date. Failure to pay the fine imposed upon conviction by the due date will result in one or more of the following:
- Refusal by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to issue validation of your vehicle permit
- Refusal by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to issue a vehicle permit
- Driver’s licence suspension
- An additional administrative fee
- The defaulted fine information is provided to a credit bureau.
What do I do if I cannot attend a trial?
To change a Trial Date you have 3 options:
- Where this is the first request for an adjournment the defendant must attend the court office where his/ her trial is being held at least five (5) business days in advance of the scheduled trial to request an Adjournment of First Trial Date with the a Clerk of Court. The clerk will complete Request for Adjournment of First Trial Date and defendant will have to deliver completed form to prosecutor’s office to obtain their consent before the clerk can assign a new date. This can be accomplished with one visit to the court administration office.
- Where option 1 does not apply the defendant must attend the court office where your trial is being held at least five (5) business days in advance of the scheduled trial and file a Notice of Motion to change their trial date. This will also require you to return to court to have this Motion heard.
- You or your agent (another individual over the age of 16) can attend the trial date that has been set and request the presiding Justice of the Peace for an adjournment and give the reasons why you could not attend.
What is the traffic ticket process?
After being served a traffic ticket you have three options
- Pays fine – a conviction is registered
- Pleads guilty with explanation – a conviction is registered
- Attends court office to file a request for trial (must complete a Notice of Intention to Appear) and/or meet with a prosecutor.
If you do not exercise one of the above options within 15 days, or if you do not appear for your trial, a Justice of the Peace will review your case and may enter a conviction in your absence.
What is a reopening and how is it processed?
A reopening is a process for people to follow if they feel they have been convicted of a Part I (minor traffic matter) or Part II (parking matter) through no fault of their own. The reopening must be requested at the administration office of the court address indicated on the back of your ticket. Once the paperwork is complete the person requesting the reopening will see a Justice of the Peace. If a reopening is granted, the original conviction and fine are struck and a new trial is given, normally at the same time. A reopening can be requested at the appropriate court office Monday to Friday (except holidays) between 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM. Please note that large volumes may necessitate a cut off earlier than 2:00 PM at the instructions of the Judiciary.
Can I serve time in jail rather than paying my outstanding fines?
No. Serving time in jail is not an option.
What is disclosure?
Disclosure is a procedure whereby the defendant is provided with copies of all evidentiary documentation which will be used by the Prosecutor at trial.
How do I order disclosure?
Attend a court location and fill out a Request for Disclosure form. To avoid inconvenience to you, you should apply for disclosure as soon as possible.
What happens if I am found guilty?
You will be sentenced. Your sentence could include a fine, probation, court order, by-law related order, licence suspension, imprisonment or any combination thereof. You will receive a document entitled “Notice of Fine and Due Date”. However, if you do not receive this document, you are still responsible to pay the fine within the time period granted by the Justice of the Peace.
How do I file an appeal of the Court’s decision?
You must file an appeal on a Part I matter within 15 days of the conviction date and within 30 days of the conviction date on Part III matters. The fine must be paid in full or an application to file an appeal without paying the fine must be completed before filing the appeal. If you are past the allotted time, you may also apply for an extension of time to appeal under Section 85 of the Provincial Offences Act. A Provincial Judge must grant both the application to file appeal without paying the fine and the application for extension of time to appeal. Appeal documents may be obtained from any Ministry of the Attorney General court office.
I tried to renew my licence plate but I was told that I have an outstanding fine, what should I do?
In Provincial Offences Court, plate denials only apply to parking offences. Since all parking offence matters rest with the local municipality, you should contact the municipality in which you received the parking offence.
Do I have to report any accident to an insurance company?
Each party involved in an accident reports to their own insurance company, regardless of who is at fault. As part of the Ontario policy, you agree to inform your insurance company of any accident involving the automobile that must be reported to the police under the Highway Traffic Act or for which you intend to make a claim under the policy. The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario indicates that you must report any accident that involves an injury, and must report any accident in which the total damages to all vehicles and property is greater than $1000. You must notify your insurance company within 7 days after the accident, or if unable, as soon as possible after that.
What information do I have to get at the scene of an accident?
After an accident, it is important for you to obtain complete information on the other party or parties involved. For example,
- all vehicle information
- Licence plate numbers
- All names, addresses, and phone numbers
- drivers licence numbers for the other involved drivers
- the location of the accident, e.g. major intersections
- police information (if they attended the scene)
If the police have attended the scene, it is reasonable to assume that they will secure much of the above information. It is important that you get the officer’s name, badge number and report number so that we can get the police report.