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ONTARIO ACCIDENT CHARGES

Accidents happen every day on Canada’s roadways. An accident could be a single-vehicle collision where the driver strikes an object or goes off the roadway. An accident could also be a collision with a pedestrian, bicyclist, or another motor vehicle. Collisions can occur for both regular drivers as well as commercial motor vehicle drivers such as transport truck drivers.

The severity of the offence can range from a single vehicle collision with no injury or damage up to a commercial motor vehicle collision involving multiple vehicles, the transportation of dangerous goods, and death. Generally, the severity of the incident will be reflected in the type of offence issued by the police and the severity of penalty issued by the court.

Simpler matters tend to be issued by way of what most people would refer to as a “ticket.” These matters are prosecuted by a Municipal or MTO Prosecutor depending on whether you are a regular or commercial motor vehicle driver. A ticket provides basic information about the alleged offence along with a very brief summary of your immediate options. The fine for the offence is clearly listed on the bottom of the ticket. Unfortunately, a ticket does not provide information about demerit points, impact to insurance, or any potential MTO suspension or cancellation of your licence should you plead guilty or be convicted.

More serious accidents will generally result in an offence being issued by way of summons. These matters are prosecuted by a Provincial Crown Prosecutor or an MTO Prosecutor depending on whether you are a regular or a commercial motor vehicle driver. A summons will list the time, day, and location of your First Appearance hearing at court. Unlike a ticket, a summons does not list a specific fine as these charges generally have very large fines that range from a minimum to a maximum fine. These charges may also include the possibility of imprisonment or suspension of driver’s licence.

An accident can come out of the blue at any time and can turn an ordinary life upside down. Beyond the immediate inconveniences and costs involved in a damaged or written-off vehicle, an accident can have serious, long-term consequences. If convicted of an offence, that offence will remain a permanent record of conviction against you. Demerit points can lead to a warning from the MTO, an MTO interview, or a suspension of cancellation of your driver’s licence. A conviction can also result in an increase to insurance costs or being forced onto high-risk insurance.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers can face the additional penalty of CVOR points. CVOR points can cause problems for their employer and result in termination of employment for the driver. There is an extra burden for transport truck drivers to protect their driving record as any conviction can directly impact their employment and employability.

Novice drivers such as G1, G2, M1, or M2 drivers are especially vulnerable when an accident occurs. Such drivers may already be considered high-risk or nearly high-risk for insurance coverage. A conviction could result in elevated insurance costs being very high or being completely out of reach. Novice driver licences are also subject to escalated sanctions penalties for any offence carrying 4 or more demerit points which can result in a suspension or revocation of their driver’s licence.

Before providing a statement to the police or deciding how to proceed after being charged, you will need basic information to make an informed decision. It is important to know your rights, the consequences of a conviction, and what legal options are available to you. Any statement that you make to the police may be written down to be used against you at court. An uniformed guilty plea or unintended legal misstep can have enormous, life-altering consequences that you are not aware of.

The most common collision-related charges under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act are:
Offence Demerit Points Fine*
Careless Driving 6 $400 – $2,000
Careless Driving – Bodily Injury / Death 6 $2,000 – $50,000
Start from Stopped Position Not in Safety 2 $85
Fail to Remain 7 $400 – $2,000
Fail to Give Required Information 7 $400 – $2,000
Disobey Stop Sign 3 $150
Improper Left Turn 2 $85
Change Lane Not in Safety 2 $85
Fail to Yield to Pedestrian 3 $150
Amber Light Fail to Stop 3 $150
Red Light Fail to Stop 3 $260
* Court fines are also subject to the victim fine surcharge and $5.00 court cost. Commercial motor vehicle drivers can also face CVOR point penalties as follows:
Offence CVOR Points
Careless Driving 5
Careless Driving – Bodily Injury / Death 5
Start from Stopped Position Not in Safety 5
Fail to Remain 5
Fail to Give Required Information 3
Disobey Stop Sign 3
Improper Left Turn 5
Change Lane Not in Safety 5
Fail to Yield to Pedestrian 5
Amber Light Fail to Stop 3
Red Light Fail to Stop 5
If you are charged by the police you should contact OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services for a free consultation.