The Highway Traffic Act and Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act carry a wide range of offences carrying penalties that equally range from a small slap on the wrist to large fines, licence suspension, and even jail. Our team at OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services frequently help clients with offences that fall along this spectrum of severity. So, what are some of the most serious offences that we assist our clients with?
Operate Motor Vehicle – No Insurance, contrary to Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (CAIA) section 2(1)(a), is a very common serious offence issued in Ontario. When a fine is issued against a defendant, there are two components. The first component is the fine stated in the relevant section of law; the second is the victim fine surcharge (25 % of the base fine for Provincial Prosecution matters). A first conviction for driving without valid insurance carries a base fine ranging for $5,000.00 to $25,000.00 for a total payable fine ranging from $6,250.00 to $31,250.00. For a second or later offence, the range of fine doubles from a minimum total payable fine of $12,500.00 to a maximum total payable of $62,500.00. Upon conviction, the court may also issue a driver’s licence suspension up to one year. CAIA section 2(1)(b) lays out identical penalties for permitting an uninsured vehicle to be driven by another person.
Under CAIA section 13.1, the possessing, giving, selling, distributing, or providing to a police officer for inspection of a false or invalid proof of insurance carries even more severe penalties. Fines for a first conviction range from a minimum total payable fine of $12,500.00 to $62,500.00 and doubles to a range of $25,000.00 to $125,000.00 on a second or later offence. Such large fines can be a crippling financial burden to the average person and are generally far in excess of the cost of obtaining valid insurance for a vehicle.
Drive Under Suspension, contrary to Highway Traffic Act (HTA) section 53, is another very common serious offence that we assist clients with. On a first offence, a total payable fine ranges from a minimum of $1,250.00 up to a maximum of $6,250.00. On a second or later offence, the minimum total payable fine doubles to $2,500.00 and the maximum remains at $6,250.00. If the original cause for licence suspension is due to one of the various causes defined under HTA section 41 or 42, the total payable fine jumps to a range of $6,250.00 to $31,250.00 on a first offence and $12,500.00 to $62,500.00 on a second or later offence.
Upon conviction under HTA section 53, there is also a mandatory 6 month driver’s licence suspension that unfortunately can not be reduced or waived by the court. A conviction for driving with a suspended licence can also result in a period of imprisonment not to exceed more than six months. Generally, although not guaranteed, imprisonment is unlikely on a first conviction for driving with a suspended licence. However, subsequent convictions are much more likely to result in a term of imprisonment being issued (generally increasing in duration with each subsequent conviction).
Careless Driving, contrary to HTA section 130, is a very common offence issued to drivers who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision. This offence carries one of the largest possible demerit point penalties of six demerits (7 demerit points being the largest possible penalty). Depending upon how the offence has been issued against the defendant, Careless Driving fines may either result in a fixed fine or a total payable fine ranging up to a maximum of $2,500.00. Upon conviction, where the details of the offence warrant, a term of imprisonment up to six months may also be issued against the defendant. The defendant’s driver’s licence can also be suspended for up to a two year period by the court.
These are only a few of the very serious offences that we assist our clients with. If you have been charged with any of these offences or another serious offence, it is important to understand what penalties may be issued against you and what potential defences and outcomes are possible by having your defence provided at court. Where an outright defence can not be argued to have charge(s) withdrawn or dismissed, most remaining cases can generally be negotiated to reduce the number or nature of the charges and penalties. The benefits of hiring licenced and experienced legal representation in protecting your interests will generally exceed the costs of doing so.