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What Are The Consequences Of A Traffic Ticket Conviction?

Traffic tickets are fairly common place in Ontario.  If you haven’t yourself received a traffic ticket, you almost certainly have had a friend or family member that has received one from the police.  Whether you pay it or fight it depends on how serious the consequences of the conviction are.  Will a specific charge from the police result in a small court penalty and minimal impact to your licence?  Or will a conviction result in serious court penalties such as a large fine, imprisonment, or a suspension of your driver’s licence?  A conviction at court can also have an impact on employment or employability, especially if you are a commercial motor vehicle driver such as a transport truck driver.

Let’s take a look!

What Do I Need To Know About My Traffic Ticket?

Generally, there are two main ways that you will be charged by the police.  The first method is through what most people would call ‘a ticket.’  Generally tickets are issued for more minor violations of the law.  The ticket will contain your name, address, driver’s licence number, CVOR number if you are a commercial motor vehicle driver, court location, court file number, as well as the date, time, and nature of your offence.  A ticket will list the total-payable fine for your offence which consists of the set fine plus victim fine surcharge and $5.00 court cost fee. 

The ticket does not list how many demerit points or CVOR points are tied to the offence nor does the ticket explain if it could trigger a suspension of your driver’s licence.  A ticket also provides no specific information regarding its impact to insurance costs.

A summons is similar to a ticket, but has some key differences.  First, a summons is generally issued under one of two conditions:

  • The offence that you are being charged with is a serious offence and/or carries very serious court penalties upon conviction
  • You are being charged by the police at a later time than the actual time of offence

A summons does not list a specific court fine.  Any court penalties such as the size of court fine or the length of imprisonment or suspension of licence are determined by the court upon conviction.  The court penalties can be influenced by your driving history and the details of your offence.  A summons also includes a mandatory ‘first appearance’ court date along with the the time, date, and location that you or your legal representative must be present at court.

An important fact:  Ignoring a ticket or summons is a very bad idea.  If you ignore your offence notice, you may be convicted with no say in your defence or what penalties should be issued against you.  The court may also choose to issue a warrant for your arrest. Failing to pay a court fine, whether or not you are aware of it, will result in a suspension of your driver’s licence.  Ignoring legal matters will almost always make your situation worse. 

What Court Fines Can I Expect?

The size of a court fine depends on what offence(s) you have committed and whether you were charged by way of a ticket or a summons.  Here are a few examples of common offences and their total-payable fines when issued by way of ticket:

Offence Total-Payable Fine
Fail To Surrender Insurance Card $65.00
Drive M/V – No Licence $325.00
Drive With Handheld Communication Device $615.00
Red Light Fail To Stop $325.00
Follow Too Closely $110.00
Driver Fail To Properly Wear Seatbelt $240.00
Careless Driving $490.00

However, if a charge is issued by way of a summons, the size of the actual court-imposed fine could be significantly higher.  Here is a look at the penalty sections for Careless Driving depending on whether or not bodily harm or death was involved: 

Penalty without bodily harm or death

(2) On conviction under subsection (1), a person is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.

Penalty with bodily harm or death

(4) On conviction under subsection (3), a person is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than five years. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.

Keep in mind that any court fine issued within these ranges is also subject to the victim fine surcharge as follows: 

Fine Range ($) Surcharge ($)
0-50 10
51-75 15
76-100 20
101-150 25
151-200 35
201-250 50
251-300 60
301-350 75
351-400 85
401-450 95
451-500 110
501-1000 125
Over 1000 25% of actual fine

This means that a conviction for Careless Driving issued by way of a summons could result in a maximum total-payable fine of $2,500.00 or even as high as $62,500.00 if bodily harm or death were involved.

Can My Court Fine Be Higher if a Community Safety Zone Was Involved?

Yes.  Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act section 214.1 deals specifically with community safety zones (CSZ).  Committing an offence in an area such as a school zone, construction zone, or any other area designated as a ‘community safety zone’ can result in higher court fines.  For example, here a few common offences along with their regular and CSZ fines for charges issued by way of a ticket:

Offence Total Fine Total CSZ Fine
Drive On Closed Highway $110.00 $150.00
Disobey Stop Sign $110.00 $150.00
Red Light Fail To Stop $325.00 $490.00
Amber Light Fail To Stop $180.00 $365.00
Disobey Lane Light $110.00 $150.00

How Many Demerit Points Am I Facing?

Upon your conviction at court, demerit points are applied to your driving record by the Ministry of Transportation.  Demerit points are active for two years from your original date of offence.  Some of the more common demerit point penalties are as follows:

Offence Demerit Points
Speeding +1 to +15 0
Speeding +16 to +29 3
Speeding +30 to +49 4
Speeding +50 or more 6
Race Motor Vehicle 6
Disobey Stop Sign 3
Red Light Fail To Stop 3
Careless Driving 6
Fail To Remain 7
Fail To Stop For School Bus 6
Failing To Stop For Police 7

A new driver starts out with a clean driving history and zero demerit points.  As you accumulate demerit points, you can be issued an MTO warning letter, be required to attend a mandatory MTO interview (that you must pay to attend), or have your licence automatically suspended.

For a driver with a full licence, the consequences of accumulating demerit points are as follows:

2 to 8 points:
You will be sent a warning letter.

9 to 14 points:
Your licence could be suspended. You may have to attend an interview to discuss your driving record. At this meeting, you will need to provide reasons why your licence should not be suspended.

If you have to attend an interview, you will get a letter (Notice of Interview) to notify you of the time, date and location of the meeting. If you do not attend, your licence could be suspended.

The fee for a demerit point interview is $50 and must be paid in person at any ServiceOntario Centre. You can pay the fee when you receive the Notice of Interview or within 10 business days of attending the interview. Failure to pay the interview fee will result in the cancellation of your driver’s licence.

15+ points:
Your licence will be suspended for 30 days.

When your licence is suspended, you will get a letter from the Ministry of Transportation. It will tell you the date your suspension takes effect and that you need to surrender your licence.

If you do not surrender your licence, you can lose your licence for up to two years.

Novice drivers (i.e. G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L or M2-L licences) face the following consequences:

2 to 5 points:
You will be sent a warning letter.

6 to 8 points:
Your licence could be suspended. You may have to attend an interview to discuss your driving record. At this meeting, you will need to provide reasons why your licence should not be suspended.

If you have to attend an interview, you will get a letter (Notice of Interview) to notify you of the time, date and location of the meeting. If you do not attend, your licence could be suspended.

The fee for a demerit point interview is $50 and must be paid in person at any ServiceOntario Centre. You can pay the fee when you receive the Notice of Interview or within 10 business days of attending the interview. Failure to pay the interview fee will result in the cancellation of your driver’s licence.

9 or more points:
Your licence will be suspended for 60 days.

When your licence is suspended, you will get a letter from the Ministry of Transportation. It will tell you the date your suspension takes effect and that you need to surrender your licence.

If you do not surrender your licence, you can lose your licence for up to two years.

Further, novice drivers can also be subject to escalated sanctions penalties under various conditions as follows:

  • For a first offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 30 days.
  • For a second offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 90 days.
  • For a third offence: you will lose your novice licence.  You will need to re-apply for your licence and start all over, taking all tests and paying all fees. You will also lose any time discount you earned, any time you were credited, and any fees you have paid.

Can I get CVOR Points For My Traffic Ticket?

Yes.  CVOR Points can vary wildly from the demerit point penalty for the same offence.  Many of the most common CVOR point penalties are listed on our CVOR Point Penalty page.  For example, while travelling at 21 km/h over the posted speed limit carries 3 demerit points, it would also carry 5 CVOR points if convicted.  That’s the same (and highest possible!) CVOR point penalty as a conviction for Careless Driving.  Such a conviction could result in termination of employment and difficulty in finding new employment in the transportation industry.

Both the driver and the employer have a strong interest in fighting any charge that occurs with a commercial motor vehicle.  Sometimes a driver simply pays a ticket not understanding the consequences of that conviction.  The employer later discovers the record of conviction against the company along with the related CVOR points and now has a problem.  The employer may have to terminate an else wise good employee and the legal options for the driver and employer in addressing that conviction may now be very limited.

If you are charged by the police, contact our office immediately so that we can help guide you through these issues.

What Will A Conviction Do To My Insurance Costs?

Increases to insurance costs can often times easily exceed the court fine that was incurred by a conviction.  An extended period of not being insurable could also readily exceed any suspension of driver’s licence issued by the court or MTO.  What appears to be a minor violation could result in thousands of dollars of additional insurance costs.

What OTHER PENALTIES COULD I GET AT COURT?

While a court fine is the most common penalty issued by the court, many offences can also include potential imprisonment or the suspension of your licence.  Driver’s licence suspensions can come from the court and from the MTO.  If you are uncertain what penalties your offence(s) may carry, speak with one of our staff who can help you out.

What Should I Do If I’m Charged By The Police?

if you are charged by the police, contact our office immediately.  Once you have been charged by the police, a clock will be ticking on either your filing deadline with the court or on the date when you or your legal representative must be at court for your first appearance hearing.  You will need to make important decisions that may have a serious impact on your life for years to come.  To make those decisions you will need to know basic information such as the penalties your are facing and what your legal options are.

Our friendly staff are here to help you.  The majority of the cases that we assist our clients with can be resolved without their ever needing to step foot in a court room or file a legal document.  Generally, fighting a ticket is more cost-effective than pleading guilty and accepting the consequences of that conviction.  Put our licenced paralegals in the court room on your behalf to fight for your interests.

Our staff can be reached via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869, by text at 226-240-2480, or by email at info@otdlegal.ca.  You can also submit an online consultation request any time of the day or night and one of our staff will contact you during regular business hours to assist you.

Posted under Traffic Ticket Defence, CVOR Points, Demerit Points, Suspended Licence

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