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What is a Careless Driving Ticket?

Question:  

My daughter came home tonight and has been given a ticket for careless driving. What is this and what do we need to do about it?

Response:  

A charge of Careless Driving is a very serious offence with serious implications for licencing and insurance. There will need to be a few key details clarified that will allow us to best help your daughter. I would recommend that your daughter either contact our office by telephone or in person so that we can discuss the what has happened, and her legal options.

Careless Driving (under section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act) states:

 

Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction 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 licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years.

 

As you can tell by the first sentence, the description of what qualifies as Careless Driving is fairly broad and ambiguous. We have had clients charged under this section of law for incidents ranging from serious collisions involving high speed, injuries, and blatant disregard for the safety of other drivers, down to minor lane change concerns where no collision was involved. We will need to determine the exact details of what lead to your daughter being charged by the police. Fortunately, we have the right to a full disclosure of any Police Officer notes and witness statements in evaluating the merits of the Prosecutor’s case against her.

It is uncommon for such cases to result in a full trial and where possible we can work on a client’s behalf to determine whether there is a legal basis to simply have the charge withdrawn by the Prosecutor, or if the charge can be negotiated down to a lesser minor offence to protect her driving history, licence, and insurance. If her case can be resolved without the need for trial, it is very likely that she will not need to attend any court appearances.  

Given the serious consequences of a conviction, it is important that she protects her personal interests in this matter. A Careless Driving conviction carries some of the most serious consequences under the Highway Traffic Act. A conviction will result in a record of conviction on her driving record and a 6 demerit point penalty. Depending upon any previous demerit point penalties on her driving record, or if she has a G1 or G2 licence, she may have her driver’s licence suspended and a record of that suspension entered into her driving record. Careless Driving convictions will also generally mean no longer qualifying for standard insurance coverage. If your daughter is forced to seek out high risk insurance coverage, the cost of such a policy may be prohibitive to her being able to obtain insurance.

There are generally two manners in which a Careless Driving offence will be issued. The lesser of the two is a standard ticket that will be resolved at court with a municipal prosecutor. The more serious version is issued on a summons (with a first court date listed on it) that will be resolved with a provincial prosecutor. The latter of these two can result in higher fines and additional driver’s licence suspension being issued by the court.

We offer a no cost, no obligation initial consultation to review the basic details of a case and would be happy to speak with your daughter. I would recommend contacting our office as early as possible via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869 to book an appointment or to review her matter by telephone. We do accept walk-in clients, however booking an appointment in advance will help to avoid any delays in meeting with one of our staff. We can also be reached by email at info@otdlegal.ca.

Posted under Careless Driving, Demerit Points, Traffic Ticket Defence

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