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Your Questions Answered – Part 2

If you enjoyed our previous article on some of the most common questions that we get asked and some of the most common things that people need to know, we’ve got more for you!  Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act are complicated pieces of law.  Even Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) can be complicated when it comes to licencing and suspension issues.  Every day our administrative and paralegal staff work with defendants to make sure that they are making informed decisions to protect themselves at court along with their licencing and insurance concerns.

The only thing worse than no information, is incorrect information.  The Internet is full of websites with either incorrect, partial, or outdated information.  Even the police can provide incorrect information at roadside.  If you’ve been charged by the police, the best advise is to contact our office and speak with one of our friendly staff so that you can get the best up-to-date information specific to your situation.

Let’s take a look at some more frequently asked questions!

How Do Demerit Points Work For Speeding Tickets?

Demerit points and driver’s licences are controlled by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO).  If you are charged by the police and convicted at court, that record of conviction then goes to the MTO.  The MTO then enters that record of conviction against your driving history along with a demerit point penalty.  Demerit point penalties can range anywhere from 0 demerit points for very minor offences, up to a maximum of 7 demerit points for the most serious offences.

Speeding offences are broken down into 4 ranges of offence.  The further that a rate of speeding falls into those ranges, the greater the penalties become:

Rate of Speeding (km/h)

Demerit Points

+1 to +15

0

+16 to +29

3

+30 to +49

4

+50 or greater

6

How Do CVOR Points Work For Speeding Tickets?

Just as normal drivers have to be careful about their driving record and their demerit points, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers have to be careful about their employer’s CVOR record and CVOR points.  CVOR points work very differently than demerit points do for speeding offences.  

CVOR points for speeding charges fall into only 3 ranges of offence (unlike the 4 ranges for demerit points) and the penalties increase much more quickly than for demerit points:

Rate of Speeding (km/h)

CVOR Points

+1 to +10

2

+11 to +20

3

+21 or greater

5

One of the scenarios that we see on a relatively frequent basis is a truck driver that has received a speeding ticket for 21 km/h or more over the posted speed limit that has simply paid the ticket.  By not understanding how that speeding ticket will impact the employer, they are surprised when their employment is later terminated or they run into trouble with the company.  Speeding in this top range results in the company receiving 5 CVOR points against their record.  This is the highest possible penalty that can be issued for any offence under the Highway Traffic Act including Careless Driving.

If you are a transport truck driver or a driver any other type of commercial motor vehicle, it is important to always seek out the relevant legal information needed any time you are charged by the police.  Your driving record is your resume and some seemingly simple offences can carry a surprisingly large CVOR point penalty.  Not only can an uniformed decision impact your current employment, it can be problems finding a new employer if your current employment is terminated.

Can I Be Charged With Race Motor Vehicle If I Wasn’t Racing?

Yes.  The wording of “Race Motor Vehicle” or “Stunt Driving” can be misleading.  After being charged by the police a defendant may be confused about why they were given this charge.  They may explain that they weren’t racing with another vehicle or even near other vehicle.  They may also explain that they weren’t performing a stunt of any kind with their vehicle.  So why were they charged?

Even looking at the exact text of Highway Traffic Act (HTA) section 172(1), a driver may still not understand why they got such a serious charge from the police:

Racing, stunts, etc., prohibited

172 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager.  2007, c. 13, s. 21.

If we parse this sentence, there are four extremely brief conditions under which this offence can be issued:

  • Race
  • Contest
  • Performing a stunt
  • On a bet or wager

Looking at these four conditions may still leave a defendant confused about why they were charged with such a serious offence.  After all a stunt driving offence carries a potential court fine between $2,000.00 and $10,000.00 (a total-payable fine of $2,500.00 to $12,500.00 once the victim fine surcharge has been included), up to a 2 or 10 year suspension of driver’s licence depending on whether or not the charge is a first offence, and even up to 6 months of imprisonment.

To understand why a stunt driving or racing offence can be issued in such a wide range of scenarios, it is necessary to dig into a piece of law that most Ontarians would not be familiar with.  Ontario Regulation 455/07 deals specifically with the legal definitions under which a charge can be laid under HTA s.172(1). 

These legal grounds include:

  • Competing or racing with another vehicle
  • Driving at 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit
  • Chasing another vehicle
  • Driving without due care and attention
  • Lifting some or all of a vehicle’s tires from the road
  • Driving where the tires lose traction with the road
  • Spinning or turning a vehicle in an uncontrolled manner
  • Driving beside another vehicle while in the oncoming lane of traffic for a prolonged period of time
  • Driving with someone in the trunk of the vehicle
  • Driving while not in the driver’s seat
  • Purposely preventing others from passing
  • Purposely stopping or slowing to interfere with other traffic
  • Driving unreasonably close as possible to another vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object on or near the highway
  • Turning left at an intersection across vehicles with the right of way in the opposite direction upon the light turning green.

This is a very broad range of scenarios that would surprise most people.  Regardless of the legal basis of the stunt driving offence being issued, it is important to protect yourself as effectively as possible at court.  On top of the court penalties, a conviction would also result in 6 demerit points and include the risk of being placed into very expensive ‘high risk’ insurance.

If I’m Convicted of Drive Under Suspension Will My Suspension Be Extended?

Yes.  Driving under suspension is a very serious offence with very serious penalties.  There can be any number of grounds under which a driver’s licence can be suspended.  Unpaid court fines, court imposed suspensions, failing to meet FRO obligations, medical suspensions, demerit point suspensions, escalated sanctions suspensions for novice drivers, and roadside suspensions are just a few of the grounds under which a licence can be suspended in Ontario.  

If you are convicted for driving under suspension, Highway Traffic Act section 53(3) states that:

Licence suspended

(3) The driver’s licence of a person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) or (1.1) is thereupon suspended for a period of six months in addition to any other period for which the licence is suspended, and consecutively thereto.  R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 53 (3); 1998, c. 5, s. 25 (2).

The important part of this paragraph is the phrase “in addition to any other period for which the licence is suspended, and consecutively thereto.”  The additional 6 month suspension of your licence will not begin to expire until any other grounds for your licence suspension have been removed.

I’ve Got More Questions!

If you have a question that wasn’t answered here, ask us and we’ll try to answer it in a future article!  We’ve represented clients across every court in Ontario across a incredibly broad range of common and uncommon charges.  We help both regular and commercial motor vehicle drivers in protecting themselves against court penalties, licencing problems, and insurance problems.  It never hurts to ask questions and asking questions makes sure that you are making informed legal decisions.  An uninformed legal decision can result in else-wise avoidable penalties from the court, the MTO, and your insurance company.

If you have been charged by the police, contact our office and one of our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.  We offer a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation to go through your case history and details with you.  We can be contacted via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869, by email at info@otdlegal.ca, or by text at 226-240-2480.  You can also submit an online consultation request any time of day or night and one of our staff will call you back during regular business hours to assist you. 

Posted under Frequently Asked Questions

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