A failure-to-yield ticket can be written after an accident or issued as the result of an officer observing you driving in a way that put others at risk. In either case, there are significant penalties that you must be aware of. Do not plead guilty until you understand the effects of the ticket and how an experienced paralegal can help.
What the Law Says About Yielding to Traffic
Section 136.1(b) of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario discusses yielding to traffic at a stop sign after stopping. The law states, "Every driver approaching a stop sign at an intersection shall yield the right of way to traffic in the intersection or approaching the intersection on another roadway so closely that to proceed would constitute an immediate hazard and, having so yielded the right of way, may proceed."
Section 139.1 of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario discusses yielding when entering a roadway from another road. The law states, "Every driver entering a roadway from a private road or driveway shall yield the right of way to all traffic approaching on the highway/roadway so closely that to enter would constitute an immediate hazard."
The Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver's Handbook adds, "Remember, signalling does not give you the right-of-way. You must make sure the way is clear."
Please note that failure to yield to a pedestrian is considered a separate offence with enhanced penalties that reflect the added vulnerability of those who are walking or biking to their destination. In some cases, failing to yield to a pedestrian may lead to careless driving charges that can result in a loss of your licence for up to two years.
Penalties for a Failure to Yield Ticket
A failure-to-yield ticket carries the following penalties:
- Three demerit points on your licence
- $110 fine
- An automatic government victim surcharge
If this is not your first ticket, demerit points can put you at risk of losing your driving privileges. If you have a G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L, or M2-L licence, having nine or more points on your licence results in a suspension. If you have a full licence, having 15 or more points on your licence will result in a suspension. You receive points for all offences in Ontario, as well as those in other Canadian provinces and territories, the State of Michigan, and the State of New York. The points stay on your driving record for two years.
How a Ticket Will Affect Your Insurance Rates
If your failure to yield results in an accident, your conviction will result in two strikes against your insurance: one for the accident and one for the traffic ticket. Having two strikes on your insurance policy will cause your rates to increase for a minimum of three years. Additional increases may be possible if you have other offences on your driving record or if you do not hold a full licence. In many cases, you may be facing a rate increase of 25% to 50%—which equals several hundred dollars in additional premiums.
Understanding What Choices You Have After Receiving a Ticket for Failure to Yield
There should be a response deadline printed on the ticket you received, which is normally 15 days from the date the ticket was issued. This is how long you have to determine how you wish to handle the situation.
Ontario drivers have three options for dealing with any traffic ticket.
Accept the penalties.
With this option, you sign the ticket, plead guilty, and submit payment of the fine and government victim surcharge.
Plead guilty with an explanation.
If you choose this option, you'll go to the courthouse and meet with a justice of the peace who can adjust your fine or give you additional time to pay the penalty.
Dispute the charge.
If you want to dispute the charge, you can work with an experienced paralegal to build a defence at trial.
How an Experienced Paralegal Can Help
If you're embarrassed by your mistake and eager to put the incident behind you, it may be tempting to simply plead guilty and accept the consequences. However, an experienced paralegal can often help you build a strong defence to a failure-to-yield ticket.
Contrary to popular opinion, your ticket won't get thrown out because it wasn't signed, the officer didn't appear at court, or there was a minor error identifying your vehicle. However, it may be possible to defend a ticket for an officer-observed offence by having your paralegal cross-examine the officer to dispute their interpretation of the events or put you on the stand to give your side of the story. If the ticket is from an accident, it may be possible to argue that the evidence better supports a lesser offence or to submit an argument that allows for the exclusion of critical evidence against you.
Sometimes, drivers who've received tickets for failure to yield hesitate to retain legal representation because they do not want to make a court appearance. However, your paralegal can normally handle the matter on your behalf after your initial consultation. This means you will not need to attend the trial unless you wish to do so.
Do You Need To Defend Yourself Against An Ontario Traffic Ticket?
If you need to defend your driving rights against an Ontario traffic ticket you should contact us as soon as possible. We have skill and experience in helping drivers just like you respond to a variety of traffic tickets and provide free, confidential consultations to empower you to fight your charges. We help drivers throughout Ontario including Cambridge, Georgetown, London, Windsor and from our home office in Kitchener. Contact us online or call us directly at 1.844.647.6869 or text us a copy of your ticket to 226.240.2480.