Everyone makes mistakes, so an improper turn ticket is not a reflection of your driving ability. However, your moment of distraction or inattentiveness can have unexpected consequences if you simply plead guilty to the charge. Often, it’s in your best interests to work with an experienced paralegal to minimize the long-term consequences of the offence.
Improper Turn Laws
Before you turn, you must check your mirrors and look over your shoulder so you can see what is behind you and beside you. Signal your intentions well before turning, and do not make the turn until you have enough space to do so safely. Other drivers must be given a reasonable opportunity to avoid a collision.
Improper turns are discussed in section 141 of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario.
For a right turn, the law states: “Where a driver or operator of a vehicle intends to turn to the right into an intersecting highway, he or she shall, where the highway on which he or she is driving has marked lanes for traffic, approach the intersection within the right-hand lane or, where it has no such marked lanes, by keeping immediately to the left of the right curb or edge of the roadway and he or she shall make the right turn by entering the right-hand lane of the intersecting highway where the lane is marked or, where no such lane is marked, by keeping immediately to the left of the right curb or edge of the roadway being entered.”
For a left turn, the law states: “Where a driver or operator of a vehicle intends to turn to the left into an intersecting highway, he or she shall, where the highway on which he or she is driving has marked lanes for traffic, approach the intersection within the left-hand lane provided for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which his or her vehicle is proceeding or, where it has no such marked lanes, by keeping immediately to the right of the centre line of the highway and he or she shall make the left turn by entering the intersection to the right of the centre line or its extension and by leaving the intersection in the left-hand lane provided for the use of traffic moving in the direction in which his or her vehicle is proceeding where the lane is marked or, where no such lane is marked, by passing immediately to the right of the centre line of the intersecting highway.”
Depending on the circumstances, there may be additional laws that are relevant to your case. For example, turning contrary to a sign at an intersection is discussed in section 144(9) of the Highway Traffic Act and disobeying signs is discussed in section 182(2).
If you receive a ticket for an improper turn, the penalty includes:
- Two demerit points on your licence
- A $110 fine
- A government victim surcharge is automatically added to each Ontario traffic ticket to assist victims of various crimes
Improper Turn Tickets Can Have Unexpected Consequences
An improper turn is considered a minor offence. If you are busy with work or family obligations, you may be tempted to simply plead guilty and pay the fine. While this impulse is understandable, it is important to consider that there are consequences to a guilty plea that go beyond the initial penalties.
Demerit points for any traffic offence, including an improper turn, stay on your driving record for two years. If you exceed a certain point threshold, your licence will be suspended. If you have a G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L, or M2-L licence, your licence will be suspended when you accumulate nine or more points. If you have a full licence, you will face a suspension when you accumulate 15 or more points. The point threshold applies to all offences in Ontario, as well as those in other Canadian provinces and territories, the State of Michigan, and the State of New York.
It is also possible that an improper turn ticket can increase your insurance rates. Some insurance companies will forgive a single ticket if you have a full licence and an otherwise clean driving record. However, if you have multiple offences on your record—even if they are all considered minor offences—you could be considered a high-risk driver by your insurance company. This could result in paying hundreds of dollars more in car insurance premiums each year.
Building a Strong Defence
While there is no law requiring you to obtain a paralegal’s assistance when fighting an unsafe turn ticket, winning your case requires a solid understanding of traffic laws. Many drivers mistakenly believe they can fight a ticket by refusing to sign the document or having it dismissed for containing a minor error. A defence built on myths and misconceptions will only waste your time.
Every case is different, and there are additional variables to consider if your ticket is the result of an accident causing property damage or injury. However, an effective defence will generally center on the steps you took to turn safely or argue that the officer didn’t have a good vantage point to see how close you were to the edge of the road when you made your turn.
Let Us Help
Although no ethical paralegal can guarantee that you’ll win your case, working with an experienced paralegal who focuses on motor vehicle law is the best way to fight a ticket for an improper turn.
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.