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Legal Ticket Defense For Careless Driving In Ontario
Get Your Careless Driving Charge Dismissed In Ontario
Have you received a Careless Driving charge in Ontario? Our team of Lawyers and Paralegals at OTD Legal can help! Careless Driving under the Highway Traffic Act is a very commonly issued charge. In many cases, a charge of Careless Driving involves a collision with another vehicle. However, this is not always the case. Erratic driving by speeding or a dangerous maneuver while driving such as unsafe passing may also generate a ticket for Careless Driving. Even eating or putting makeup on while driving can result in a Careless Driving charge if the act affects your driving. The wording for the charge is purposely vague and wide to allow for the police to use this charge after an investigation to cover a variety of incidents. Whatever the reason for the charge, Careless Driving is a very serious offence you do not want on your drivers record!
Types of Careless Driving Offences
There are three main types of Careless Driving Offences, each with its own penalties:
Careless Driving ticket;
Careless Driving summons;
Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death summons;
Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Definition of Careless Driving
According to section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act: “(1) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or streetcar on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17. Penalty (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 license or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17. Careless driving causing bodily harm or death (3) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or streetcar on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and who thereby causes bodily harm or death to any person. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17. Penalty (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 license or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than five years. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17. Deemed lack of reasonable consideration (5) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (3), a person is deemed to drive without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway if he or she drives in a manner that may limit his or her ability to prudently adjust to changing circumstances on the highway. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17. Sentencing – aggravating factor (6) A court that imposes a sentence for an offence under subsection (3) shall consider as an aggravating factor evidence that bodily harm or death was caused to a person who, in the circumstances of the offence, was vulnerable to a lack of due care and attention or reasonable consideration by a driver, including by virtue of the fact that the person was a pedestrian or cyclist. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.”
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Fight Your Careless Driving Ticket
If you are charged with Careless Driving, it is important to immediately contact OTD Legal Services. We will provide you with important information about your charge to make an informed decision on how to move forward. A poorly thought out or rash decision can have serious, life-altering consequences for years into the future. A legal misstep in the early stages of your defence can be the difference between a conviction, reaching a resolution to a lesser offence, or having the charge withdrawn or dismissed completely at court. It is common to feel guilty or even angry when you receive this type of ticket. It is strongly recommended that you seek a professional opinion on what your options might be. There is hope! There is help!
Hire a Lawyer or Paralegal for Help
Hiring a Lawyer or Paralegal to represent you at court will ensure that you are making informed decisions and avoiding legal missteps. It is also very possible that your matter will be resolved without the stress and anxiety of you having to attend court. Your paralegal is your legal voice and your advocate. They know the law and the court process and are there to fight for your best interests. They will provide you with legal advice throughout your case, ensuring that you are making informed decisions.
Fight Your Ticket in Court Alone
- You need to file a ticket with a court in order to receive a date with a prosecutor.
- It will take at least 2-3 court appearances in order to fight a Careless Driving ticket. For most people, this means taking time off from work.
- You need to schedule a trial date with the appropriate court and prepare for it.
- Keep in mind that you will be questioned about every fact from the date that you were caught driving carelessly.
- If you are late for court or miss an appearance, you will be convicted.
- The court is adversarial and creates tension and stress, often increasing the risk of making a mistake.
Once you have retained OTD Legal Services, that’s when the legal work starts. One of the biggest benefits of hiring a legal representative is that they take care of the court filings and legal work for you. They will also know exactly which prosecutor to speak with based on experience. Much of the system is subjective, meaning the experience of knowing the personality of a prosecutor or of a Justice of the Peace is very important. Often this makes the difference between success and failure.
If you have received a ticket, that ticket will need to be filed with the court and then you will want to follow up with the court staff to ensure that the filing has been processed correctly. It is important to note that you have 15 days to respond to the ticket. If you are late, you risk being convicted for not responding.
If you are in the middle of a reopening or an appeal, that paperwork will need to be drafted by your legal representatives and then properly served and filed with the appropriate courts and offices.
If you have been issued a summons, your offence notice will already have a first appearance court date set that your legal representative will attend for you. You should expect to see many court dates as your matter moves through the system. It is extremely rare for a matter to be completed on the first court date.
Once your legal representative has obtained the prosecutor’s evidence or any necessary court transcripts, they will meet with the prosecutor on your behalf. This meeting is referred to as a resolution meeting. The two sides will review the evidence and discuss the legal merits of that evidence. They will first determine whether or not the charge(s) can be withdrawn or if there is a strong legal argument that the charge(s) would be dismissed at trial. Arguing to simply have the charge(s) withdrawn without the need for trial is the best resolution!
If the Prosecutor’s evidence is sufficient for them to proceed to trial, the next step would be for the two sides to discuss potential issues. If there are no issues and the evidence against you could reasonably lead to a conviction at trial, your legal representative will then negotiate within your written instructions using mitigating arguments to get you the best resolution possible.
If no mutually agreeable resolution can be reached, then your case may either need to be argued at trial or it may be necessary to engage in further resolution meetings.
Trials can be very stressful for self-represented defendants. They generally don’t know the law or the court process. They have to face off in the courtroom against an experienced and trained prosecutor. Self-represented defendants may expose themselves to being a witness that can be cross-examined by the prosecutor. Statistically, the end results are generally poor for defendants who choose to represent themselves. The idea of having to appear before a Justice of the Peace or questioning the police officer that charged them can also be very intimidating and stressful.
Careless Driving Ticket Penalties
In Ontario, there are two ways that a Careless Driving offence can be issued.
The first is by getting what most people would refer to as a ‘ticket.’ These are simpler matters that are prosecuted by a Municipal or MTO Prosecutor. These tickets are called Part 1 matters and have a set fine amount on the ticket. By paying the ticket, you are pleading guilty to the charge as is and you will receive all the associated penalties.
The second means of being charged is by way of a summons. These matters are prosecuted by a Provincial Crown Prosecutor or an MTO Prosecutor, depending on whether or not the driver is a commercial motor vehicle driver. These cases generally go through more court appearances and carry much greater penalties. They are known as Part 3 matters and have no indicated fine amount. The fines are decided in court in front of a Justice of the Peace or Judge. These fines are usually thousands of dollars.
If you have been charged with Careless Driving, you could face some or all of the following penalties:
- A court fine
- License Suspension
- Demerit Points
- CVOR Points
- A significant insurance increase or simply being uninsurable
Generally, the more severe your offence is, the more severe the penalties that you will be facing.
|Summons||$490 to $2,500||6||Up to 6 months||Up to 2 years|
|Summons with injury or death||$2,500 to $62, 500||6||Up to 2 years||Up to 5 years|
A Careless Driving ticket lists the basic information about the offence along with a fixed fine. The base set fine is $400 but comes out to a total of $490 once the victim fine surcharge is added in.
A Careless Driving summons carries a total-payable fine ranging between $490.00 and $2,500.00.
If the Careless Driving offence involved bodily harm or death, the total-payable fine can range between $2,500.00 and $62,500.00.
Careless Driving charges carry a penalty of 6 demerit points, whether it was issued as a ticket or by summons.
One of the worst possible consequences for a driver is to have their license suspended. The ability to drive is integral to the day-to-day responsibilities of modern life, whether you live rurally or in a large city. The suspension will appear independently on your driving record and usually increases your insurance rate significantly.
A suspension can occur due to accumulating too many demerit points for your class of driver’s license. A suspension will also occur due to having a G1 class license or G2 class license and receiving a conviction for any single offence carrying 4 or more demerit points.
If charged by Summons, you could lose your license for up to 5 years.
If convicted by Summons, the court may issue a term of imprisonment up to 6 months. In cases where the Careless Driving offence involved bodily harm or death, you could face imprisonment of up to 2 years.
A conviction for Careless Driving can result in a 5 CVOR point penalty
Consequences for Novice Drivers
Novice drivers are drivers with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 license. These licenses are more fragile than a full G or M license. They allow for fewer demerit points to be accumulated before a warning, interview, or suspension is issued by the MTO. They are also subject to the following escalating sanctions penalties in the event of a conviction of an offence (for example, Careless Driving) that carries 4 or more demerit points:
- 30-day license suspension for the first occurrence
- 90-day license suspension for the second occurrence
- License cancellation and a requirement to re-apply for a G1/M1 after the third occurrence. Any fees paid, credit received for time spent in the program or BDE credit would be forfeited when the license is cancelled. Please note that in the case of a hybrid driver, only the novice-class license is cancelled on the third occasion; their full-class license is maintained.
Consequences for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers
Commercial motor vehicle drivers such as transport truck drivers can be hit especially hard by a Careless Driving charge. Given the size and weight of a transport truck along with the value of the vehicle and cargo, a collision can result in greater injuries and greater financial losses. In addition to the demerit points, fines, insurance costs, imprisonment, and suspension of driver’s license that are at the court’s discretion, commercial motor vehicle drivers also have to worry about CVOR points. A conviction for Careless Driving carries 5 CVOR points, and can result in termination of employment, and difficulty in finding new employment. Too many CVOR points can also trigger a Ministry of Transportation audit, possibly resulting in more charges.
Insurance Rates and a Careless Driving Conviction
A conviction for Careless Driving can also result in being placed on high-risk insurance. Your insurance broker is your most reliable source of information on the potential impact of a conviction. Generally, they will consider the severity of the new offence along with your driving history and experience in calculating their risk assessment and your insurance rate. If the risk assessment is high, your current insurance policy may be cancelled and you will be required to seek out high-risk insurance. The more offences on your driving record and the greater the severity of those offences, the greater the expense of obtaining automobile insurance. Once your risk assessment reaches a certain point, you will no longer qualify for standard insurance coverage and will have to seek out high-risk insurance coverage that is very expensive to obtain. In many cases, this results in a loss of ability to drive.
Your driving record can be impacted by several factors, such as convictions, demerit points or license suspensions.
|Action||Time on your driver’s abstract|
|Careless Driving Conviction||3 years after the date of conviction|
|Demerit Points||2 years from the date of offence|
|License Suspension||6 years|
Have You Been Charged With Careless Driving In Ontario?
If you’ve been charged with Careless Driving in Ontario you should contact OTD Legal Services as soon as possible. We have the skill and experience in helping drivers just like you respond to accusations of Careless Driving and provide free, confidential consultations to empower you to fight your charges. We help drivers throughout Ontario including Kitchener, Georgetown, London, Windsor and from our home office in Cambridge. Contact us online, call us directly at 1-844-647-6869, or text a copy of your ticket to 226-240-2480.