How to Remove Violations from Your Driving Record in Ontario

Discovering a violation on your driving record can be stressful, especially considering the potential impact on your insurance rates and driving privileges. In Ontario, there are a few options to potentially remove these violations, depending on how they were recorded. 


The Conviction Process

Convictions can appear on your driving record through two main avenues:

Courtroom Conviction: This occurs after a trial where a justice of the peace or judge reviews the evidence and finds you guilty.

Default Conviction: If you fail to respond to a ticket within the given timeframe, the court may automatically assume you wish to plead guilty, resulting in a conviction by default.


Strategies for Addressing Violations

Option 1: Reopening the Case

If your conviction resulted from a missed court date or a lapse in responding to your ticket, you might be eligible for a reopening. This process involves:

  • Applying for an administrative review outside of the courtroom.
  • Presenting your case to a judicial official, typically a Justice of the Peace, explaining why you failed to respond initially.
  • If approved, the case is reopened, effectively resetting the process and allowing you to contest the ticket afresh with a new court date.


Option 2: Filing an Appeal

For convictions arising from a trial, the next step might be to consider an appeal, particularly if you believe the conviction was unjust. This involves:

  • Preparing a detailed appeal to a higher court, highlighting the errors or oversights in the trial process.
  • Identifying legitimate grounds for appeal, as personal dissatisfaction or insurance rate concerns do not qualify.
  • In some cases, applying for a stay of the matter, which could temporarily remove the conviction from your record until the appeal is heard.


Considerations and Consequences

  • Reopening: This is often less complex and may not require extensive legal representation. However, it’s not guaranteed and depends on convincing the court that your reason for missing the initial process was valid.
  • Appeal: This is a more involved and expensive route, requiring thorough legal preparation and a strong foundation for why the appeal should be granted. Success in this avenue can lead to the conviction being overturned, but it requires a careful assessment of the trial’s proceedings and identifying concrete legal errors.


Do You Need Legal Assistance?

Given the complexities of reopenings and appeals, consulting with a legal professional experienced in traffic law can be incredibly important. OTD Legal provides comprehensive support and representation for drivers looking to contest violations on their records. We can guide you through the process, ensuring that your case is presented effectively, whether you’re seeking a reopening or filing an appeal.


Contact OTD Legal for a free consultation. Our team is ready to help you understand your options and work towards the best possible outcome for your situation.



Video Transcription:

How to remove violations from your driving record in Ontario. The best way to describe how to deal with that is to understand exactly how you were convicted. There’s really two ways of being convicted. You could have gone to a courtroom and had the matter heard before either a justice of the peace or judge, and there could have been a conviction based on the evidence that was heard at that time.

The other mechanism, to end up with a conviction or a violation on your driving record is by not responding and through default, so no one did anything the court will just assume that you wanted to plead guilty and they will automatically convict you. Now that that is on your driving record, you, we get into a situation with making a decision based on how this happened, how to actually help you.

Really two mechanisms for doing that. One is a reopening. So, if that happened because you’ve missed your court date or you were late doing something there is a provision where you might qualify to do what’s called a reopening. Which is an administrative function done really outside of the courtroom, but certainly in front of a judicial official like a Justice of the Peace and based on the explanation on why you weren’t filing the ticket or why you weren’t there, they will they will decide whether they want to reopen the ticket. And if that happens, we’re starting over at this point in time, and you will get a new court date, and then we can carry on from that point. If you were convicted, that simply means that the matter was adjudicated and a judge or judicial official has decided, based on the evidence that you’ve been convicted, you may feel wrongly convicted, and that may actually be true. And in those particular situations, we would have to employ a different mechanism entirely. Those are called appeals. We’ve all heard of them but in that case, that appeal would go to the next court higher and it would be a set of paperwork that explains exactly what the concern might be.

And one of the things we focus on is the grounds of appeal. So the grounds of appeal have to be investigated for merit. Often people, when they are convicted, they’re quite disappointed. and it brings great penalty to them and they’re angry. However, you know, increases to your insurance or being angry about the conviction is not actually a ground for appeal. So what we would need to do is search for an actual legitimate ground of appeal that we could forward that application to the higher court. It is a it’s a much more expensive process. It is a longer process to do, but in some of those appeal cases, we can forward some special paperwork that would allow the court to stay the matter, which in effect would lift the conviction until the appeal can actually be heard, providing relief to that particular defendant until we can get before the court to have our grounds for appeal considered.

by | Dec 29, 2023

Ron Harper

Ron Harper

Ron Harper, owner of OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services, is a former Ontario Prosecutor and Licensed Paralegal with over 40 years of experience in traffic offences.

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