When most people in the Greater Toronto Area get a speeding ticket, they simply pay the ticket. You may be surprised to learn that sending in the payment is an admission of guilt, which has consequences that could come to haunt you. Other than speeding, there are several other Highway Traffic Act Offences as captured by the Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
Note that Highway Traffic Act offences are the most commonly tried offences in Provincial Offences court with over 1.3 million offences being tried each year. The most common of these (in order of frequency) are:
• Red light – proceeding before the green light
• Driving a motor vehicle with no currently validated permit
• Disobeying stop sign (failing to stop)
• Driving while holding a hand-held communication device
Other than the obvious financial cost, speeding 15 kilometers per hour over the limit leads to demerit points. Demerit points are added after every conviction of a Highway Traffic Act offence, not just speeding. The demerit points stay on your record for 2 years from the date of the offence.
Your license will be suspended for 30 days if you have over 15 points (for an old driver) and for 60 days if you have more than 9 points for a new driver. Note you also get demerit points when you are convicted of violating driving laws in other Canadian territories and provinces and in the States of New York and Michigan.
You should hire a lawyer if you are accused of a Highway Traffic Act offence because there is a risk of jail time and an increase in premiums with some offences, an example being driving while your licence is under suspension.
At Costa Law Firm, we have a team that has many years of experience handling Highway Traffic Act offences in the GTA.
Some offences attract driving prohibitions and substantial fines. We will argue your case to minimize the driving prohibitions and fines if it is not possible to have the case dismissed altogether.
One alternative to pleading guilty by paying the fine is attending a resolution meeting with the Crown prosecutor to argue for a reduced penalty. We will appear before the prosecutor on your behalf, which is important because our engagement will be devoid of emotions and we know our way around the prosecutor’s office. We will present your driving record, the seriousness of the charge, and whether the ticketing officer had already reduced the charge in your defence.
Another alternative to pleading guilty is going on trial. If the case ends up in trial, we will write to the office of the Crown prosecutor to request your disclosure before your appearance in court. We will go through the disclosure, which consists of the handwritten notes from the ticketing police officer, keenly to put up a proper defence. Our criminal defence lawyer Toronto will look for what is missing and use this to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case, keeping in mind that according to Justice Feldman’s decision in R. v. Vancrey, the prosecutor has to prove the offence.
Talk to our criminal lawyer Toronto on 416-535-6329 for a free consultation on highway traffic act offences.