Explained: Speeding Tickets in Ontario & Insurance Rates

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Speeding while driving is a serious issue and many lives are lost due to reckless driving. Whatever the reason for speeding, whether it is an emergency or racing, there are dire consequences when the police pull you over. You may not just get a warning but may end up getting a ticket to pay a fine and demerit points on your license. If you caused a collision while speeding and injured or killed someone then you may be charged with a criminal offense. They may even sentence you to jail time, suspend your license and impound your vehicle.

Since speeding has taken its toll on many, most provinces have set up a system to track and punish those who break the law. Ontario has taken several severe steps to tackle the issue of speeding. In case you get a speeding ticket then your decision to pay it off or not may affect your driving record as well as insurance rates.

Types Of Speeding Tickets In Ontario

In Ontario, there are mainly 2 types of speeding tickets and these differ in terms of the amount of speeding over the posted legal speed limit. Whether you were speeding less or more than 50 km per hour is the benchmark in Ontario. Depending on which category your offense falls under, your penalty may differ. When you speed less than 50 km per hour over the posted legal speed limit then you may pay the total fine amount mentioned on the ticket.

However, if you speed more than 50 km per hour over the posted legal speed limit then you may face severe consequences. When you get a ticket for such an offense, you may not see a fine amount on the ticket. You may get a court summons with a date and you must answer the court. In case you are found guilty and convicted then they will suspend your driver license.

Is a Speeding Ticket a Criminal Offense In Ontario

Speeding is not a criminal offense in Ontario but is an offense under the provincial Highway Traffic Act. In case you speed over 50 km per hour over the posted legal speed limit then you may also get charged with Dangerous Driving, especially when you cause a collision. Then you would be charged with a single charge of Dangerous Driving which will include speeding too. Dangerous Driving is a criminal offense under the Criminal Code of Canada.

How Many Points Is a Speeding Ticket In Ontario

The number of demerit points you may get for speeding depends on your speeding over the posted limit. If you are speeding 16 to 29 km per hour then you get 3 demerit points. When speeding over 30 to 49 km per hour over the limit then you may get 4 demerit points. For speeding more than 50 km per hour you may get 6 demerit points.

How Are Speeding Tickets Calculated In Ontario

Before you decide to pay your speeding ticket to finish the story, you might as well know its calculation. This might help you to know if you are overpaying a ticket that has a miscalculated error. Your traffic ticket is calculated by one of 2 aspects; a set fine or the fine for the traffic law that you violated. There are 5 main components in the fine amount. These include the manner in which you were charged, the set fine, court costs, victim surcharge and your response when you are sentenced with the offense. Sometimes you may have the summons to appear in court by a due date.

Set Fine Amount

Usually, these amounts were used to settle the case out of court to avoid a trial by pleading guilty of the speeding offense. However, there is a lot of inconsistency in setting the fine amount and you may pay more or less than another person who committed the same offense. If your ticket has no set amount then the court will decide the penalty as per the law you violated.

Apart from the set fine amount you also pay a victim surcharge as per the Victim’s Bill of Rights and the proceeds go to a Victim Justice Fund. This fund assists victims of traffic crime and applies to federal as well as provincial fines. Court costs start at a minimum $5 and may increase if you do not appear in court and are convicted of an offense.

How Long Does A Speeding Ticket Stay On Your Record In Ontario

Traffic ticket stays on the driver abstract for 3 years from the day you are convicted; the day you plead guilty to the traffic offense, get a court conviction or pay the fine amount. In case you think smart and not pay the fine amount or go to court for trial then you may delay that speeding ticket from showing up on your record. This may benefit you from an insurance perspective.

Do Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance In Ontario

Yes. Speeding tickets do affect your insurance premiums in Ontario. This happens when the insurance company gets to know that you got a ticket. As soon as you pay the speeding ticket fine amount or face conviction in court for speeding, the court then sends a notice to MTO. They add your conviction details on your driving record which your insurer may access anytime. You may decide to call your insurance company to inform them about your speeding ticket. Or, your insurer calls MTO to check your driver record and finds out about the ticket. Either way, you may face an increase in your insurance premiums.

How Much Are Speeding Tickets In Ontario

speeding Ticket

In Ontario, the speeding ticket fine amounts are pro-rated for each kilometer that you exceed than the posted speed limit. You penalty may also depend on how many kilometers you were speeding over the legal limit. It may also depend on where you were caught speeding. If you were speeding in a construction zone or school zone then your fine amounts may be higher than normal. The speeding ticket fine amounts may range from $17.50 to $359.

Options When You Get A Speeding Ticket In Ontario

In Ontario, there are 3 options on your speeding ticket as below.

  1. Pay the fine by pleading guilty of the speeding offense.
  2. Plead that you are guilty of the offense but give an explanation and then pay the fine.
  3. Ask for a trial and on the trial date when your case comes up for hearing, plead that you are not guilty of the speeding offense.

Most convenient options are 1 and 2 but do end up affecting your insurance rates in the long run and you also pay the fine. Or, you may fight your speeding ticket and pick option 3 to ask for a trial. The advantages of option 3 are many and you may also save your driving record and insurance premium increase.

Errors Or Omissions That Could Favor You in Court

When you request for a trial you may ask to disclose the police officer’s notes when they charged you. This should be given to you by the trial date and if not then the court may withdraw your charges. It is a violation of the Charter as per section 7. Sometimes, it is possible that the officer who caught you did not make any legible notes. Or, misspelled your name or wrote the wrong calendar year etc. on the speeding ticket. This will work to your advantage since those notes cannot be valid evidence. Then the prosecutor may withdraw your charges and that saves your day at court.

Another option is to ask for a trial in your native language if you don’t understand English or French. When the court fails to help you with an interpreter as per your request then they may withdraw your charges. It is a violation of the Charter Section 14. In case the police officer does not attend the hearing for some reason then the court may withdraw your charges. Also, if the Judge or the Prosecutor fails to appear for your hearing then it may favor you. They may dismiss or withdraw your charge as it is a violation of your Charter rights as per Section 11.b.

Is It Worth Fighting A Speeding Ticket In Ontario

While many may wonder that it is better to pay off the speeding ticket fine and forget about the whole episode; there are long term consequences. Even if you are given an offer to pay a reduced charge and plead guilty then too it is going to adversely affect you. It may prove to be an expensive option. First of all, by paying the fine you are pleading guilty of the offense and this goes on your driver record and you get demerit points. The conviction stays on your record for 3 years and your insurance company may access it anytime maybe mid-term or at renewal. Then you may surely expect an increase in your premiums for at least 3 to 6 years.

If you also caused a collision while speeding then you may also be convicted of Dangerous Driving, a criminal offense and your insurer may deny your coverage. Your poor driving record may not only affect your insurability but also your employability and reputation. On the other hand, if you don’t plead guilty or pay up the fine then you may decide to fight the ticket. This will give you a good chance to have the charges dismissed, withdrawn or at least reduced as per your situation. You have nothing to lose if you fight your ticket as circumstances may prove to support you and you may not be convicted. This will be a positive outcome for you in the long run as you keep the speeding ticket off your driver abstract and insurance records.

How To Fight A Speeding Ticket In Ontario

To fight a speeding ticket in Ontario you have to choose option 3 that is on the reverse side of the speeding ticket; ask for a trial.

  • You may go to the court and ask for a trial in person. Or, as per your location you may send your request for a trial by mail.
  • Then you may ask for disclosure of the incident. This includes the police officer’s notes when they charged you and it is your right to access those notes before your trial. This may immensely benefit you.  The officer may have made some fatal errors while writing out the ticket or the notes. Then your charges may be withdrawn or dismissed by the Crown.
  • You may request for a First Attendance Meeting for your case with the Prosecutor. Then you may plead guilty to a lesser serious charge. For example, if you are charged with speeding then you may plea bargain for a careless driving charge. If the Prosecutor offers you a plea bargain, it is up to you to accept it. By doing so you may avoid a trial by paying a reduced penalty. However, you may still end up having a conviction on your driving record. Or, you may refuse the plea bargain and ask to go for a trial to fight your ticket.

How To Pay Speeding Ticket In Ontario

Most often your speeding ticket has the instructions on how to pay the ticket as per your location. As per your court location, you may choose from many methods of payment to pay your speeding ticket. These include making a payment online, in person in a court and mailing your payment. Or you may make a payment over the phone. When you send your payment by mail you may read and understand the correct location to do so. If in doubt, you may also contact the city or municipality where you got the ticket to confirm about your penalty. You may visit the link to check out the different court locations for Municipal Offenses.


Resources:

https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/justice-ont/tickets_and_fines.php

https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/Court_Addresses/poa/


 

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