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Traffic Ticket

The following offences are the most common tickets issued today.

Driving Under Suspension

Surprisingly a very common charge as it takes little effort to have one’s licence suspended. This charge carries severe penalties which, on a first offence, range from a $1000 to $5000, an AUTOMATIC 6 month licence suspension and no more than 6 months in jail. On a second offence the fine increases from $2000 to $5000 but the rest stays the same. If you are convicted for more than one offence of Driving Under Suspension within a specified time, your chances of jail increase with each conviction.

This charge is classified as Strict Liability, this means the Crown must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt or that your licence was suspended and you ought to have known. There is however an opportunity to put forward a defence to dispute the charge.

If you are looking to challenge the case or put forward a defence, it takes a little more than “I didn’t know”. Call my office and we can discuss the case, I can help you put present a defence in a way the court will understand.

Handheld Communication Device

One of the most controversial and common charges is Drive While Holding or Using a Handheld Communication Device, for short, cell phone charge. In the recent years with the introduction of this charge, it has been a great revenue stream for the municipalities and provincial governments. Fines have recently been increased and no demerit points are associated with this charge.

This charge is called an Absolute Liability charge, one which the Crown must prove the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. This charge is much harder for defendants to put forward a defence to challenge the offence. This does not mean you are automatically guilty, remember you are innocent until they prove you guilty. There are circumstances which may find you innocent of the charge or where a doubt can be raised in the court.

Call us about challenging the case, let us make the crown prove the case against you.

 Stunt Driving/Racing

Clearly one of the most severe charges under the Highway Traffic Act is Stunt Driving/Racing. This charge requires the officer to automatically impound the vehicle and issue a 7 day licence suspension, remember this is automatic and not discretionary. The penalties on a first offence of Stunt Driving range from $2000 to $10,000, up to 6 months in jail and up to a 2 year licence suspension. On a second conviction within a specified time period the penalties are the same as a first time conviction but the licence suspension may be up to 10 years!

This charge is classified as a Strict Liability offence, giving the defendant an opportunity to put forward a defence to the charge.  As always the Crown must prove the case against the defendant, that they were either Racing, Stunt Driving or Driving on a Bet or Wager. The Crown does not have to prove that you were specifically in a race with another vehicle as the elements of the charge can be met by the actions of the driver alone.

This is not the type of charge to challenge blindly and hope the Crown is sympathetic with your situation. Ask questions, do some research or seek legal representation to protect yourself. One of the last offences a person wants their insurance to see is Racing.

Speeding

The number one charge given to the public is speeding. Speeding carries both demerit points and fines, fines are set at an exact dollar amount per kilometer over the limit.

Speeding is classified as an absolute liability offence, one which the Crown must prove and if proven has few defences available. The key here is that the Crown must prove the case, this is through evidence of the officer along with police notes (disclosure). The offence is actually “Speeding” under section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act, this means that the Crown must prove you travelled over the posted speed limit, not that you travelled at the exact speed stated on the ticket, but that it was over the limit. Because of this reasoning in some cases the crown can ask that the speed be raised if challenged at trial, this needs more explanation.

Raising the speed at trial can only happen in one circumstance, when the speed has been lowered on the side of the road by the officer and only after a plea of not guilty in front of the justice. Not all prosecutors will seek to have the speed raised and not all courts will allow the speed to be raised, but in order to find out what your best chances are to beat the speeding ticket and avoid a higher ticket give us a call.

General Overview of Getting a Traffic Ticket

What can a traffic ticket mean to you? How about higher insurance or maybe loss of employment? Getting a traffic ticket on your driver’s licence means different things to different people so the court’s administration nor the officer is in any position to say or tell you what to do. The police officer or person at the court may have great intentions but seek independant legal advice for all the penalties that could come from the ticket. Only you know your financial status and family obligations. I can help you with your choices.

Traffic tickets range from minor offences such as Failing to Surrender an Insurance Card to very severe charges like Stunt Driving or Driving Under Suspension. Some charges will immediately effect you though you are innocent till proven guilty, immediate effects like a road side licence suspension or seizure of your vehicle. How will the seizing of your vehicle or company vehicle effect your day to day life? Roadside suspensions based on allegations not convictions are detrimental to your insurance, if we beat the case completely we may be able to help with the evidence on your record that you were ever charged.

Some charges like Drive Under Suspension, Careless Driving and Racing carry jail sentences if convicted. This is really getting serious now, can you afford to go to jail? There are factors to help pursuade the court that you shouldn’t go to jail. We will help you stay out of jail but if you must go then we can make arrangements to make it easier on you.

What is a paralegal and what do they do?

A Paralegal is a person licenced by The Law Society of Upper Canada to practice law within a permitted scope. They are allowed to practice law in areas such as Provincial Offences matters, Small Claims Court, Tribunals and Summary Conviction criminal matters.

So why hire a paralegal for a fee when I can represent myself in court?

You absolutely can represent yourself but I have a few questions that I think you should ask yourself to determine if you should appear unrepresented. Ask yourself,

  1. How does the process work from start to finish?
  2. What if they don’t send me my trial date in the mail?
  3. When I go to court who do I speak to?
  4. How do I know if the officer is here, will I still have to plead guilty if he doesn’t show?
  5. When I speak to the prosecutor how much do I tell them?
  6. Is my reason a defence?
  7. What does it take to prove the charge against me?
  8. How does a trial work, what do I ask and when do I speak?
  9. Will the Judge believe me over the officer?
  10. English is not my first language, will they understand me?
  11. What are my rights?
  12. If I’m found guilty and I feel I’m not what do I do?

If you’re hesitant or don’t know these answers then contact me for a free consultation. My team knows the answers.

Your representative must be in a position to answer all the above questions plus be able to actually represent you not just take your money. They should be able to help get your point across, help you clarify what you’ve been trying to say. They must be able to help strengthen your case while weakening the other side’s case.

A paralegal must be able to do for you what you can’t do for yourself

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