The True Cost of Hiring a Traffic Ticket Lawyer

“Hey, it’s just a failure to stop ticket, right?”
“It’s nothing too serious.” 

“It’s my first ticket in years, so it’s not a problem.” 

“I don’t need to spend money on a lawyer, I can defend myself.”

If you’ve thought or said something like any one or all of the above after getting a traffic ticket, you may not be aware of the benefits of hiring a traffic ticket lawyer. Or, more accurately, you might not realize the cost of not having professional legal representation to defend against a traffic ticket.

Consider the Following When Thinking About Hiring a Traffic Ticket Lawyer 

Interestingly, the cost of hiring a professional traffic ticket defence team doesn’t have so much to do with the actual cost of hiring a professional traffic ticket defence paralegal. If you don’t have legal representation, it could cost you a lot more.

  1. Fines & Demerit Points – The first cost of a traffic ticket that a lawyer can help you avoid is the direct costs of the fine for the ticket, and the demerit points that will be added to your driving record. Its a mistake to think that demerit points don’t have a cost. First, your car insurance rates may go up based on the number of points you have. Second, your driver’s license could be suspended after only 9 demerit points (6 points for new drivers with G1 and G2 licenses), and it will be suspended for at least 30 days after you get 15 demerit points (9 for new drivers).

  2. Car Insurance Rates – This may be the largest cost of being found guilty of a traffic charge. The guilty verdict stays on your driving record for three years. There’s no saying how much your insurance rates will go up, if at all. But, even for a first-time minor speeding charge, rates can increase by 10%. The second ticket could bump things up by 25% – and rates could go up by 100% for a third conviction.

  3. Even if Your Car Insurance Rates Don’t Go Up, You Still Have to Worry About Cost – Some car insurance companies offer a feature where your first minor speeding ticket will not affect your rates. That’s good to know. But watch out if you get a second ticket in the next three years.

To learn more about how to protect yourself against speeding tickets, check out our post “What To Do If You Get Caught In A Speed Trap”.

Why to Always Choose the “Trial Option” on a Traffic Ticket

Whether it’s for speeding, a seatbelt violation, or any of the many other non-criminal offences for which you may have received a traffic ticket, resolving the ticket is never a pleasant process.

But there’s one part of it that can seem like a real stress reliever, but it really isn’t.

After you are issued a traffic ticket, you have three options for responding to it.

  1. Option 1: Plea of Guilty – Choosing this option means you admit that you’re guilty of the offence and you pay the ticket
  2. Option 2: Early Resolution – Meet with Prosecutor – This option can seem like the perfect choice. First, you don’t admit that you’re guilty right away, and, second, you don’t have to worry about going to trial (see point 3 below). 
  3. Option 3: Trial Option – While it might sound daunting, this is the option you should always choose if you want the best chance of avoiding the consequences of being found guilty. 

Why You Should Choose the Trial Option

While the laws and enforcement methods are intended to stop you from committing an offence, one of the biggest deterrents has nothing to do with driving laws or how they are enforced. 

In addition to fines and demerit points, being found guilty of traffic offences can cause your car insurance rates to increase significantly.

If you choose the “plea of guilty” option on the ticket, even for what seems like a minor offence, the offence can remain on your driving record for three years, which means it can affect your insurance rates for that length of time.

But, even if you choose the “early resolution” option, you meet with the prosecutor and your fines and demerit points are reduced or eliminated, you are still found guilty, and your insurance rates may still go up.

By choosing the “trial option”, you give yourself the opportunity to seek legal advice, which has the potential to not only reduce or eliminate fines and demerit points, but to have the charges dropped altogether 

In that way, the “trial option” is the only one that may help you avoid any fines, demerit points and increases in your insurance rates. Even the worst-case scenario of choosing the trial option, which is you go to trial and are found guilty, you at least give yourself more time to pay the fines and you put off insurance rate increases as long as possible. 

To learn more about the consequences you may suffer if you’re found guilty of a traffic offence, check out our post “How Long Do Demerit Points Stay On Your Record In Ontario?”.

What Is The Penalty For Dangerous Driving?

Like all criminal charges, the penalty for dangerous driving can vary depending on the circumstances under which the charge was made. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, penalties for a dangerous driving conviction can include jail time, a fine, a driver’s licence suspension, and a driver’s licence suspension (minimum one year). 

That said, if you are charged with dangerous driving, the worst penalty may not be the sentence you get when you are convicted. As a criminal charge, a conviction for dangerous driving means you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life (unless you apply for and receive a pardon). A criminal record can affect your ability to travel outside of Canada, find a job, go to school or even be a volunteer.

It all adds up to mean that, if you have been charged with dangerous driving, you need the legal advice of a criminal lawyer with experience and expertise in defending against dangerous driving convictions so you can minimize the effect it has on your life. 

Maximum Penalties for a Dangerous Driving Conviction 

Officially known as dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving charges are levelled against a person who operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public.

It is a hybrid offence, which means that it can be considered a less serious summary conviction, or a more serious indictable offence. Of course, penalties for summary convictions are generally lower than those for indictable offences.

  • Maximum penalties for a conviction of dangerous driving are a fine of $5,000 and/or a jail sentence of six months. 
  • The maximum penalty for a conviction of dangerous driving causing bodily harm is five years of imprisonment.
  • The maximum penalty for a conviction of dangerous driving causing death is 14 years of imprisonment.

In addition to the penalties imposed by the courts, the Highway Traffic Act stipulates a mandatory one-year license suspension for a dangerous driving conviction. License suspensions may be longer, including being suspended indefinitely, for repeat offences and/or those for dangerous driving causing bodily harm or death.
If you found this article helpful, check out our recent post about what to do if you get caught in a speed trap.

Got a First Offence Stunt Driving in Ontario? Here’s What to Know

If you’ve received a stunt driving first offence, Ontario laws and penalties can be quite strict and severe. For example, if a police officer stops you for exceeding the speed limit by 50 km or more (the most common offence that’s classified as stunt driving), You will get a drivers licence suspension for seven days and your vehicle will be impounded for seven days – even if you were never convicted of stunt driving or racing in the past. 

If you are convicted, you can face fines of up to $10,000, get six demerit points, or be sentenced to a maximum of six months in jail. On top of that, the conviction can have a lasting effect on your life, including a license suspension of up to 10 years and increased insurance premiums.  

The seriousness of being charged with stunt driving means you should learn as much as you can about the offence to minimize the impact of a conviction. 

4 Things to Know if You Got a First Offence Stunt Driving in Ontario

There are lots of myths about what is considered stunt driving and the implications of receiving a stunt driving ticket.

  1. You Should Get Legal Advice – Again, due to its gravity, the most important step you can take if you are charged with stunt driving is to get legal advice and representation in court from lawyers and experts well-versed in how to fight a stunt driving ticket.

  2. It’s Not Just for Speeding – While exceeding the speed limit by 50 km or more is the most common reason for a stunt driving ticket, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act outlines many more, including:
    1. Doing burnouts, drifts or donuts
    2. Driving while you’re not in the driver’s seat, or with someone in the trunk
    3. Jumping the green light at an intersection to make a left turn before oncoming traffic begins to move.

  3. The Costs of Getting a Ticket Are All Yours – If you are stopped and given a traffic ticket for stunt driving, the consequences are all your responsibility, including the financial ones.
    1. If your license is suspended and/or vehicle impounded, you must find and pay for your own transportation (police officers are only obligated to take you to a safe place).
    2. You are responsible for the costs of towing your vehicle to the impoundment lot and the cost of storage for the duration of the impoundment.
    3. You must pay a $180 fee to get your driver’s license reinstated. 
  1. You Will Likely need to Make More Than One Court Appearance – When you get the ticket, you will also get a summons to appear in court. You or your licensed legal representative must appear in court or face a bench summons for your arrest. If you do not intend to plead guilty at that first court appearance, another court date will be set for your trial.

If you’ve been charged with stunt driving, make sure to get the right legal team to fight for you. Our team at X-Copper is ready to fight your stunt driving offence to get you the best possible result. Contact us today to get our team behind you.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about how long a speeding ticket stays on your record in Ontario.

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

While “how long does a speeding ticket stay on your record in Ontario?” sounds like it should have a fairly straightforward answer, it can have many answers.

For a number of reasons, tickets for exceeding the speed limit are among the most common driving tickets issued by Ontario police. Primarily, speeding is a leading cause of road fatalities in Ontario, so police forces are eager to prevent it. Secondly, radar makes it comparatively easy to enforce speed limits compared to detecting other Highway Traffic Act violations, like following too closely.

Three Different Records of Your Speeding Ticket

It’s important to know that the speeding ticket you get today does not appear on any record of your driving until you are convicted of the offence. If you’re wondering how long a ticket stays on your record, you’re probably most concerned about how it impacts your insurance rates. Speeding convictions can stay on your record in three different ways and they can affect car insurance rates for differing lengths of time.

  1. Your Driver’s Abstract – This is what’s commonly known as your driving record. Convictions can affect your auto insurance rates more than anything else on your abstract.

  2. Your Demerit Points – While they are included in your driver’s abstract, demerit points stay on your record for only two years. Demerit points generally don’t affect your insurance coverage by themselves. The main exception being if your license is suspended due to the number of demerit points on your record.
  3. Your Insurance Company’s Records – To set the rates they charge each driver, insurers will check driver’s abstracts on a semi-regular basis. Depending on your driving history and how long you’ve been a customer, they may not check your record for two or three years. Your insurance rates are not affected by traffic tickets until your insurance company checks your driving record and discovers a conviction. In some cases, if the conviction expires on your driver’s abstract before it appears in your insurance company records, your rates may not be affected.

Up next, here’s what you should always have in your car’s emergency kit.

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Distracted Driving in Alberta

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Are Higher Speed Limits Safer?

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When speed limits are low, drivers tend to do one of two things. Most people drive faster, keeping a sharp eye out for police radar, while others choose to drive exactly the limit. This creates a chaotic highway filled with obstacles, where as a driver, you are continually speeding up to go around slow drivers, and then dodging out of the way of other, much faster, drivers. Continue reading

How to Overcome the Compulsion to Text and Drive

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