Why All-Season Tires Won’t Cut It In Canada’s Winters

Its that time of year when drivers across Canada have the “winter tires vs all-season tires” debate.

The Two Sides Of The Debate 

On the winter tires side, there really isn’t a debate. The winner is clear. Winter tires provide better traction to start moving, and stop, while driving on snow and ice. Consumer Reports testing found that, on average, winter tires will stop a car almost two metres shorter than all-season tires. 

There are three main ways in which winter tires are designed better than all-seasons for driving on ice, snow and slush.

  • Tread Patterns & Depth – Snow tires feature deeper and wider tread patterns that are designed to minimize snow build-up in the treads, and to channel away snow, slush and water. They also have biting edges, or tiny slits, on the side of the tread for added ice and snow traction.

  • Rubber Compounds – Winter tires are made of softer rubber compounds that give them better grip in colder temperatures.

  • Tire Widths – Winter tires are generally narrower than all-seasons so they don’t “float” on top of snow and ice.

Interestingly, many all-season tires proponents concede that winter tires are better for driving in winter conditions. Their argument is that, depending on where you live, winter’s snow and icy conditions only happen a few times a year and that the winter performance characteristics of all-seasons are enough to get them through those few times.

When All-Season Tires Won’t Cut It  

But there’s one scenario where all-season tires can have dire consequences when used in winter conditions. If we take that average difference in stopping distance of almost two metres, and apply it to the case of young drivers tackling their first winters with little or no winter driving experience, the consequences of not using winter tires can be catastrophic.  

If you found this article helpful, check out our recent post about how long demerit points stay on your driving record.

How to Stop a Fake Car Accident Claim

It’s an auto insurance scam that costs car insurance companies millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. A cost that’s handed down to drivers in the form of higher insurance rates. Insurance fraud through a fake car accident claim is on the rise across Canada and no driver should feel immune from becoming a victim.

How Fake Car Accidents Happen

Sometimes called staged accidents, they can happen in many different ways. The following are among the most common set-ups that scammers use to make claims for staged collisions.

  • Another vehicle intentionally drives into your vehicle
  • Real accidents with injury claims for victims who were not involved in the accident, or for fake injuries.
  • Accident reports for auto accidents that did not happen

In addition to paying for the overall cost of fake insurance claims through higher average insurance rates, innocent drivers may also face increased rates for their own car insurance if they are found “at fault” in a staged accident.

6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Fake Car Accidents Claims

If you are in a car accident, take the following steps to reduce your chance of becoming the victim of a car insurance scam.

  1. Get full names and contact information (mailing address, telephone number, email address) for the other driver(s) and the other occupant(s) of the vehicle(s).
  2. Write or record your observations about the physical condition of the other driver(s) and occupant(s). Are they injured? What’s been injured? Or are they walking around without any apparent injury?
  3. Use a camera or your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Take images of the overall scene from different angles. Take images of each car involved in the accident. Get images of the license plates of each car involved, and pictures of the damage to each car.
  4. When police arrive, ask for a copy of their accident report. If police don’t attend, write down everything you can remember about the circumstances that lead up to the accident and call the police as soon as you can to file a report about the accident.
  5. Look for witnesses and ask for their contact information 
  6. If anyone else recommends that you use a particular tow truck company or auto repair shop, don’t take their advice. Research and retain your own tow truck and body shop.

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about what to do if you get caught in a speed trap.

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.

First Offence DUI: 4 Things You Should Know

The most important thing to know about a first offence DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is that, even though it is a first offence for which you won’t be given jail time, it is still a criminal charge that could result in a criminal record.

In Ontario, you will face a DUI charge if you are found driving or in the care and control of a vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the case of alcohol, you must show visible signs of impairment or register a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08.

What You Should Know About a First Time DUI 

Drivers in Canada and especially Ontario, face some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the world. The federal government recently increased fines and the powers police have to make DUI arrests.

In Ontario, not only is it illegal to drive under the influence, but it’s also illegal to drive when you are in the “care and control” of a vehicle, which includes even if the vehicle is stopped with the engine off. Here are a few other things that first-time DUI offenders should know.

  1. Police Officers Can Now Demand that You Take a Breathalyzer Test – Before recent changes to federal laws, officers needed to have a reasonable suspicion that you were impaired. Refusing to take the breathalyzer test can result in charges being laid.

  2. Penalties Are Stiff – If you get a first-time DUI conviction, the minimum penalties include:
    1. A $1,000 fine
    2. drivers’ license suspension of one year
    3. Installation into your vehicle of an ignition interlock device for alcohol screening for one year, at your own cost
    4. Participation in a counselling treatment program, at your own cost
    5. Criminal record

  3. You Are Now Exposed to the Penalties of a Second DUI – While some are able to tolerate first-time impaired driving penalties, what most don’t consider is how they leave you exposed to even stronger penalties if you get a second DUI conviction.

    Among others, minimum penalties for a second conviction include a three-year license suspension, 30 days in jail and installation of an ignition interlock device for three years.

  4. You Need Expert Legal Advice – Considering the consequences of a first-time conviction, and the exposure you have to even more severe penalties for a second conviction, it is crucial that you seek specialized legal advice and representation as soon as you can after you are charged.

X-Copper’s winning defence team has the knowledge and experience to get the best possible outcome for you. Get in touch with us today to get Canada’s winning legal team on your side.
If you liked this post, please check out our recent article “Demerit Points Aren’t What You Should Be Worried About. Here’s Why”.

How To Choose The Right Theft Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with theft, regardless of whether it’s under or over $5,000, you should retain a theft defense attorney as soon as possible. As a criminal offence, if you’re found guilty of theft charges, the consequences can last a lifetime starting with jail time and, if you get a criminal record, potentially affecting your ability to find future employment and/or travel outside the country.   

3 Steps to Choosing the Right Theft Defense Attorney

Most people don’t know what to do or where to turn for help when faced with criminal charges. You have the right to get an attorney’s advice from the moment you are arrested. Here are some tips for finding the right criminal defense lawyer.

  1. Talk to a Lawyer You Know – If you have any friends or family members who are lawyers, your best first step may be to contact them, even if they are not criminal defense attorneys. They may have contacts they can recommend. Even if they have no suggestions for a lawyer or law firm, they may be able to help you choose from a short list.

  2. Look for a Specialized Theft Crime Lawyer(s) – Like anything else, the more specialized lawyers are in an area of practice, the more likely they are to be better at it. While there are many commonalities in law between different types of crime, there are also many important differences. Different circumstances and types of theft crime may need different defense strategies to be successfully defended. Choosing an experienced theft defense lawyer increases your chances of finding one who knows best how to defend you considering your particular circumstances and charges against you.

  3. Find Out What Else the Lawyer/Law Firm Offers – Of course, finding good legal representation is most important. But does the lawyer or law firm employ police officers who can offer insight into the nature of your charges that can help you have those charges dismissed? Or do they have an entire legal team with a history of successfully defending people in theft cases like yours?

Looking for the right theft defense attorney can be hard. Get our winning team on your side and let us fight for the best possible outcome for you.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about how long a speeding ticket stays on your record in Ontario.

What to Do When You’re Accused of Fraud

As unbelievable as it may be that you will ever be accused of fraud, it is even more shocking and destabilizing when it happens. Whether or not you know of any reason or situation that may have lead to the accusations, they must be taken with the utmost seriousness.

Charges of fraud will fall under either “Fraud Under $5,000” or “Fraud Over $5,000”, depending on the monetary value of the fraud that occurred. Over or under, fraud is a criminal offence that could result in you serving jail time and having a criminal record, which can make it difficult to find work, get a mortgage or travel outside the country.

Fraud occurs when there is a breach of trust or misrepresentation of facts that results in financial gain for the perpetrator. Frauds can involve employment or government benefits, credit and debit card transactions, real estate transactions and financial investments.

In Canada, fraud over $5,000 is punishable by a maximum term of 14 years in prison.

4 Things to do When You’re Accused of Fraud

Considering the implications for your freedom, prompt action is the key to defending yourself against fraud charges. 

  1. Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer – This is number one for a reason. The longer you wait to hire a legal representative who specializes in fraud cases, the more chances there are of taking an irreversible misstep that could change the course of your life.

  2. Do Not Admit Guilt or Fault – Just because allegations were made, it doesn’t mean they are based on real facts. Fraud charges and allegations are regularly made due to a misunderstanding or miscommunication of what are otherwise not fraudulent facts.

  3. Get Complete Information About the Charges Against You – The details are important. Ask for everything in writing. If the charges are brought against you by your employer and their representative asks to talk to you about the charges, ask that a representative from the human resources department be present.

  4. Write Everything Down – Once you have a clear idea of the charges, start writing down your version/interpretation of the relevant facts. Take detailed notes of every meeting you have relating to the charges.

If you’ve been accused of fraud, don’t wait. Get in touch with our winning team of Criminal Defence Lawyers so we can start fighting for you.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out our recent article “I’ve Been Pulled Over by the Police. Now What?

What To Do If You Get Caught In A Speed Trap

Getting caught in a speed trap always seems so unfair. Police officers conceal themselves or the police car just to catch you when you’re not ready. That’s entrapment, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t. Entrapment means coercing you to do something illegal and using radar or laser speed gun to enforce speed limits does not qualify as entrapment. Entrapment is one of the myths of fighting a speeding ticket that many drivers believe when they get caught speeding. Another one is that the officer must show you the reading on the radar or laser gun.

Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding what to do after you get a speeding ticket. If you don’t learn the realities, it could end up costing you a lot of money   

3 Steps to Take if You’re Caught in a Speed Trap

The real cost of traffic tickets is often not the fine on the ticket, but the ticket’s impact on your driving record and, subsequently, your insurance rates. So it pays to do everything you can to minimize the charges and fines, or have the ticket dismissed

  1. Accept the Ticket – Don’t argue with the law enforcement officer who gives you the ticket. It is highly unlikely to work. It also runs the risk of reducing the chance that the officer will not lower the speed listed on the ticket to save you fine costs and/or demerit points, which happens relatively often.

  2. Always Take the Trial Option – After getting a speeding ticket, you have three options, which are listed on the back of the ticket.

    1. Option 1: Plea of Guilty – This option means you admit that you didn’t obey the speed limit and you pay the ticket. Do not choose this option if you want the ticket to be reduced or dismissed.

    2. Option 2: Early Resolution – Meet with the Prosecutor sometimes called Plea of Guilty – Submission as to Penalty – This option can sound enticing because it often means your fine and/or demerit points may be reduced due to your explanation. Don’t fall for the “Early Resolution” marketing speak. You will still be found guilty and your insurance rates may still go up.

    3. Option 3: Trail Option – Choose this option. The reasons are many. At worst, it gives you the most time to pay, even if the fines and demerit points are not reduced at trial. At best, it gives you time to check your options, seek advice and do everything you can to have the ticket dismissed.

  3. Hire A Lawyer or Legal Expert Who Specializes in Defending Against Speeding Tickets – Unless you are specifically trained, it is impossible for you to know the laws, the court procedures and methods of law enforcement well enough to successfully defend yourself in court. Yes, it will cost you a legal fee, but the savings in a reduced or eliminated fine, and lower insurance rates for years to come, are more than worth it.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article about how long a speeding ticket stays on your record in Ontario.

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.

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

You may have heard differently, but Ontarians have never been able to refuse a breathalyzer without facing a consequence of one form or another.

What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

The reasons for confusion around whether or not you can refuse to comply with a breath sample request includes the laws as they were up until late last year. Before new laws came into effect last December, police needed to have reasonable suspicion of impaired driving before demanding a roadside breath test.

Today, police no longer need to have reasonable suspicion to demand an on-the-spot roadside breath test. And refusing a breathalyzer can result in criminal charges similar to those of being convicted of a DUI charge.

What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer?

The government was forced to eliminate the need for reasonable suspicion because studies showed that up to 50% of impaired drivers were not being detected by police officers at roadside stops.

In Ireland, authorities credit mandatory roadside breathalyzer tests with a 40% reduction in the number of road deaths due to impaired driving.

Here are just some of the minimum penalties a driver can face for a first-time conviction for refusing a breathalyzer. You can also face these penalties for refusing to give a breath sample at a police station, mobile police station and/or hospital.

  1. Drivers license suspension for one year.
  2. Pay a fine of $1,000 or more
  3. Mandatory participation in a Provincial counselling program at your own expense
  4. Installation of an ignition interlock system, also at your own expense, for one year

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about the law for drinking and boating.