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The Hidden Penalties of Traffic Tickets

Traffic Tickets
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

Most of us know that traffic tickets come with hefty fines. But few of us take the time to consider the hidden penalties of traffic ticket convictions. Perhaps worst of all is that the hidden penalties can be far more costly than the fine you pay.

There’s another surprising aspect of the fact that there are hidden penalties attached to every traffic ticket conviction. Neither the police officer, the prosecutor or the court judge are under any obligation to inform you of them.

Increased Car Insurance Rates

Every traffic ticket conviction might increase your insurance rates. But, even if they don’t, they will all put you one step closer to increased rates. When you are convicted of a traffic ticket charge, insurance companies view it as an indication that you are at higher risk of having an accident, so they may increase your rates.

Convictions remain on your driving record for three years. Generally speaking, your insurance rates will increase based on the number of convictions on your record and the severity of the convictions that appear on your record. Sometimes, on a third and subsequent conviction, your insurance company may deem you to be a “high risk” driver. In some cases, that designation can result in insurance companies refusing to give you insurance coverage at any cost.

There’s one other ‘hidden’ cost to be aware of relating to your car insurance rates. Many insurance policies have a feature that ‘forgives’ your first conviction. However, most often, after letting one conviction go, the insurance company may increase your rates  significantly on your second conviction, as if they didn’t forgive the first conviction.

Demerit Points Added to Your Driving Record

Demerit points are a system for penalizing drivers for traffic ticket convictions. Their goal is to get you to reconsider your driving habits. Convictions for different charges can result in different numbers of demerit points being added to your record. Relatively minor offences, like improper turns, will result in only two demerit points.  Convictions on more serious charges, like stunt driving, can result in six demerit points.

Demerit points do not affect your car insurance rates. But, if you accumulate 15 or more demerit points, you may have your driver’s licence suspended for 30 days. If you have a license suspension for any amount of time, it goes on your record. That can lead to insurance companies deeming you to be a ‘high risk’ driver, and they can increase the rates they charge you.

Protect Your Rights

The hidden penalties of traffic tickets means that you need to defend yourself as best you can against traffic ticket convictions.  That’s why you need X-Copper’s experienced team of former police officers and top criminal defence lawyers and paralegals to fight for the best possible outcome for you.

To learn more about demerit points, check out our article “The Ultimate Guide to Ontario’s Demerit Point System“.

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