If you’ve received a failure to stop at a stop sign ticket, also called a disobey stop sign charge, you may be confused and concerned. You might feel as though you obeyed the stop sign, or that you’ve done the same thing for every stop sign you’ve encountered and never gotten a ticket before.
First, you’re not the only person with a failing to stop ticket. It is one of the most issued traffic tickets all across Canada. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious charge with significant potential consequences for your driving record and car insurance rates.
What the Law says About Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign
What drivers should do at stop signs is outlined in Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, Section 136.
Stop at through highway
136 (1) Every driver or street car operator approaching a stop sign at an intersection,
(a) shall stop his or her vehicle or streetcar at a marked stop line or, if none, then immediately before entering the nearest crosswalk or, if none, then immediately before entering the intersection; and
(b) shall yield the right of way to traffic in the intersection or approaching the intersection on another highway so closely that to proceed would constitute an immediate hazard and, having so yielded the right of way, may proceed. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 136 (1).
Penalties for Failure to Stop Convictions
Your traffic ticket will show the fine you may receive if you are convicted of the charge. But that fine isn’t the only cost or consequence of a conviction. Other penalties include:
- 3 demerit points added to your driving record
- A fine of up to $110
- Potential increase to your car insurance rates
As a moving violation, a conviction for failure to stop can affect your insurance rates. Insurance companies view moving violations as an indication that you might be a high-risk driver and they may charge you more for insurance coverage.
It’s interesting to note that the legislation does not define what constitutes a stop. Most police officers and courts define stopping your vehicle as bringing it “to a full and complete stop”.
Unfortunately, even that definition leaves open the possibility of a difference in opinion between drivers and police officers about whether a vehicle disobeyed a stop sign. A vehicle can come to a complete stop and start again so quickly that it appears as if it didn’t stop.
The lack of a clear definition of exactly what is failure to stop at a stop sign, coupled with the potentially serious and costly consequences, make it crucial that you defend yourself against the charges, versus simply pleading guilty.
X-Copper’s team of former police officers and top traffic ticket defence lawyers are experienced in defending against disobey stop sign charges. They use that experience, and their knowledge of criminal law, law enforcement and court procedures to offer informed legal advice to protect your rights and get the best outcome.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article “Understanding the Demerit Point System in Ontario”.