Should I Fight My Traffic Ticket?

Should I fight my traffic ticket?

It depends on the ticket, but the answer is usually “yes”.  Ultimately, this decision is yours to make, but this page will offer you a number of factors to consider. Some tickets may not seem like they are a big deal, but they usually are. Paying your ticket means that you have plead guilty to the offence and it will immediately appear on your record. Often times there are legal arguments that can be made that you may not be unaware of.

Will my insurance rates be impacted by this traffic ticket?

Generally speaking, being convicted (found guilty) for a traffic ticket will mean that your insurance rates will increase.  The amount that it will increase is hard to predict since the insurance companies are not bound by any regulations that dictate how much or how little they raise or lower your rates.  Technically even a 0 point ticket will show up on your record and could impact your insurance rates.

By fighting the ticket, there is a good chance that the ticket could be eliminated entirely or reduced to something less significant.  Most insurance companies are primarily concerned with the number of tickets you have on your record, and the bracket (or size) of the tickets.  They typically use a system of categorizing the tickets as “minor”, “major” and “serious” offences.  Having your ticket reduced from a “major” to a “minor” could be then difference between your insurance rate doubling or having them hardly be affected.

By hiring us, we can assist you with mitigating or eliminating the ticket with hopes that your insurance rates will either not go up at all or not go up very much.  We expect that with most cases, our fee will be much less than the amount of money you will save by avoiding an insurance rate hike.  It is important to consider the long term benefits.

What do demerit points do in Ontario?

Many driving offences in Ontario have demerit points associated with them.  The demerit point system is run by the Ministry of Transportation (not the court), and is used as a method of determining disciplinary action in the form of licence suspensions. 

You start with zero points and points are often added to your driving record if you are found guilty of an offence.  These points will accumulate and eventually lead to a licence suspension if you receive too many.  You can find out more about demerit points on our dedicated page: here.

Contrary to popular belief, demerit points are not what cause insurance rates to increase.  As mentioned above, insurance companies are often looking at the number of tickets you have and the severity of the offences.  That said, demerit points usually a great way to determine the significance of a ticket.  For example, a 0 point Speeding ticket is going to impact you less than a 6 point Stunt Driving ticket.

Ticket Shield can normally reduce or eliminate the demerit points on your ticket if you fight it.  It is pretty rare that we would not be able to at least remove a few points from your charge, which will generally lower your chance of licence suspension and often means the ticket will be seen as less significant in the eyes of the insurance companies.

What are the penalties for my traffic ticket?

Different traffic tickets have different penalties.  Many of them are hard to identify at first because they are not explicitly listed on the ticket.  There could be large fines, demerit points, licence suspensions, even jail time for your particular ticket.  The best way to find out how your ticket will impact you is to speak with an expert.  We would be happy to explain the implications and discuss your options to fight the ticket.

Did you know that a handheld device (distracted driving) ticket carries an automatic 3 day licence suspension and 3 demerit points?  It does not say that anywhere on the ticket.  Many people do not discover the impact the ticket will have until they have already paid it and it is too late.

You only get one chance to defend yourself, so it is important to do it right the first time. A conviction can add demerit points to your driving record, potentially cause your license to be suspended, increase your monthly insurance rates dramatically, and in some cases, result in a jail sentence or probation. It is highly recommended to speak to a trained professional before deciding to pay your ticket.

Should I still fight my traffic ticket if I am guilty?

An important distinction must be made between feeling you have “done something wrong” and being guilty of the offence written on your ticket. The offence you have been accused of has very strict and specific criteria that must have been met for you to be found guilty. 

Sometimes someone may feel like they made a mistake while driving, but was it really enough to justify the specific charge being laid?  For example, Careless Driving is frequently used when someone causes an accident.  Maybe the defendant really did cause the accident, but were they actually “careless”?  Can the prosecutor prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this was really careless driving?  Often times, they cannot.

It is also important to consider the fact that perhaps not all drivers should be treated the same when it comes to the penalty of committing an offence.  For example, should a 30 kmph over the limit speeding ticket impact someone that has 25 prior speeding tickets the same way that it would impact someone who has been driving for 40 years without a single ticket?  An argument can be made that some leniency for years of clean driving makes sense.  The prosecutor will usually agree with this sentiment.

Just because you made a simple mistake, had a lapse in judgment, or were momentarily distracted – does not necessarily mean you are guilty of the offence on your ticket. It is always a good idea to speak with a legal representative to get advice about your options to fight the ticket.

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