Charged by the police with a traffic violation? You
are not alone. The Ottawa Police Service issues more
than 130,000 traffic tickets each year. Add to that
those issued by the Ontario Provincial Police, RCMP
other municipal police services and your chance of
receiving a traffic ticket has never been better.
You are not guilty.
The presumption of innocence also applies to traffic
tickets. It’s the law of the land. You are entitled
to your day in court where your guilt must be proven
beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Pay the ticket.
This is an admission of guilt and guarantees demerit
points associated with the charge.
- Plead guilty with an explanation.
Daily in courts we see people who chose to represent themselves stand
at the front of a packed courtroom and declare themselves “guilty with an explanation”.
This declaration absolves the prosecutor of having
to present any evidence, but be aware: while the Justice
of the Peace may and likely will accept this guilty
plea, the only thing the Justice of the Peace can affect
is the fine on the face of your traffic ticket. The
Justice of the Peace has no influence whatsoever with
regard to the demerit points associated with the traffic ticket
For instance: Section 144(18) of the Highway
Traffic Act (Ontario), Red Light – Fail to Stop,
carries a fine of $155.00 plus a victim’s surtax
of $35.00, a total of $190.00. This particular charge
has 3 demerit points attached to it if convicted. The Justice of the Peace
can maintain, reduce or suspend the fine depending
on the explanation, but because of the guilty plea,
3 demerit points are added to the driver’s licence record
(accessed by insurance companies) by the Ministry of
Prosecutors love people who plead “guilty with
an explanation”. It makes their job easier and
their day go faster. They also love those who simply
just plead guilty, for the same reasons.
You should be most concerned about the demerit point
accumulation regarding your traffic ticket; it is in
your best interests to plead not guilty.
- Plead not guilty and defend yourself.
Should you be one of the few with the knowledge to
conduct a trial – obtain a trial date, obtain
disclosure, cognizant of pertinent Charter issues,
question the officer(s), question prosecution witnesses,
subpoena, know when to bring a motion, call and question
your own witnesses, give evidence on your own behalf,
be questioned by the prosecution, make a final submission
with regard to the evidence admitted and if found guilty,
make a submission as to penalty, then in all sincerity,
the very best of luck to you.
Remember, in most instances of a conviction or a “guilty
with an explanation” plea, there are demerit
points attached to the offence. These points incur
that can be horrendous and may result in a driver’s
licence suspension. Depending on the points you accumulate
and assuming your insurance provider continues to provide
you with coverage, your rates may increase significantly,
usually in the range of $600 - $1,000 per year for
If convicted of Careless Driving, (6 points in Ontario)
you can expect an annual increase in your insurance
rate of between $4,500 - $6,000 for a period of at
least 3 years. Should your insurance provider decline
to provide coverage for point accumulation, your only
alternative in Ontario is Facility Insurance, which
will apply a maximum 250% surcharge to your already
Note: reciprocal agreements are in place with all
Provinces and most States in North America. Regardless
of the jurisdiction in which you receive the traffic
ticket to which you plead guilty or are convicted,
it will reflect on your driver’s licence.
As you can see, convictions can carry huge financial
consequences as well as the possible inconvenience
of a driver’s licence suspension.
Ottawa Traffic Tickets can help
Our agents are former police officers with decades
spent issuing traffic tickets, investigating accidents
and conducting criminal investigations. We are specialists
in traffic ticket defence. Don’t struggle with
the stress and worry of fighting your traffic ticket.
Know you are in good hands with the experts at Ottawa
Traffic Tickets. It is what we do and we are very good
at it. We are your best defence.