Alicia, now 40 years old, has been a licensed driver for a total of 22 years. Some would say that she was a seasoned driver considering the number of years she has held a licence.
Yet similar to most people, Alicia didn’t have a complete understanding of how demerit points worked. She also did not understand how they had an impact on her insurance.
Recently she received a ticket for rolling through a stop sign. Today, just to her luck, she was pulled over by the police again.
The officer stated that he caught her glancing at her smartwatch and pressing a button on the screen. Alicia was given a ticket for this infraction.
Alicia’s story was quite different. She recalls stopping at the stop sign, briefly glancing at her watch, and brushing away a small insect on the screen.
It was summertime, her windows were down, and bugs were flying everywhere. Plus, Alicia always stopped at stop signs.
She knew that if charged for careless driving, it would go against her record. Why would she want to disobey the law and tarnish her clean driving record?
Alicia was perplexed. She decided to talk to a few of her friends about the charges. They checked out some information online about demerit points. They saw that careless driving held 6 demerit points and failing to stop for a stop sign held 3 demerit points.
Some of them told her to plead out for fewer demerit points. Her friend Karen told her that she received a conviction for driving the wrong way on a one-way road. With 3 demerit points on her record, she said her insurance premium increased.
Alicia did not know what to do. She thought: Alicia needed answers.
What Are Demerit Points in Ontario?
For those who are unaware, demerit points in Ontario are not “rewards” that are given for good driving. Instead, they are given when traffic laws are broken.
Both major and minor driving infractions receive demerit points. However, more points are applied when a major offence, such as stunt driving, is committed.
Demerit points remain on your driver’s abstract for two years. If too many demerit points are accumulated on your record, you licence may be suspended.
When Are Demerit Points Issued?
A person will receive demerit points when they are convicted of a traffic violation. You can be charged for several traffic charges and receive a combination of fines and demerit points.
Generally, demerit points range from 3-7. The amount of points you receive is dependent on the severity of that charge. Here are some examples of how they are applied:
3 Demerit Points:
- Driving with handheld device
- Driving on a closed road
4 Demerit Points:
- Driving 30-49 km/h over speed limit
- Following too closely (tailgating)
6 Demerit Points:
- Careless driving
- Not Stopping for school bus
7 Demerit Points:
- Not remaining at the scene of an accident
- Failing to stop when signalled by police officer
This list offers only some of the charges that relate to each group of demerit points. Additional information on demerit points and related charges can be found here.
Demerit points remain on your record for two years once applied, and this pertains to all licence holders. On the contrary, the consequences of having demerit points on your record can vary.
Amassing demerit points for novice drivers, such as those holding G1, G2, M1, M2, can quicker result in licence suspensions. The suspensions are more extended and can last up to 90 days.
This does not imply that full licence holders will not suffer a licence suspension. Instead, newer drivers are considered to be a higher risk on the road. So, the consequences are harsher.
How Do Demerit Points Impact Insurance?
After doing her research, Alicia understood what demerit points were, and how they were applied. What she couldn’t seem to wrap her head around was: How does this impact insurance?
Like Alicia, many drivers have the same inquiry. The truth is, demerit points do not impact insurance. Instead, being convicted of the traffic violation is what has its influence. Insurance companies pay attention to the type of charge you receive.
These are the sort of questions insurance companies consider before increasing your rates.
Higher rates can apply to various convictions. However, those with major charges will see a significant jump on their insurance premiums.
How Do I Check for Demerit Points?
Due to recent charges, Alicia wondered how she could review her driving record. She wanted to stay up to date with any points and see what was present on her driving abstract.
Fortunately, obtaining your driving record is not a difficult task. You can access your abstract by requesting a copy from Service Ontario.
Depending on your needs, a 3-year, or 5-year record can be obtained. If you have pre-existing charges, past convictions and demerit points on you driver’s abstract, getting a copy can be quite helpful. It will provide a comprehensive overview of your driving history.
Alicia Turned to Jami to Fight Her Traffic Tickets
Alicia knew she needed legal help. She now held a better understanding of demerit points and how her recent convictions could severely impact her insurance. Alicia did not want to lose her licence, and she did not want to ruin her clean record.
Alicia turned to the law office of Aitken Robertson. She scheduled a consultation with Jami, their traffic court paralegal. During the consult, Alicia felt comfortable speaking with him. She informed him of what happened. Jami listened attentively and offered his support.
Jami dedicated his time to building a strong case for Alicia. He weighed in on the evidence at hand, reviewed related reports and documents. Jami was committed to maintaining Alicia’s clean driving abstract and obtaining a suitable outcome.
At Aitken Robertson, what matters to you matters to us. If you are interested in booking a consultation with Jami, contact Aitken Robertson. Jami will help you to fight the charges™.
*Note: Alicia is a fictional but representative client that we have created to better illustrate the problems and issues that drivers face when dealing with a Highway Traffic Act charge.