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What is careless driving and should I fight my Ontario careless driving ticket?

Careless driving refers to operating a vehicle without due car or consideration for others on the road. Hence, driving irresponsibly such as failing to signal, making illegal turns and simply operating a vehicle poorly is considered careless.

On conviction (including a guilty plea), you will be liable to a fine between $400 and $2,000. For very serious circumstances, such as where car accidents are involved, you may be liable to imprisonment for up to six months, or to both a fine and imprisonment. In addition, your driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. If the offence was committed in community zones and you are convicted, the fine will be doubled.

If there is no suspension of your driver’s licence by the court, you will receive 6 demerit points. You may lose your licence, if your demerit points reach 15. For detailed information, please refer to the “Demerit Point System” part of this website.

The conviction will be kept on your driving record for at least 3 years. Your insurance premiums could be increased for several years and you might even be disqualified from your existing insurance coverage. For information about how traffic tickets impact your insurance, please refer to the section “Insurance Premiums” part of this website.

Penalties for Careless Driving

Penalty TypePenalty Details
Demerit Points6 points
Discretional SuspensionNot More than 2 years
Fines

Between $400 and $2000

If it occurs in a construction zone or community safety zone, the minimal fines will be doubled to between $800 and $4000.

Imprisonment

Not More than 6 months

On ConvictionThe penalty can be both fine and imprisonment.

The consequences of careless driving include license suspension for up to 2 years, and fines ranging up to $4000. You could also face jail time for 6 months.

It is always recommended to fight the charge of careless driving.

When you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, the options available are to pay the ticket, & face the consequences, request a resolution meeting to go to trial.  The best option for fighting a careless driving ticket is to hire a paralegal and go to trial, as this will improve your chances for receiving a suitable outcome.

Although careless driving is a very serious offence under the Highway Traffic Act, it is a strict liability offence and there are various options your paralegal maybe able to arise, such as:

  1. Plead guilty to the less serious offence of “Follow too Close” should it be offered by the prosecutor. For detailed information, please refer to the section “Follow too Close”.
  2. Plead not guilty and leave the responsibility to the prosecution to prove all facts beyond a reasonable doubt including elements of who, where, when, how, etc. You do not need to prove that you are a “perfect” driver, but instead what you were doing was what any reasonable person would do in that particular circumstance. Any evidence which raises a reasonable doubt would result in an acquittal.

Our general experience is that many careless driving charges can be reduced to lesser offences.

There are also other possible general defences.

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