Speeding Tickets Options

Fighting your speeding ticket gives you a chance to win, saving insurance increases and your demerit points.

Dealing with a Speeding Ticket

More than a fine: Any speeding ticket affects your driving record and insurance for 3 years, whether paid or reduced. Consider this before deciding to pay or challenge it.

Deciding What to Do After Receiving a Speeding Ticket

Reviewing your options is the first step:

  • Pay the Ticket: You can choose to accept the charge and pay the fine.
  • Plead Guilty with an Explanation: In this case, you acknowledge the offence but also provide an explanation, which might influence the penalty.
  • Meeting with the Prosecutor: This involves discussing your ticket with the prosecutor, possibly leading to a different outcome.
  • Dispute the Ticket: If you believe the ticket was unwarranted, you have the option to contest it in court.

It’s important to be aware of all the potential penalties and implications of a speeding ticket before making your decision. Speeding tickets can involve more than just a fine, so consider all aspects carefully. Take the time you need to understand these consequences and choose the best option for your situation.

What Your Insurance Cares About…

Demerit Points and Insurance: Understanding the Impact

Insurance companies do not care about demerit points.

Instead, they use a risk formula to set your auto insurance rate. A clean driving record typically results in lower insurance rates, but rates increase with a history of accidents, claims, and traffic & speeding ticket convictions.

The principle is simple: higher risk of accidents translates to higher insurance premiums. With speeding tickets, the key factor for insurance companies is whether you are “convicted of speeding”. A conviction occurs when:

  • You pay the ticket.
  • You’re are found guilty in court.
  • Plead guilty or choose not to dispute the ticket.

This holds true regardless of demerit points. Once a speeding ticket conviction is on your driving record, it can affect your insurance rates for up to 3 years. Understanding this impact is crucial when dealing with a speeding ticket.

The goal with speeding tickets is to keep them off completely, or to delay and reduce the impact on the insurance rates as must as possible.

Demerit Points Don’t Matter

The Real Impact on Insurance: Convictions Over Demerit Points

It’s important to know that your insurance company isn’t concerned with demerit points; what really matters to them are convictions. Drivers should focus on avoiding convictions rather than demerit points. While the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) keeps track of demerit points, it’s the convictions that insurance companies take into account.

Demerit points themselves don’t directly impact your insurance rates. However, accumulating too many points can lead to a licence suspension, which does affect insurance.

To protect your insurance rates, the most effective strategy is to contest your speeding ticket by scheduling a court date. A significant majority of contested speeding tickets are either dismissed or reduced in court. This makes challenging your ticket a viable option for safeguarding your insurance rates.

Early Resolutions & First Attendance

Understanding Early Resolutions and First Attendance in Traffic Cases

When you’re dealing with a traffic ticket, you might encounter options known as ‘early resolutions’ or ‘first attendance.’ These are meetings arranged with the prosecutor, and they have a specific purpose.

In these sessions, the prosecutor’s goal is often to persuade the driver to plead guilty to the offense. In exchange, they might offer a reduction in demerit points or the fine. However, there are critical aspects to consider before agreeing to such a meeting:

  • A Conviction is Registered: If you accept the deal, it results in a formal conviction.
  • Impact on Insurance: This conviction will affect your insurance rates.
  • Prosecutor’s Burden of Proof: By agreeing to a resolution, you waive the requirement for the prosecutor to prove the charge in court.

It’s important to note that even if you accept a reduced charge, the conviction will still appear on your insurance for 3 years, influencing your insurance rates each year. This impact on your driving record and subsequent insurance costs is a significant factor to consider when contemplating early resolutions or first attendance meetings.

Appearing for a first attendance or meeting with the prosecutor, is not in the best interests of the driver.

Many contested traffic tickets are dismissed or reduced on a trial or court date.

Setting a Trial Date

Why Setting a Trial Date is the Optimal Choice for Contesting a Speeding Ticket

Opting to set a trial date to challenge your speeding ticket is often the most advantageous course of action. By choosing to dispute the ticket in court, you effectively preserve your demerit points until the trial and maintain lower insurance rates for a longer period.

By pleading not guilty, a driver can:

  • Delay or potentially avoid paying the fine.
  • Keep any potential conviction off their driving record for a more extended period.
  • Increase their chances of successfully contesting the ticket.
  • Prevent any immediate licence suspensions.

It’s important to note that even if your case does go to trial, most of the options listed on the back of the ticket remain available. If, during the court proceedings, it seems that the prosecution can prove the charge and the officer is present, you still have several choices:

  • Pay the ticket as originally issued.
  • Plead guilty but offer an explanation in mitigation.
  • Engage in discussions with the prosecutor.
  • Continue with the trial process.

Setting a trial date provides these flexible options, allowing you to make a more informed decision based on the developments of your case. It is a recommended strategy for those looking to minimize the immediate impacts of a speeding ticket.

What about just paying the ticket?

Considering the Implications of Paying Your Speeding Ticket

It’s more than a fine: When contemplating whether to just pay your speeding ticket, it’s crucial to understand the immediate consequences. Paying the ticket leads to several direct actions:

  • Immediate Record Impact: The ticket is instantly recorded on your driving history.
  • Demerit Points: Any applicable demerit points are immediately applied to your license.
  • Insurance Company Notification: The conviction becomes accessible to your insurance provider.

It’s important to note that any such conviction on your driving record will influence your insurance rates for the next three years. This impact can be significant, depending on your insurance company’s policies and rate structures.

For novice drivers, the stakes are even higher. Accumulating demerit points as a result of paying the ticket could lead to a suspension of your license.

This is particularly pertinent for those holding a G1 or G2 license in Ontario, as any 4 demerit point ticket has a 30 day licence suspension upon conviction.

In summary, while paying a speeding ticket might seem like the simplest solution, it carries immediate and lasting effects that go beyond just settling the fine. Considering these factors is essential in making an informed decision about how to handle your speeding ticket.

Demerit points do not affect insurance rates unless the points accumulate points to a licence suspension.

Pleading Guilty with an Explanation

Understanding the Outcome of Pleading Guilty with an Explanation

Not Recommended: Choosing to plead guilty with an explanation in a traffic case involves appearing in court and presenting yourself to a judge. It’s essential to understand what this decision entails:

  1. Limited Judicial Discretion: The judge’s role in this scenario is confined to potentially reducing the fine. The Judge cannot dismiss the ticket or its consequences.
  2. Immediate Record Impact: Once convicted, the ticket is immediately added to your driving record.
  3. Application of Demerit Points: Along with the conviction, any associated demerit points are applied to your license.
  4. Insurance Company Notification: The conviction becomes accessible to your insurance provider and will be considered when calculating your rates.

As with paying the ticket outright, a conviction through pleading guilty with an explanation will affect your insurance premiums for the next three years. This can lead to a significant increase in your insurance costs over time.

For novice drivers, such as those with G1 or G2 licenses, the repercussions can be even more severe. The accumulation of demerit points could result in a suspension of your license, a factor that must be carefully considered before choosing this option.

Given these implications, pleading guilty with an explanation is generally not recommended, particularly for those looking to avoid long-term impacts on their driving record and insurance rates.