The majority of people who receive a speeding ticket in Ottawa simply pay it and forget about it. But did you know that by doing this, they admit guilt (often unnecessarily)?
Many tickets issued under the Highway Traffic Act are issued erroneously and people receive fines and demerit points despite doing nothing wrong.
Fines are convenient money-makers for the authorities but the demerit points on your license can become a huge inconvenience for you. In many cases, they lead to a license suspension, creating great hardship for drivers who rely on their vehicles to get to work and go about their normal day-to-day business.
That’s why fighting a ticket might be your best option. At Affordable Defence in Ottawa, our lawyers can represent you in such cases without you even appearing in court.
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What are Highway Traffic Act offences?
The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) of Ontario regulates vehicle licensing and traffic offences. Most typically, tickets issued are related to the following types of offences:
- Red light offences
- Driving without a valid license
- Failing to stop
- Distracted driving (driving while holding a hand-held device)
Consequences of HTA offences
Driving offences like these are not criminal offences but you can go to jail. A good example is if you are caught driving with a suspended licence.
Such offences usually do not result in harsh penalties (fines and demerit points) but do account for many court trials in Ottawa. The fines generate considerable funds for the province.
Another potential consequence is the removal of driving privileges if you exceed the number of demerit points allowed on your license. It may also increase your insurance premiums, meaning that the financial penalties last well into the future.
Because of the multiple potential consequences of receiving a ticket, hiring a lawyer to fight it may be a wise move, especially if you rely on your driver’s license like many Ontarians.
Understanding the demerit point system in Ontario
Every driver in Ontario starts with zero points on their license and accumulates demerit points if they commit traffic offences.
Speeding at 15 km per hour over the limit will result in demerit points being added to your license, like with most offences outlined in the Highway Traffic Act.
These points stay on your record for two years from the date of the offence. If you accumulate 15 points or more, your license will be suspended for 30 days. For new drivers who accumulate more than nine points, their license will be suspended for 60 days.
Demerit points may also be added to your license if you are convicted of violating driving laws in other Canadian territories/provinces or in New York and Michigan states in the U.S.
Why hire a lawyer to fight your driving ticket in Ottawa?
To some people, it might seem like overkill to hire a lawyer to fight a simple speeding ticket.
It is possible to successfully challenge a ticket but it takes time and know-how. Many people consider it easier to pay the fine and move on.
However, for others who rely heavily on their driving record and their license, hiring a lawyer can mean the following:
- Maintaining a license: if a traffic offence lawyer successfully gets your ticket overturned, you receive no demerit points—which can make the difference between a suspension and continuing to drive.
- Professional defence: our lawyers know where to look for compelling defences to each type of traffic offence—few people who represent themselves have this capability.
- Experienced negotiation: our lawyers can often talk to prosecutors and persuade them to lessen the charges or drop them altogether.
- No wasted time in court: we can represent you in court so that no personal appearance from you is required.
Defenses for highway traffic act offences
Generally, in Highway Traffic Offence cases, our lawyers will employ one of the following defences:
- A technical defect on the ticket
If there is an error on your ticket, such as the wrong date or the wrong spelling of your name, a charge will not necessarily be thrown out but an experienced lawyer can make a strong case for the charge being unsupportable.
- Mistaken identity or no crime committed
Factual mistakes with the offence can be a powerful defence in certain circumstances. Sometimes, we can argue that no offence was committed based on the available evidence—or that the wrong person was charged.
- Insufficient or inaccurate evidence
Sometimes, the equipment used to gather evidence against a driver can be called into question. It may be wrongly calibrated or inaccurate and this can be used in your defence.
Perhaps the officer’s observations at the time of the alleged offence can be called into question and third-party witnesses may be available to contradict law enforcement.
Affordable defence for highway traffic tickets in Ottawa
Traffic ticket offences can become complex. You need a lawyer with a good understanding of the technicalities of road laws in Ontario.
At Affordable Defence, we have successfully defended many traffic ticket offences in Ottawa, enabling many local drivers to retain their driving privileges.
If your driving license is important to you, it may be worth investing a little to ensure you keep it. Our fees are reasonable because even though ticket cases may be technical, they are not too resource-intensive and are usually relatively quick to resolve.
Contact an experienced highway traffic offense lawyer at Affordable Defence for a free case evaluation.