Ontario Careless Driving Charges
In Ontario, careless driving
charges have been on the rise for a number of years. This is due to a higher
number of drivers on the roads as well as the overuse of "careless driving”
tickets by police officers. Drivers who are charged with careless driving
should always seek legal counsel in order to fully understand the full
implications of the charge and what rights are available to them.
Many motorists simply pay the fine associated with a traffic ticket
and hope that
the offense will go away. In almost every case, this is a regrettable course of
action. A careless driving charge is a serious offense that will have drastic
effects on your ability to drive for many years. Careless driving charges
remain on the driver abstract for a period of 3 years.
Understanding Careless Driving Charges in Ontario
Drivers are responsible for
operating a motor vehicle with due care and attention at all times. This
includes providing reasonable consideration for other people using the road. A
failure to comply with these requirements can result in a careless driving
charge. The most common scenario for careless driving charges to be laid is
following a collision.
The description of what constitutes
careless driving is broad and leaves a lot of room for subjective
interpretation from both police officers and the courts. This subjective
interpretation allows police officers to charge people with careless driving
even when there are other lesser infractions that are more suitable.
There are two types of careless
driving charges that are possible in Ontario. These types of careless driving
Part 1 Ticket – Allows the
driver the option of entering a plea on the charge. Conviction of a Part 1
careless driving offense carries a maximum fine of $2,000 and six demerit
Part 3 Summons – Requires the
driver to attend court to face the careless driving charge. This is the more
severe charge which carries a maximum fine of $2,000 and six demerit points. In
addition to the fine and demerit points, there is also the possibility of a six-month
imprisonment and a two-year license suspension.
It is important to understand that insurance companies do
not differentiate between Part 1 and Part 3 careless driving offenses.
Conviction of careless driving results in severe insurance rate increases; it
is very common for insurance companies to refuse to provide insurance to
drivers who have been convicted of careless driving.
Fighting Careless Driving Charges in Ontario
If you have been charged with
careless driving it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Experienced traffic ticket
can inform you of your options while reviewing the case and advising
the best way to proceed. In most cases, this involves fighting the charge and
attempting to have it completely dropped. In the event that there is
overwhelming evidence that limits the chances of fighting the charge, a plea
can usually be negotiated for a much lesser offense.