Highway Traffic Act Offence Lawyer in Hamilton


You would be hard pressed to find someone with a driver’s licence who had not received a speeding ticket in the history of his or her life behind the wheel. Before paying a speeding ticket, however, you should be aware of the implications. Sending in the payment for a ticket is an instant admission of guilt. Aside from the financial cost, there are other consequences to paying a ticket.

Note that Highway Traffic Act offences are the most commonly tried offences in Provincial Offences court with over 1.3 million offences being tried each year. The most common of these (in order of frequency) are:

  • Speeding
  • Red light – proceeding before the green light
  • Driving a motor vehicle with no currently validated permit
  • Disobeying stop sign (failing to stop)
  • Racing and or Stunt Driving (50 over)


The offence of speeding is committed when a driver drives at a speed above the legal limit. It is also an offence to drive so slowly that you block traffic. Speeding tickets are usually the result of a police radar check. It is difficult to fight a speeding ticket if the police have radar evidence against you.

The only possible defence to a speeding ticket is that you were not speeding. This means that you must argue that the evidence against you is wrong. You could try arguing that the radar measurement is somehow flawed or mistaken. It is difficult to defend yourself using this argument. Alternatively, you can plea bargain with the prosecutor. A plea bargain is where you make a deal with the prosecutor that they reduce the charge against you, and in exchange you agree to plead guilty. For example, they might reduce your speeding ticket to a lower speed. If you would like to plea bargain, you should talk to the prosecutor.

The point system for speeding in Ontario is as follows:

  • 0 to 15 km/hr. over = 0 points with minor infraction and fined $2.50 times km over limit.
  • 16 to 29 km/hr. over = 3 points with minor infraction and fined $3.75 times km over limit.
  • 30 to 49 km/hr. over = 4 points with minor infraction and fined $6.00 times km over limit.
  • 50+ km/hr. over = 6 points with 30 day license suspension and fined $9.75 time km over limit times $1.25.
  • 50+ km/hr. over while street racing = 6 points with immediate 7 day license suspension and car impoundment with up to two years additional license suspension if convicted and fined between $2,000 to $10,000.

Red light – proceeding before the green light

Traffic Light charges vary upon the charge as well as the penalties associated per charge. A driver in Ontario can face several charges under The Highway Traffic act associated with traffic lights. Some of these charges may include; failing to proceed at a green light, failing to stop at a red light, failing to stop at an amber light, and proceeding before a green light.

Failing to stop at a red light may result in an individual :

  • losing 3 demerit points.
  • A $260 fine plus court costs and victim surcharge.
  • If an accident has occurred, the driver who ran the red light will be deemed at fault.

Driving While Suspended

Driving while suspended means that the police have caught you driving after your licence was suspended. Your licence would have been suspended by the court, police, VicRoads or the sheriff. If the police charge you with an offence of ‘drive while suspended’ you will get a charge sheet. Look at the ‘Details of the charge’ to see what the police officer wrote about your offence. The magistrate refers to this in the courtroom.

There are also penalties if the sheriff suspends your licence for not paying fines and you get caught driving. However, the court will treat the offence less seriously.

Suspended Driving Penalty

Driving while suspended has severe penalties that can dramatically affect you including:

  • Possible six (6) months in jail.
  • Minimum one thousand (1000) dollar fine.
  • Six (6) month licence suspension for a first offence.
  • Minimum five thousand (5000) dollar fine for cases involving alcohol suspensions.
  • Dramatic increases in insurance rates.

Racing and or Stunt Driving (50 over)

Often referred to as over 50, racing or stunt driving can bring serious penalties. The first is the mandatory loss of your vehicle for 7-days; that is also going to cost you in storage fees. The fines are high and conviction will result in 6 demerit points. Your insurance is going to substantially increase!  Furthermore, you may be required to lose your licence for a period of time.  A suspended licence could cost you your job.  You can also be imprisoned for up to 6 months.

Failing to Remain at the Scene of Accident

Anyone operating a motor vehicle that is involved directly or indirectly in a collision on a public road must remain at the scene, render assistance, and provide their name, vehicle registration and valid insurance to the police that attend to the scene. Failure to do so can result in a fine, jail for up to 6 months, and up to a 2 years driver’s licence suspension. 

Talk To a Lawyer

The defence of highly traffic offences can be more complicated than some criminal charges. And loss of driving privileges for some people could have a more severe impact on their careers than would a minor criminal record. If you are charged under the Highway Traffic Act, it is sensible to contact a criminal defence lawyer to mitigate the damage to your driving record.

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