Careless Driving

Careless Driving Ticket Ottawa

The offence of careless driving in Ontario according to section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act means the driver drove a vehicle or streetcar on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.

It is one of the “most popular” traffic violations in Canada.

Careless driving charge is usually issued to drivers as a result of an accident where a police officer was not present and was not able to see what specific driver’s actions led to a motor vehicle accident.

What is Careless Driving (main offences, covered by careless driving tickets):

  • following too close;
  • trying to make a turn at an intersection before the amber light signal turns red;
  • coming into contact with another motor vehicle from the back;
  • failing to check mirrors before maneuver;
  • talking and holding a cell phone while driving;
  • changing lanes on the highway without signalling and speeding at the same time;
  • reading a newspaper while standing in traffic on the highway (YES, there are such cases too!), etc.

Types of careless driving tickets:

  • careless driving ticket without an accident;
  • careless driving ticket with an accident;
  • careless driving ticket causing bodily harm or death.

Penalties for Careless Driving NOT Causing Bodily Injury or Death:

Type of penaltyDetails
Demerit points6 demerit points
Finestarts from $490 to maximum $2,000
Jail timeup to 6 months
Licence suspensionmaximum for up to 2 years
Insuranceinsurance rates increase

Furthermore, the abovementioned careless driving penalties could be much higher and consequences may be much serious.

Penalties for Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death:

If you’re convicted of careless driving causing death or careless driving causing bodily harm to any person (acc. section 130 (3) of the Highway Traffic Act) you will be liable to:

Type of penaltyDetails
Demerit points6 demerit points
Finestarts from $2,000 to maximum $50,000
Imprisonmentfor up to two years
Licence suspensionmaximum for up to 5 years
Insurancesignificant insurance rates increase

*upon conviction, the penalty could be both fine and imprisonment


Having a careless driving conviction on your driver’s licence abstract can be used by your insurance company to increase your insurance premiums for up to 6 years.

There are two parts to careless driving offence when it comes to dealing with insurance companies:

  • Your insurance premium can be increased by 100% more for up to 6 years for any accidents or claims are made. 
  • Or in case a driver also gets convicted of reckless driving, insurance companies may decide to cancel the driver’s insurance policy and simply refuse to insure them upon the next renewal.

Important: any provincial offences traffic ticket resulting in a conviction under the Highway Traffic Act remains on your driving record forever. This means that you may not get some government jobs requiring clean driving history when having a prior record of careless driving.

Things to Know

So, before diving into the details about how to reduce your charge or how to win a careless driving ticket and get the best possible result in order to continue driving, you need to understand the following:

  • Each case is unique. Therefore, fighting careless driving ticket Ottawa can’t be won based on the same or similar defence your friend’s reckless driving lawyer used some time ago to help them beat their charges. 
  • Careless driving tickets need to be submitted to the traffic court within 15 days, to request an early resolution meeting with a prosecutor or date of trial.
  • Careless driving charge in Ottawa can’t be treated by the court as a regular speeding offence or as minor offences. Thus, it is highly recommended to consult with a careless driving lawyer regarding your defence strategy. Traffic tickets paralegals know how to negotiate the best solution with the court without decreasing your chances. Remember, there is only ONE possibility to advocate your rights.
  • Before an early resolution meeting with a prosecutor, you should familiarize yourself with the police officer’s evidence that the court will use as proof of your guilty in perpetrating a careless driving offence in front of the justice of the peace.

Most people think that by showing in court and explaining how they followed driving rules will help them get off. But unfortunately, they are faced with a situation where this only proves the fact they were actually breaking the law and announce to the court how they meet at least one of the criteria listed in the wording of the careless driving offence which gets them convicted as a result.

This tactic does not help anyone to beat careless driving charge Ottawa – instead, it results in wasted time for all court procedures (it takes at least 2-3 court visits to fight any ticket).

How to Fight Careless Driving Charge in Ottawa

The main thing you need to understand – you need to fight your careless driving ticket! Here are the steps:

  1. Don’t pay your traffic ticket or plead guilty.
  2. Submit your ticket to the court within 15 days.
  3. Schedule a trial date with the appropriate court.
  4. Prepare for the trial. 
  5. Attend on your trial date prepared to fight your ticket.

Such a scenario will be the best option, because during the trial process the ticket doesn’t go on your record, as well as you don’t get demerit points. Also, the prosecutor has to prove that you’re guilty. At the same time, you need to prepare evidence that you’re not guilty.

At trial, you can have more possibilities to win the case due to some legal issues that may occur or because some of the witnesses fail to appear in court.

When fighting a careless driving charge you should properly prepare by researching many other careless driving cases to understand what evidence courts consider when making a decision after the trial has been completed.

A methodical strategy must be discussed prior to trial to ensure that your questions and arguments used can be applied in your situation and finally even if you feel that you have a strong case sometimes just knowing which battles to NOT undertake goes a long way to getting the best possible outcomes when it comes to complex trial procedures.


If you really want to get the best possible result, you’ll need legal advice and the representation of a traffic ticket lawyer or paralegal. For non-professional it might be a real nightmare.

At the same time, a good specialist will know how to provide you with the best possible careless driving defence and ensure your driving record stays clean for as long as possible while reducing your careless driving fine, or even help you to get your ticket dismissed completely.

Moreover, careless driving ticket paralegals can save your time and money by helping you to fight the charges without you going to court!

To summarize everything mentioned above, if you are convicted of driving carelessly, don’t waste your time searching the internet. Just make a call and we’ll prepare the best strategy for you today!

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