Careless Driving

Careless Driving Tickets

The offence of Careless Driving according to section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act means the driver drove a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway. It is considered to be one of the major violations for any driver in Canada. 

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

Careless driving ticket covers many different offences such as: 

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

Careless Driving Penalty Upon Conviction:

  • 6 demerit points;
  • fine from $490 to max. $2,000;
  • imprisonment for up to 6 months;
  • possibility of drivers’ licence suspension (max. for 2 years);
  • insurance rate increase.  

Furthermore, the abovementioned penalties could be much higher and consequences may be much serious. If you’re convicted in 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: 

  • fine from $2,000 to max. $50,000;
  • imprisonment for up to 2 years;
  • or both fine and imprisonment;
  • drivers’ licence suspension (max. for 5 years);
  • insurance rate increase (sure!).  

Having a careless driving conviction on your driver’s licence abstract can be used by your insurance company to increase your insurance premium for up to 6 years. There are two parts to this offence when it comes to dealing with insurance companies:

  1. Your insurance premium can be increased by 100% more for up to 6 years for any accidents or claims are made. 
  2. 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 then upon the next renewal.  

Important: any provincial offences ticket resulting in conviction under highway traffic act remains on your driving history forever. Which means that having a prior record of careless driving can seriously impede your ability to apply for government jobs with police, military or other positions requiring clean driving record. 

How to Fight Careless Driving Charge in Ontario

So, how to win a careless driving ticket to ensure you can get the best possible result in order to continue driving. Or possibly even get rid of your charge completely. Here are a few things to know: 

  • Every case is unique. Therefore, fighting careless driving ticket can’t be won based on same or similar defence your friend’s reckless driving lawyer used in the past to help them beat their charges. 
  • Careless driving tickets must be filed with the court within 15 days, to request a meeting with a prosecutor or trial date depending on specific court location. 
  • Careless driving charge can be much more complex matter than a regular speeding offence and courts do not treat them as lightly as minor offences. We strongly advise that you consult with a careless driving lawyer about your defence strategy or help you negotiate the best possible deal with the court without sabotaging your chances because you only get ONE opportunity to defend your rights. 
  • Prior to your early meeting with a prosecutor you should request or obtain police officer’s evidence that will be used in court to prove your guilt in committing 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 ticket – instead it results in wasted time for all court procedures (it takes at least 2-3 court visits to fight any ticket).

Now, we’ll outline the actual steps associated with fighting any careless driving charge.

Step 1: If you want to get the best possible results, you’ll need a lawyer. Every case has its own nuances and tiny details. For non-professional it might be a real nightmare. At the same time a good specialist will know how to provide you 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 rid of the charge completely.


Step 2: File the ticket with a court to receive a date with a prosecutor to discuss a possible reduction of your charge to another substitute offence resulting in less or 0 demerit points, but only if you have been satisfied that police officer has good and sound evidence to prove you were guilty of careless driving. 

Please note: careless driving ticket paralegals can save you time and money by helping you fight the charges against you without you going to court. 

Step 3: Show up at trial prepared to be questioned about every little fact from the day when you were charged with a careless driving offence. And also be ready to ask police officer and other witnesses questions about relevant facts about your charge that would help you draw answers proving that events in your case might have been different than what police officer and other witnesses are suggesting. 

When it comes to fighting a careless driving charge you should definitely prepare by researching many other careless driving cases to understand what evidence courts consider when making a decision after 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.

To summarize everything mentioned above, if you are convicted of careless driving, 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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