Despite the proven fact that seat belts can save your life in the event of a car accident, there are still a lot of people who chose not to wear them while driving. Usually, if they get caught by a policeman, they will get a seat belt ticket, because such cases are regulated by the seat belt laws.
So, let’s get to it!
Seat Belt Regulations in Ontario
According to the Highway Traffic Act, section 106, every driver should wear a seat belt while driving on a highway and ensure all his passengers under the age of 16 wear the seat belts too (passengers older than 16 years are responsible for buckling up themselves).
All the seatbelts must be in good order and properly adjusted. Also, it must be properly worn: it crosses the chest and lower hips of the person, it is not twisted, the strap shouldn’t be under the arm or behind the back of the driver or passenger.
Seat belt traffic violation includes:
- driver does not wear a seat belt or wear it in an improper way;
- a passenger in the motor vehicle does not wear a seat belt or wearing it in an improper way;
- driver does not ensure his passengers under 16 years wear seat belts;
- passengers in a motor vehicle do not occupy a position with a seat belt;
- driver does not make sure that a child or toddler is properly secured by a child seating system (child car seat) or child restraint system.
But there are some exceptions to wearing a seat belt:
- driving in reverse;
- medical restrictions (driver must have a certificate from a medical practitioner);
- being engaged in work, requiring frequent exiting and entering the motor vehicle and such vehicle’s speed doesn’t exceed 40 km/h.
Despite the fact that you meet one of the abovementioned exceptions, a police officer may still hand you a traffic ticket, thus you’ll have to go to court and defend your rights. But once it comes to fighting seat belt tickets, it’s better to rely on a knowledgeable paralegal, who can prepare a workable defence strategy for you.
Penalties for Seat Belt Violations
Knowing the rules is a good thing, but before getting a ticket for not wearing seatbelt, it’s generally useful to understand the actual consequences. Here is what you may face:
- 2 demerit points upon conviction;
- fine between $200 and $1,000;
- possible insurance rates increase.
Nevertheless, if you’re convicted for driving with an inoperative seat belt, it doesn’t bring any demerit points. But any seat belt charge will remain on your driving record for 3 years and it could be used by your insurance company to increase your premiums, depending on your policy.
How to Fight a Seat Belt Ticket Ontario
Once you received no seatbelt ticket, there could be 2 possible scenarios and several important steps you need to proceed with.
Step 1: As advised, don’t take a risk to be convicted, instead hire a professional paralegal, who can help you with defending your rights in court on behalf of you.
Step 2: Be ready to spend your time to make your own research on your issue and familiarize yourself with dozens of laws and acts to defend your rights in a successful way. File your ticket to a court (within 15 days since the moment you received it) and get a meeting date with a prosecutor. At a court, check the prosecutor’s charge and possible options to reduce your offence (usually it’s about the reduction of demerit points or lower fine). Decide to accept it (you automatically plead your guilty) or to go to trial.
Step 3: Trial itself (if you chose it). Be ready to be questioned about your violation (if any). Prepare questions for a police officer and try to get such answers which draw a different picture of that day (when you’ve got a ticket) compared to his/her initial statements.
If you’re looking for a universal recipe on how to beat a seatbelt ticket in court – it doesn’t exist. Every case is different and there could be some specifics, which should be considered before going to court. But X-COPS team will consider your case under different angles and provide with the best solution, making sure to reduce all your possible expenditures (or even to help you to get your conviction removed) and possible stress, utilizing our experience and expertise. Make a call and let us manage everything in a proper way!