Highway Traffic Act Offences

The Highway Traffic Act are regulatory offences that can come with severe penalties such as hefty fines or even jail time. Convictions for most of these offences will often also effect a person’s vehicle insurance and ability to drive.


Highway Traffic Act Offences Lawyer in Toronto Ontario

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.

Understanding Demerit Points

Any speeding offence over 15 km per hour will result in demerit points on your driving record. There are many misconceptions regarding demerit points. One does not “lose” demerit points on their record. All licensed drivers start with zero points and gain points for being convicted of breaking certain traffic laws. Did you know that demerit points stay on your record for two years from the offence date? If you collect enough points, you can lose your driver’s license.

Highway Traffic Act - Other Consequences

Highway Traffic Act charges may have serious consequences. Increases in driving insurance premiums are connected to Highway Traffic Act convictions. Driving while one’s Licence is Under Suspension, for example, can result in jail time. There could also be substantial fines and driving prohibitions attached to offences in some situations. All this can have an impact on one's livelihood if a person needs to drive for work.

If you are charges under the Highway Traffic Act, it is sensible to contact a criminal defence lawyer to mitigate the damage to your driving record. Caramanna, Friedberg LLP can help you navigate the system. We have successfully defended hundreds of Highway Traffic Act cases. Please contact our office at (416) 924-5969 for a consultation.

See also, dui / over 80

Frequently Asked Questions

The Highway Traffic Act is Ontario legislation that regulates the classification of traffic offences and vehicles, the licencing of vehicles, and deals with other transport-related issues.

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Under section 32(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, no person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway unless the motor vehicle is within a class of motor vehicles in respect of which the person holds a driver's licence issued to him or her under this Act. There is a set fine of $260.00. There is no jail time, but your future insurance will most likely be impacted.

It is also an offence under section 53 of the Highway Traffic Act to drive while one's driver's licence is suspended. This offence carries a more serious penalty.

  • For a first offence: a fine of not less than $1000, but not more than $5000
  • For each subsequent offence: a fine of not less than $2000, but not more than $5000;
  • OR to a term of imprisonment of not more than six months;
  • OR to both a term of imprisonment AND a fine (the minimum fine varying based on whether it is a first or subsequent offence)
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A Provincial Offence is any act or omission that can result in quasi-criminal charges to be laid. These types of charges can be filed by the Provincial Crown, as well as prosecutors from other provincial agencies, such as the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Finance, Employment Standards Branch, Occupational Health and Safety, and Residential Tenancies (Investigations Branch. Examples of provincial legislation that people are commonly charged under include:

  • Highway Traffic Act charges such as speeding or traffic violations;
  • Environmental Protection Act
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Dog Owners' Liability Act; and
  • Trespass to Property Act.
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There are various defences available in cases involving Highway Traffic Act charges, including, but not limited to:

  • Factual Innocence: Where the Crown is unable to prove the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt;
  • Due Diligence (i.e. in a careless driving case);
  • Necessity;
  • No Knowledge (i.e. in a fail to remain case);
  • Reasonable Excuse (i.e. due to a medical emergency);
  • Technical errors in the offence notice (which the court can rectify).
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While provincial offences (such as those under the Highway Traffic Act) may not form part of one's criminal record, there can still be significant penalties, such as large fines, and even imprisonment. One's insurance rates will also likely be impacted.

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The potential penalties for a conviction of Failing to remain at the scene of an accident under the Highway Traffic Act are as follows:

  • A minimum fine of $200, up to a maximum of $2000; OR
  • to a term of imprisonment for not more than six months; OR
  • To both a fine and imprisonment; AND
  • Potentially a licence suspension for a period of not more than two years.

A conviction for failing to remain may also impact your motor vehicle insurance rates.

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