Demerit Points and Common Misconceptions
Many people seem to misunderstand the demerit point system and how it can affect your driving record and/or insurance rates.
One of the biggest misconceptions we see in the court systems is that people rely on prosecutors, Justices, and/or court clerks to issue them with information about demerit points. Often people will be confused as to how soon the demerit points will be added to their record after a court proceeding. Although court officials may be able to help you and provide you with certain information in regards to demerit points, the courts are not the ones who issue them. Once you are found guilty of a charge (whether through a plea or trial) this information is sent to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). The MTO is then the authority who issues the demerit points and adds them to your driving record.
Another common misconception we see in the legal system is how demerit points affect your insurance rates. If you are found guilty of a charge that holds 0 demerit points, you are still found guilty of a charge regardless of the amount of demerit points it holds. An example of this is driving 15km/h over a posted speed limit. Such a charge holds 0 demerit points, but if you are found guilty then a charge of speeding will show on your record regardless of the points. Most insurance companies will see a guilty charge and will take this as an opportunity to increase your rates. Others may be more lenient, and may not increase your rates if the charge holds 0 points. This is completely dependent on your insurance company, the coverage you have with them, and your own personal driving record.
It is best to always update yourself and ensure your knowledge of the system is current and correct. If you are faced with such charges and are still unaware of how to proceed, hiring an experienced paralegal that can consult and represent you effectively can always be more effective than attempting to represent yourself. It is always best to take the right steps to protect yourself and your rights.
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