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What is Careless Driving?

Careless Driving in Ontario is a traffic ticket charge that is usually given to someone who has been involved in a collision. However, a Careless Driving Ticket is a very broad charge that covers many different driving situations including matters without an accident. Careless Driving charges are given to drivers because of an accident where a police officer was not at the scene and unable to witness what specific driver’s actions which caused a motor vehicle accident.

In reference to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act Section 130 (1), it is defined as driving without due care, attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway; and, anyone, who chooses to put themselves and other road users at risk by driving aggressively or carelessly.

What are the Penalties for Careless Driving?

If you are convicted of a Careless Driving ticket in Ontario there will be a significant increase in your insurance premiums due to its effect on your driving record. Your premiums will increase for at least three years from your Insurance company.

In January 2022 fully licenced drivers who receive a licence suspension for poor driving behaviours, including careless driving in Ontario, will see monetary fines for each suspension.

Depending on the severity of the Careless driving in Ontario charge, fines and penalties will vary. See below more information on the different types of Careless Driving in Ontario tickets you could receive.

suspended-license-lawyer-toronto-traffic-stop Careless Driving
  • First suspension $2500
  • Second suspension $350
  • Third and subsequent suspensions $450 each
  • Minimum 30 day licence suspension for novice drivers (G1/G2)
  • Increased fines in construction zones
  • Increase insurance rates
  • Possible loss of employment if your job requires a clean driving abstract 

Part one


  • A $490 fine
  • 6 demerit points 
  • The start of 3-5 years of major insurance rate increases
  • 6 demerit points will come off your record 2 years after the offence date

Careless driving in Ontario with a fine – paying this ticket is an admission of your guilt, it will result in a careless driving conviction on your record carrying 6 demerit points (+ licence suspension for novice drivers)

part two

Careless Driving Summons Section 130 (1) H.T.A.

  • A fine $400 – $2,000
  • A Summons ordering you to attend court
  • 6 demerit points  
  • Jail for up to 6 months
  • Drivers licence suspension for up to 2 years

Careless driving in Ontario without a fine – drivers will receive this summons to appear in court in more serious situations (possibility of higher fines, licence suspension for fully licenced drivers, jail time)

Part three

Careless Driving Summons Causing Bodily Harm or Death Section 130 (3) H.T.A.

  • A fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000
  • A Summons ordering you to attend court
  • If you do not appear, a warrant for your arrest can be issued
  • 6 demerit points 
  • Jail for up to 2 years
  • Drivers licence suspension for up to 5 years
careless-driving-lawyer-street-legal-1024x683 Careless Driving

What are some examples of Careless Driving?

  • A motor vehicle accident 
  • Fail to yield for pedestrians or cyclists
  • Distracted driving such as eating, drinking, putting makeup on, texting
  • Excessive speed
  • Making a risky pass
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Fail to check mirrors when changing direction or reversing



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Careless Driving FAQ:

Is Careless Driving a Criminal Charge?


Careless driving in Ontario is not a criminal offence.

Careless driving is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act which is provincial law. Criminal offences are under the Criminal Code of Canada and are federal laws. The main difference between a Highway Traffic Act and a Criminal charge is that there is no intent to commit the act in traffic offences. For example, a driver made a mistake while driving causing an accident. However, if a driver were participating in a planned drag race that is showing intent. Careless driving is a classified as a provincial statute – whereas dangerous driving is subject to the Criminal Code of Canada.

If the police suspect there was malicious intent, you may receive a charge for dangerous driving, which have heavy penalties and a possible criminal conviction. As well, careless driving charges are only applicable on roadways. Meaning, you will not be charged for it at a parking lot accident, or driveways and/or private roads.

What is the Insurance Impact of Careless Driving Ticket?


With a careless driving conviction in Ontario on your driving record, you could face major insurance repercussions. Careless Driving in Ontario is considered one of the most serious offences. Drivers may see a 50%-100% increase in insurance payments, some insurers may even cancel or not renew your policy when it expires as you may be considered a high-risk driver. You may also have issues obtaining new insurance after having your policy cancelled by another company along with the major conviction on your record. 

A defensive driving course can typically help licenced adults save between 5% and 10% on their auto insurance. The amount that participating in driving school lowers your insurance depends on the insurer you’re with. But keep in mind that only accredited programmes are covered by this. Insurance companies do not always approve of driving schools. After the age of 25, your auto insurance rates typically start to decline annually. This reduction only affects one component of your rate, so it could be offset by other elements like rising car prices, traffic infractions, and accidents.

Is your licence suspended because of unpaid fines?

Our team will work effectively to file the necessary court documents immediately: 1. Notice of Appeals 2. Motions to Extend the Time to File an Appeal 3. Organize extensions of time to pay your fines with easy payment plans
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Careless Driving Defences

A Careless Driving Ticket can be defended in court with the appropriate legal counsel because it is considered a strict responsibility infraction, 

Due diligence: 

The presiding trier of fact may declare an action innocent if the defendant can demonstrate at trial that reasonable measures were taken to prevent the commission of the offence (action) or that extraordinary circumstances/conditions may have contributed to an accident or driving behaviour.

The onus is always on the Crown Prosecutor to prove all necessary elements beyond a reasonable doubt because Careless Driving is a quasi-criminal offence, which means that the court process is like that of its criminal code counterpart.

The Crown Prosecutor must persuade the court of the following:

  • The offense/driving behaviour occurred on a highway while the defendant was operating a motor vehicle
  • Technicalities like date, time, jurisdiction, and identity are acceptable in the charging officer’s opinion
  • The driver operated a motor vehicle without adequate caution or attention
  • The driver operated a motor vehicle without exhibiting reasonable consideration for other drivers who were on the highway.

As a driver in Ontario, you have the right to challenge your Careless Driving Ticket in Ontario in front of a judge. You may challenge the officer’s opinion that you were driving carelessly. To be found guilty Of Careless Driving, the judge will make a final decision after hearing from both the officer and you or your legal representative. Prosecution must prove that you were driving carelessly, as you received the Careless Driving ticket based on the officer’s opinion.

Demerit points across ontario

Did you know...

7 Points – Failing to Remain at Scene of Accident

7 Points – Driver failing to stop when signaled or requested to by a police officer

6 Points – Careless Driving

6 Points – Racing

6 Points – Failing to Stop for School Bus

6 Points – Exceeding Speed limit by 50 Kilometers per hour or more

5 Points – Driver of public vehicle or School Bus failing to stop at Railway Crossings

4 Points – Exceeding Speed limit by 30-49 Kilometers per hour

4 Points – Following too closely

3 Points – Exceeding Speed limit by 16-29 Kilometers per hour

3 Points – Driving through, around, or under Railway Crossing Barrier

3 Points – Failing to Yield Right of Way

3 Points – Failing to obey a stop sign, signal light or Railway Crossing Signal

3 Points – Failing to Obey directions of police constable

3 Points – Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed highway

3 Points – Failing to report an accident

3 Points – Improper passing

3 Points – Improper Driving where highway divided into lanes

3 Points – Crowding Driver’s Seat

3 Points – Drive Wrong Way – Divided Highway

3 Points – Cross Divided highway – No proper crossing provided

3 Points – Wrong Way in one way Street or Traffic

3 Points – Failing to slow down and proceed with caution when approaching stopped emergency vehicle

3 Points – Failing to move into another lane when approaching stopped emergency vehicle – if safe to do

2 Points – Backing on a highway

2 Points – Pedestrian Crossover

2 Points – Failing to share road

2 Points – Improper Right Turn

2 Points – Improper Left Turn

2 Points – Failing to Signal

2 Points – Unnecessary Slow Driving

2 Points – Failing to lower headlamp beam

2 Points – Improper opening of vehicle door

2 Points – Prohibited Turns

2 Points – Towing of persons on toboggans, bicycles, skis, etc. prohibited

2 Points – Failing to obey sign prescribed by regulation under subsection 182(1)

2 Points – Driver failing to wear complete Seatbelt assembly

2 Points – Driver failing to ensure passenger under 16 years wears complete seatbelt assembly

2 Points – Driver failing to ensure child passenger under 23 Kilograms occupies position with seatbelt

PROFESSIONAL case evaluation

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Simply fill out our form telling us about your ticket. Upload a photo of your ticket and drivers licence or photo ID and we’ll be in touch with you within 2 business days to discuss how to proceed with our services and what you can expect. This initial review and consultation is free of charge, so book now.


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Thank you very much Street Legal! I was in contact with Jackie and her staff who were awesome. Their services were very informative and made me feel comfortable throughout the process. Very professional and well worth every penny. I was able to receive the best of all possible outcomes. No points deducted and no fine paid. I would highly recommend their services. Thank you once again, you made my holiday!
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Jackie and her staff were very helpful and accommodating to me with payment plans and were always nice and courteous. It took me a while to get the balance down and they always gave me kind and gentle reminders and nice phone calls. Jackie actually got me off for one of my tickets!! No demerit points no charge!! Very impressed and happy with her and the team at street legal. Nice women doing good things and helping people.
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Jackie is fantastic at what she does! I was accused of driving 43 over the limit on a highway and I was a bit scared that I wouldn’t stand a chance to win the case. But jackie was very confident that she would get the charges withdrawn. And of course she got the case withdrawn fully. No demerit point, No fine. I’m so grateful for your help on this one jackie. And I also want to say thank you to Amanda, who helped me on the case. Anyone looking for a legal help on you traffic tickets, look no other. Jackie is the real deal!!
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