What Every Canadian Motorist Needs to Know

Ontario Drivers Beware


Driver Beware - What Every Canadian Motorist Needs to Know.
Being in such close proximity to the border, I receive many calls and emails from Ontario drivers that have received traffic tickets in New York State. Many of those drivers believe that as long as they respond to the ticket and pay any associated fines they have nothing to worry about. They could not be more wrong. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation: “Drivers convicted of a driving related offence in the State of New York, the State of Michigan or any Canadian province or territory, will have home jurisdictional penalties such as demerit points and/or suspensions applied to their Ontario driver record as if the offence occurred in Ontario.”[1] 
This means that traffic tickets you receive in New York State can greatly affect your Ontario driver’s license. Your Ontario driver’s license can even be suspended as a result of traffic convictions in New York State. At fifteen (15) or more demerit points your Ontario driver’s license will be suspended. If you are a Class G1, G2, M1 or M2 driver, your license will be suspended after only nine (9) or more points.[2] Not only does the Ministry of Transportation collect information regarding out-of-province traffic violations, Ontario law seems to require the Ontario Registrar of Motor Vehicles to keep such records.[3]
Consider a recent phone call I received from a client. My client, an Ontario driver, received a speeding ticket in upstate New York as he was traveling from Toronto to visit friends and family in the Finger Lakes wine region. The ticketing police officer, although courteous and even apologetic, mistakenly gave my client incorrect information – that he should just plead guilty and that this speeding ticket would have no impact on his Ontario driver’s license. Wrong! The speeding ticket in New York State added eight (8) demerit points on his record and the Ministry of Transportation suspended his license. Now, instead of spending a small amount of money on a New York lawyer in the first place, he is spending hundreds of dollars more on attorneys in New York and Ontario (see my related article on coram nobis motions). 
In a most cases involving Ontario drivers my clients do not have to come to court as I go for them. (Imagine not having to sit at a border crossing for a long time and then showing your passport to some customs agent just to travel to court!) In a typical case I arrange for a reduction of the traffic ticket and strive to minimize the points for my clients. For more information or for a free consultation regarding traffic tickets, please contact me at Lorenzo@napolitanolaw.com

[1] See Ontario Ministry of Transportation website – Demerit Point System http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/demerit.shtml
[2] Id. 
[3] See Highway Traffic Act §205.