Help: Careless Driving for Minor Bump <$1,000 No Injuries

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Help: Careless Driving for Minor Bump <$1,000 No Injuries

by: StarShoot on
Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:04 am


I am a novice driver; I just got my G2 licence about three months ago. I am also over 25 years old and I was driving a rental car. I was recently driving downtown Toronto in a 40km/h zone going 20km/h. The driver infront of me suddenly hit the brakes and I hit my brakes as soon as I could. My car touched his vehicle and there was a slightly circular indent on his car made by one of the license plate bolts on my car. The driver asked me to pay cash, to which I felt suspect. Having zero experience with such issues, I decided that it would be best to call the police. I trusted that the police would be able to assess the situation and let me know the appropriate next steps. When the police arrived, he took my information and charged me with careless driving. He also informed me that any accident under $1,000 with no injuries, then you can just exchange insurance information and drive off.

Now, feeling extremely stupid, I do not know how to handle the situation. I personally believe that this was a non-event, and I'm unsure why the police officer charged me with careless driving instead of just informing us to exchange information and drive off. The ticket carries 6 points and a $400 fine. I'm planning on getting a car soon and will need to get car insurance. I know if convicted of careless driving, it would be a major deal for me.

I am still within 15 days of being charged and I have to go and select my options soon.

My questions are:

1) Should I utilize the early resolution option or just go set a trial date immediately?
2) If I go to trial; would this be an absurd incident? Or there is actually some legal grounds that can convict me.
3) Should I hire a traffic ticket lawyer/paralegal? The ones I've spoken to just seems to want to get my money and plea down as soon as possible. I've asked them about trial options and they do not seem too keen on actually going to trial.
4) If I get offered down to 3 pts from early resolution, should I take it? How bad is a three point conviction for insurance purposes. I really can't afford very high insurance rates.
5) Any comments on this situation would be much appreciated.

Thank you.
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by: Stanton on
Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:50 am

The fact that the accident was relatively minor doesn't negate the careless charge in itself. The fact that you failed to notice a vehicle stopping in front of you and struck it would be the argument that you were driving without due care.

In terms of insurance, any conviction is bad, but careless is considered a major infraction and typically results in your insurance rates doubling at the very least. Insurance companies don't go by points, but a typical 3 point offence would probably just be a minor infraction with less serious rate implications.
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by: iFly55 on
Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:07 pm

Calling the police for a rear-end collision, will guarantee the at-fault party a Careless Ticket

The other driver will have to appear in court and provide witness testimony to the accident; if the other driver doesn't appear, the charges will be withdrawn

If the other driver does appear, you can plead down to S. 141 (5) 'Left turn ‑ fail to afford reasonable opportunity to avoid collision' - $110 and 3 demerit points

Do your homework, before you get representation; don't retain plea-bargain firms
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by: Decatur on
Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:17 pm

I don't really agree that "careless is kinda hard to prove" it all depends on the circumstance surrounding the collision. If there's no evidence of follow too close (like a long skid into the back of a stopped vehicle) there's a pretty good chance that the driver didn'tn have due care and attention. Careless isn't given out for all accidents at fault either. If there's a specific charge related to the collision then that charge would likely be laid.
You'll have to weigh the choice of spending money on a Paralegal versus getting disclosure yourself and speaking to the prosecutor and perhaps getting a reduced charge.
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by: CliffClaven on
Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:28 am

admin wrote:Yes contact a Paralegal, theres a form at bottom...Note careless is kind a hard to prove, but its also given out for all accidents at fault.

Is this true? Is a "careless driving" charge normally issued for all at-fault collisions? This seems rather severe to me.

Oh sure, I see how it would be hard to argue that you WERE "driving with due care and attention" if you cause a collision. But why should this be the go-to charge when there are so many other HTA sections to cover so many different driving errors which lead to crashes? And the potential harm caused in a collision can vary tremendously, from as little as a paint scratch to as much as personal injury or death.
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by: Radar Identified on
Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:26 am

CliffClaven wrote:Is this true? Is a "careless driving" charge normally issued for all at-fault collisions?
That depends on the officer. A few will use that as a "normal" charge in this situation, but most will not. In this case, however, one interpretation is that you can't "follow" a stopped vehicle, so they don't use Follow Too Closely if you hit a stopped vehicle... leaving Careless Driving as the most suitable option. Severe, yes, but the black-and-white view is: How can you be driving with due care and attention if you hit a stationary object?

In any case, if I were charged with Careless Driving, I'd absolutely get legal representation.

Oh and yes, never give anyone cash at the roadside. If you want to settle it outside of insurance, only pay the repair shop, and only after they've obtained at least two (preferably three or more) quotes.
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. * OR
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