Norbert Bartels  Barrister            Solicitor           Notary Public


Criminal Offense


Young Offender



Wills, Estate

Power of Attorney





Criminal Offense


Young Offender



Wills, Estate

Power of Attorney




Highway Traffic Offences





      The Criminal Code includes offences such as Dangerous Driving, Criminal

      Negligence in the Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Impaired Driving, Driving

      with Excess Blood Alcohol, Refusing a Breathalyzer, Leaving the Scene of

      an Accident and  Driving while Disqualified. There are others.


      These offences are prosecuted in the Criminal Courts by a Crown Attorney.

      A guilty verdict results in a loss of driving privileges (at least one

      year in Ontario) as well as fines or jail. Also a conviction means a

      criminal record.


      Before driving privileges are restored, one has to go through a driver

      re-education program (expensive) and install an ignition interlock device on

      his or her car (more expense).


      That's not the end of it. In case of an accident (and an insurance claim),

      the conviction (if it involves alcohol) will likely be treated by the

      insurer as proof of a "policy violation" and the driver may be sued for

      any insurance claims paid out. At a minimum, he or she will be denied

      their own collision coverage and have to repair their own car.


      Although, technically Canadian civil and criminal courts have little to do

      with each other, try convincing an insurance mediator, arbitrator or civil

      court judge that you were wrongly convicted of a motor vehicle criminal

      offence involving alcohol and that you deserve to collect some insurance

      benefits. Lots of luck!


      O.J. Simpson was acquitted in criminal court but found liable in civil

      court. Imagine the civil result, had he been convicted. Not that he would

      have cared much at that point.


      If you find yourself charged with a motor vehicle criminal offence,

      especially involving alcohol, don't rush into pleading guilty. And you'd

      be wise not to try and defend yourself. You'll regret it later on.





      Motor vehicle prosecutions under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) are by a

      provincial prosecutor before a provincially appointed Justice of the

      Peace. There are other Provincial statutes that list motor vehicle

      offences, however, the HTA is the main one detailing what you can't do on

      public roads.


      There are dozens of things you can do with a car to offend the HTA. They

      include Careless Driving, Failure to Remain at the Scene of an Accident,

      Driving while Suspended, Failure to Stop for Police, Failure to Stop for a

      School Bus and Speeding. The list goes on and on.


      Although, HTA offences are not criminal as such, the result of a

      conviction can be almost as bad. HTA convictions can result in licence

      suspensions, fines, demerit points and jail. A recent addition to the HTA

      allows police to impound vehicles driven by those who have lost their

      driving privileges because of criminal convictions such as Impaired

      Driving, Driving with Excess Blood Alcohol, Dangerous Driving and others.

      And my earlier insurance remarks apply to HTA convictions as well. Even if

      you don't have an accident, a series of minor HTA convictions can cost you

      lots of money at renewal time.


      The moral of the story is this; If you're facing any Criminal or HTA

      charges because of something you did or didn't do with a car, truck or

      motorcycle, think twice before heading off to court to plead guilty ("I

      just want to get it over with"). Many ill considered guilty pleas have

      caused tremendous grief later on. So before you do it, at least discuss

      the matter with someone who defends people for a living.


470  Hensall Circle, Suite 304Mississauga, Ontario,  L5A 3V4.

Norbert Bartels, Barrister and Solicitor