Are there different penalties for traffic violations in Quebec as opposed to Ontario?
A Quebec motorist driving in Ontario is not immune to traffic tickets causing a loss of demerit points. There exists a legal agreement between the two provinces of Quebec and Ontario that states by law some traffic infractions will transfer between provinces, following the drivers home. Which infractions will transfer are listed inside this agreement and range from seat belt to speeding tickets. The points will transfer across provinces and apply to a driver’s licence as if the infractions were received in Quebec. For example, usually an Ontario driver who receives a speeding ticket of 15 km/h over the limit will not be deducted any demerit points from their licence. However, a Quebec driver receiving the same ticket in Ontario will not be so lucky and if they plead guilty their license will be affected by a loss of demerit points.
More specifically, a court in Ontario, once you are found guilty, where found, by plea or by default, will signal to the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario that you have incurred a penalty. This will then trigger the Ministry to report the infraction to the SAAQ who will finally apply the demerit points to the license in question. Once on the license they will act as if the infraction was received in Quebec and the points will remain on the license for two years from the date of judgement. If unsure, in order to determine how and if your license will be affected you can consult the agreement, which can be found on-line or contact the SAAQ for further clarification. However, it is important to know that you cannot simply ignore a ticket in a different provinces as they will continue to follow you, at times with demerit points, and with fines that will continue to accumulate for as long as you choose to ignore them.
The legal process in Ontario differs from Quebec in several respects. One of the most important ways it differs is that in Ontario paralegals can represent in your for such things as traffic offences, which is not true in Quebec where only licenced lawyers can make such representations. In addition, in Ontario is some cases legal professionals can conduct a trial without the presence of the client. This is also opposite to Quebec where a person must be present at their own trial. Therefore, when choosing legal representation is also important to ensure you are getting the best and more effective representation possible in the province they are allowed to practice in. You need a legal professional who is comfortable reviewing disclosure, negotiating with prosecutors and representing you in front of the judge if need be.
The case for hiring a lawyer for an out of province ticket is a strong one. For one it is difficult to quickly learn the penal laws of another province. Depending on the infraction the laws can be intricate and complex. This why it is important to at the very least consult a legal professional in the province you received the ticket to understand how better to prepare your defense. These professionals will know the details necessary to strengthen your case as much as possible. They will have in-depth knowledge on negotiation procedures with prosecutors, and the ins and outs of the courts. It is important to find one you trust, who can most effectively represent you in an out of province court.