Legislative changes to Communication Devices (Cell Phone Tickets)
Recently, In December of 2017 the Ontario Liberal Government toughened up the penalties for Drive hand-held communication device charges. The ticket would formerly cost you $490 and 3 demerit points. Now, the ticket will cost you a minimum of $500 + Court Costs, and Victim Fine Surchage, which should surpass the $600 mark for the total fine on the ticket. Additionally, the ticket will now carry a 3 day suspension upon your first conviction. A 7 day suspension on a subsequent conviction, and 30 day suspension on a second subsequent conviction.
The government has also put limitations on what resolutions are available at Court. In Richmond Hill and Newmarket Traffic Court, there was a possibility of resolving a s. 78.1(1) Drive hand-held communication device ticket to an owner violation charge under s. 207. The s. 207 resolution would not affect a Defendant’s driving record, and would just carry a fine. Most Defendant’s would accept this resolution to avoid a trial. This system would allow the courts to resolve matters, and free-up court time, while still sending the message of general and specific deterrence to the Defendant and the Public.
So what does this all mean? Well first off, since the resolution of 207 is off the table, it will give Defendant’s less options to consider. Will you be able to get a 0 demerit point resolution? Maybe, but it will be much more difficult than before. The likelihood now is will be seeing more and more Drive hand-held communication device Trials being conducted because of the new suspension penalties.
The new penalties come in to effect on January 1, 2019