If you’ve ever been pulled over and handed a ticket, it burns; both in your heart and your wallet. But what about the demerit points that come with them? Can you still drive with points on your record, and more importantly, how do they affect your insurance premiums?
Let’s start with the first question.
What are demerit points in Ontario?
Demerit points in Ontario penalize drivers who don’t follow road rules. If they break driving laws, they receive demerit points on their driving records. They range from two points added for minor offences (e.g. speeding, improper turns) to seven points for more serious traffic offences (e.g. impaired driving, fleeing the scene of a collision).
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, “the demerit point system encourages drivers to improve their behaviour and protects people from drivers who abuse the privilege of driving.”
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How many demerit points in Ontario will I receive (by offence)
For a complete list of driving offences that cost you demerit points, check out Ontario’s list here.
How demerit points work in Ontario
The effect of demerit points on your driving record depends on your status as a driver.
If you carry a full G license
- 2-8 points – Warning Letter
- 9-14 points – Possible license suspension, driving record interview
Note: The fee for the interview is $50. Failure to attend may result in a license suspension. Failure to pay the fee will result in license cancellation.
- 15 points or more – Automatic suspension for 30 days
Your licence will be suspended for 60 days from the date you surrender it to the Ministry of Transportation
Two ways you can surrender your Ontario license:
- In-person at any ServiceOntario centre
- Mailing your licence to:
Ministry of Transportation
Driver Control Section
77 Wellesley Street West, Box 671
If you have a G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L or M2-L license
- 2-5 points – Warning letter
- 6-8 points – Possible license suspension, driving record interview
- 9 points or more – License suspension for 60 days
Note: Same rules apply for the interview and surrendering your license regardless of class.
How to check your demerit points in Ontario
You can check the number of points you have on your driving record by ordering a copy of your driver’s record online or in person at a ServiceOntario location.
- A certified version has a seal from the Ministry of Transportation and is typically for legal reasons.
The three-year driver’s record is your best bet, as demerit points get removed from your record after two years. But if you’d like a more comprehensive driving record, there are options for that too.
You might need a 5-year, extended or complete driving record for:
- Detailed information
- Information from a more prolonged period
- Legal reasons
How long do demerit points stay on my record in Ontario?
Demerit points stay on your record for two years from the offence date.
If you receive a guilty conviction or pay your fine, only then will the points show on your record. Also, the time it takes for the ticket to pass through the court system is part of the two years.
However, a conviction stays on your record for three years.
A conviction occurs either when you pay your ticket or are found guilty of the offence in court. Once you are convicted, the court sends a record to the Ministry of Transportation.
An offence date is when the offence happens, whereas the conviction date is when they find you guilty in court.
Note: your points transfer between all provinces and certain states, such as Michigan and New York.
How do demerit points affect my Ontario insurance?
Demerit points on their own won’t raise your premiums. However, if they come with a conviction, they will. A driving conviction is when you are found guilty in court of a driving offence like speeding or stunt driving. The use of demerit points in Ontario is to determine who can hold a driver’s license. Demerit points in Ontario are only used to determine who is allowed to hold a driver’s license.
When calculating your Ontario car insurance premium, your insurance company considers the type and class of conviction you received. Factors in determining your premium include any minor, major or criminal convictions you have been charged with.
The three categories of driving convictions are:
- Minor driving convictions (e.g. speeding, improper turns).
- Major driving convictions (e.g. distracted driving, failure to report an accident).
- Criminal driving convictions (e.g. racing, failure to remain at an accident).
A conviction’s class depends on how many demerit points you receive for an offence.
- Minor violations – 0-3 points
- Major and criminal violations – 6 points or more
Regardless of the number of points added, any class of conviction will raise your insurance premium.
Frequently Asked Questions about demerit points in Ontario
If speeding, how many demerit points do I get on my driving record?
- 0-15 km/h over the limit – 0 points
- 16 – 29 km/h over the limit – 3 demerit points
- 30-49 km/h over the limit – 4 demerit points + 30-day suspension for G1 and G2 drivers
- 50km/h over the limit – 6 demerit points + 30-day suspension for G1 and G2 drivers
The effect of speeding varies on how much over the limit you were travelling. If you’re caught racing or stunt driving – that’s 6 demerit points, one-year licence suspension, 7-day vehicle impounding, fines between $2,000-$10,000 and possible jail time.
How do speeding tickets affect my demerit points?
Speeding tickets affect you in the following ways:
- At (9) nine demerit points, the Ministry of Transportation requires you to attend an interview to see why the driver’s licence should not be suspended.
- At (15) fifteen demerit points, you receive a mandatory 30-day licence suspension
- novice drivers are suspended for any accumulation of four or more demerit points
Do red-light cameras count towards demerit points?
A regular red light ticket in Ontario results in (3) three demerit points alongside a $325 fine.
In contrast, there are no demerit points for a red light camera ticket in Ontario.
When a red light camera spots a driver disobeying a red light traffic signal, a camera ticket occurs.
The bottom line
If you end up on the wrong side of some demerit points, be sure to consider the type of offence and what that means for your car insurance premiums. Except for major driving offences, you are typically allowed to drive with demerit points in Ontario. However, it’s essential to exercise caution while doing so. The best way to avoid demerit points is by following traffic laws, so the next time you find yourself behind the wheel, be sure to drive safely.
If you’ve been hit with a ticket, convicted, and have a few demerit points on your record, your car insurance premiums may have increased. If so, you can compare car insurance quotes and learn more about other factors that may affect your premiums.