Driving and the use of Your Phone

Driving and the use of Your Phone

On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in Driving Offences on Monday August 19, 2019.

In December of 2017, Ontario passed Bill 174 regulating the sale of recreational marijuana in the province. Under the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act there are changes to the distracted driving laws that came into effect on January 1st, 2019. This will have an impact on all drivers, not just those driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis.

Under the new amendment law enforcement is cracking down on distracted driving, and the consequences are severe. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation Jeff Yurek, as of the first of this year, Ontario has the strictest penalties for repeated distracted driving convictions. These tough new laws and penalties are meant to increase road safety for everyone on our roadways.

Ontario Distracted Driving Laws

Under the new laws while you are driving, including when stopped in traffic or at a red light it is illegal to:

• Text or dial using a phone or other handheld device – unless during an emergency to call 911
• Use any handheld entertainment device (tablet, portable game, etc.)
• View screens unrelated to driving
• Program a GPS – except by voice commands

You can:

• Use hands-free devices with an earpiece, lapel button, or Bluetooth
• View GPS screens that are built in our mounted to the dashboard
• Dial 911

While not specifically included in Ontario’s distracted driving laws, drivers who engage in other actions that take their attention away from the road like eating, drinking, smoking, grooming, reading and/or reaching for objects can also be charged with careless or dangerous driving.

The Penalties

If you are caught driving and talking on your phone or device, texting, calling, or emailing, for your first offence, you will be fined up to $1,000, plus a three-day license suspension, and three demerit points.

More than one conviction sees that fine go up $2,000, a seven-day license suspension, and six demerit points. If you are caught more than twice, that fine goes up to $3,000, and includes a thirty day license suspension.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged or Convicted of Distracted Driving
If you have been criminally charged, the importance of getting advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately cannot be overstressed. The sooner you seek counsel, the better your chances of a favourable outcome.
If convicted, the impact on your life can be severe and lasting including a permanent record, hefty fines, jail time, and/or significantly increased insurance rates. It can impede your ability to travel, eliminate job opportunities, and cause problems in your relationships.

Neuberger Partners LLP are an experienced criminal defence law firm who can go over your options and advise you how to protect yourself if you have been charged, or convicted of a distracted driving offencee. Call our office or complete our contact form today. We have experience successfully defending our clients against a myriad of distracted driving charges and we can help you too!

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COVID-19 UPDATE

On behalf of Neuberger & Partners LLP posted in COVID-19 on Tuesday March 17, 2020.

At Neuberger and Partners, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and have implemented safety measures to ensure the safety of our clients and staff. Our priority is and always will be the health, well-being and safety of our staff, clients and colleagues.

We have put in place various measures to prevent and minimize the impact of COVID-19:

  • In addition to standard hand-washing habits, our staff are washing hands before and after every client interaction;
  • All individuals entering our office will be required to use our hand sanitizer to ensure the safety of our other clients and staff;
  • Regular disinfecting of our offices, public areas, meeting rooms and board rooms as well as increasing the frequency of disinfection of higher-traffic surface areas;
  • If a lawyer or client who has a scheduled meeting is feeling unwell, they will be strongly encouraged to stay home;
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  • We will make every effort to ensure our firm will be stocked up with extra tissue and alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and
  • We will monitor and stay informed from the Government of Canada and World Health Organization for facts as they become available. We will ensure all staff and team members are educated on symptoms and are well informed on prevention and best practices.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will the firm still run if there are closures?

  • We are committed to assisting our clients. We remain open to assist our clients at this time (following aforementioned standards for health and safety). For clients who wish to communicate with our firm virtually, we have the technology for virtual meetings and are able to respond to the needs of our clients in a manner best to protect our staff and clients’ health.

Are staff and lawyers set up to work virtually?

  • All lawyers and staff are set up to work virtually and continue to assist clients and one another remotely. All lawyers are available via telephone, email and virtual video conferencing.

What is the court situation? How will we deal with court closures?

  • At this time, the Superior Court of Justice is closed from March 17, 2020 to June 1, 2020 – unless a judge orders otherwise.
    If you have a March matter, your matter will be postponed to June 2, 2020.
    April matters will be postponed to June 3, 2020 and May matters will be pushed to June 4, 2020.
  • Similarly, the Ontario Court of Justice will be closed for 10 weeks for all out of custody matters in criminal practice court. In custody matters will still be addressed. It is unclear if out of custody matters such as trials or preliminary hearings will continue since the courts have left this decision to the discretion of the judges. However, Bail courts will remain open for the time being.
  • The Court of Appeal for Ontario has suspended all scheduled appeals until April 3, 2020. But we are still able to file materials and apply for urgent appeals to be heard.
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We will be open and available for any questions, comments or concerns. Please call (416) 364-3111 for any further information.

Stay safe and healthy,

Joseph Neuberger