For the most part, when drivers make a mistake it’s not intentional but rather because they’ve grown careless and overconfident. Once you’ve been pulled over by a police officer, it doesn’t matter why you made an error; all that matters is that you made one. It’s best to pay attention and follow the laws so as not to put your own safety or others’ at risk.
In Ontario, verbal police warnings are sometimes given to drivers for minor offences such as a broken headlight and in some cases, you are given a warning for speeding. These are not the same as tickets and will not go on your driving record.
In this article, we’ll explore what these warnings mean and how they can affect your insurance rates.
A police warning can come in two forms: a verbal warning and a written warning. A written warning ticket is a document issued by law enforcement officers to let you know that they noticed an infraction on the road (speeding, parking, etc.). Mostly, these are not filed with courts; rather, it’s just for your understanding and awareness of what happened. However, if there is a court date at the back of this letter then you’ve likely been issued a citation. Oftentimes people will choose to pay the ticket instead of fighting it, as getting into legal battles can be expensive and time-consuming.
If you’ve received a ticket under the Provincial Offenses Act, then you may pay your fine at the court location per the instructions on your ticket. The payment can be made by mail, online, over the phone, or in person. You can fill out the information on the back of the ticket, sign it and mail it to your municipality within 15 days. There is also an option to fight the ticket for those who don’t think they deserve their charge.
Verbal warning vs written warning
A verbal warning is usually issued when you’re pulled over for a minor infraction like a broken tail light. There are no fines, records, or demerit points issued with a verbal warning; it’s just to let you know that they noticed the offense and will take action if there are any further violations.
Written warning tickets are given when a verbal warning is not enough. These tickets can be issued for more serious infractions such as speeding and parking violations, but they don’t carry any fines or demerit points either.
If you receive a verbal warning, then thank the officer and keep moving—you don’t want to risk being given a ticket for something else. which can lead to an increase in your insurance rates.
What does a warning ticket look like?
The look of a warning ticket can differ depending on the province or municipality you live. Typically, they all follow the same format which includes:
- Ticket number
- Issuing officer
- Officer number
- Date & Time of the warning
- The event of the warning (ie. speeding, parking, etc.)
- Plate number
What happens when an officer gives you a warning?
A warning ticket is given when an officer believes that the person should be stopped, but doesn’t think it warrants a charge. This could happen for many reasons including speeding or not wearing your seatbelt.
When you are pulled over by police, they may ask to see your driver’s licence and registration as well as request any other type of documentation they may need.
The officer will then look at the driver’s license and insurance to ensure they are valid, which also includes checking for any tickets against your name. This is when the traffic warning ticket may come into play.
A police officer can issue a verbal or written warning to you, depending on their discretion. If it’s a verbal warning then they will typically fill out an official document with your information during that traffic stop and give you the paper after explaining what was wrong and why this happened. A police officer can issue a warning if they believe an offence was committed but don’t suspect you were intentionally committing the offence.
Do warning tickets affect your insurance?
We’ve all been there: you’re given a ticket by police and it makes you wonder if your insurance is going to go up because of this. The answer is no, as long as you keep the infraction at either a verbal or written warning.
You may think that a series of warnings will not affect your car insurance rates, but don’t fall for this false sense of security. If you rack up a bunch of warnings, it’s possible the police may send your data to your insurance company which can lead to them increasing your rates. However, in most cases warnings will not affect your car insurance rates as they do not appear on your driving record.
It’s important that you know what type of infraction it is before determining if an officer has given you a warning or issued you with a citation. A warning will not be recorded on any driving record unless they choose to challenge the ticket. A citation, on the other hand, will be recorded as a conviction against your license and can affect car insurance rates.
Do warnings show up on your record?
Warning tickets are either verbal or written, and while verbal warnings do not show up on your driving record, they will be noted in the officer’s notes. You cannot challenge verbal warnings so if you get one from an officer it is worth knowing that there might be a notation of it somewhere for insurance purposes.
Written warnings can also show up on your driving record, but they will not affect your car insurance rates. It is possible that verbal warnings can show up on your license, if you have one and then choose to challenge the ticket only for it to be overturned in court.
Verbal or written warnings are a different ball game from traffic tickets given out as citations because verbal and written warnings do not appear on your driving record. Citations will appear on your driving record and are seen as convictions against you, which can affect insurance rates.
How long does a warning stay on your record?
A written warning ticket for an issued traffic violation may show up on your driver abstract. Citations, traffic tickets, convictions, license suspensions, reinstatements are all recorded on your driver’s abstract. These also include the location and details of the ticket and may remain there for up to 3 years.
Can car insurance companies see your warnings?
It’s possible that an officer sends your data to the company which could lead to them increasing your car insurance rates if you have been given a series of warnings and they feel this poses a risk. However, in most cases, warning tickets will not affect your car insurance rates as they do not appear on your driving record.
But there are some factors that could impact whether your insurance company uses your warnings when calculating rates.
Minor infractions probably will not affect car insurance rates, but major ones might. If you have received multiple speeding tickets, then the insurance company may label you a “high-risk driver”. If you’ve been labeled a high-risk driver and are shopping around for insurance providers, try our free car insurance comparison calculator.
Speeding tickets vs speeding warnings
A speeding ticket is given when an officer has determined that you have exceeded the posted speed limit. Speeding tickets can result in fines, demerit points, suspensions, or even jail time if they are not paid on time. These infractions will be recorded to your driving record which can affect car insurance rates.
Speeding warnings are verbal or written from an officer and do not typically show up on your driving record unless you choose to challenge it in court. Speeding warnings will be noted in the officer’s notes, but they don’t appear on your driving record as convictions which can lead to increased insurance rates.
Why do police officers give out verbal or written warnings?
Police officers are often faced with the difficult choice of issuing a warning or ticket. There are many considerations that need to be weighed in order for them to make an informed decision, most importantly, the seriousness of the offence. As a result, police officers may refrain from issuing tickets to those who have committed minor offences like speeding and instead opt for verbal or written warnings.
It really just comes down to the discretion of the officer and how serious the infraction was. If you’re pulled over for speeding 10km/hr over the speed limit, you’ll likely be issued a warning to slow down. However, if you were caught speed 25km/hr you’ll probably get a speeding ticket as you could pose a danger to other drivers.
Can too many warnings lead to a citation?
If you’ve received more than one traffic warning, your driving record will most likely start to show them. If a police officer pulls you over and sees that you’ve had a recent history of warnings, it is likely that he will give you a real ticket. If someone has received a series of warnings and is likely to commit another offence, then the officer may issue them with a ticket. Police will have discretion on whether or not they choose to do this – it’s up to their judgement based on the situation.