The information in this section covers how to fight your charge. If you follow the specific instructions in this section without working through the steps above, you will lose at trial. Read this site thoroughly before proceeding!

Seat Belt Tickets

Charge: HTA 106
Set fine: $200
Demerit points: 0 - 2
Insurance classification: minor conviction

There are three possible seat belt violations:

  1. You were not wearing your seat belt while driving.
  2. You were not wearing your seat belt as a passenger.
  3. A passenger under the age of 16 was not wearing a seat belt or child restraint.

Understand the Situation

Traffic Stop

A seat belt violation is triggered in two ways. First, the officer notices you are not wearing a seat belt during a routine traffic stop.

When you are being stopped by a police officer, he will carefully watch you to see what you do AS YOU PULL OVER. Are you trying to hide your radar detector? Are you reaching for a gun in your glove compartment? Are you trying to put on your seat belt?

His notes will likely be detailed about the stop, especially if it is connected with other charges like speeding.

Safety Blitz

The second way a violation is triggered is during a seat belt safety blitz. A 2008 two week seat belt safety campaign yielded almost 5,000 charges in Mississauga while province wide the OPP laid over 16,000 charges. This is in just two weeks!

This large number actually works in your favour. Typically officers are assigned to ramps to the highway where they pull over a large number of vehicles, issue tickets quickly and then move on.

This means, unlike an individual traffic stop, the officer is unlikely to take detailed notes. He will be less likely to remember what you were wearing, the number of people in the car, or the make and model of the vehicle if he issued the ticket to a passenger.

What the Cop Saw

The officer's observations form part of the charge. His lack of recollection can be exploited by you. If he observed you without a seat belt, was he mistaken? By the time he came to your window, did you take it off to get out of the vehicle?

As you prepare your defence, think carefully about the environment. What were the circumstances why you were stopped and charged? Try to imagine the officer's perspective, what he was looking for, what did he observe? Consider the traffic, weather and amount of daylight. Try to reconstruct the officer's viewing angle when he first observed you and as he approached your vehicle. Was the terrain flat? Were there any obstructions? How fast were you going? Did he have to concentrate on driving and therefore couldn't observe you for more that a couple of seconds at a time?

A thorough disclosure request will reveal his notes on the matter and will help you formulate a strategy.

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