Do Your Driving Convictions Really Disappear After 3 Years

From my blog: Simon Says, Category: Police Myths

Do Your Driving Convictions Really Disappear After 3 Years?

Records of Convictions for Provincial Charges in Ontario

Do your driving convictions really disappear after 3 years?  Simon says, "No!"  Keep reading to find out more about how the government keeps provincial offence records and what happens to them after three years.

Background Information on Provincial Offence Records

First some background information on provincial records.  The Ministry of the Attorney General in Ontario keeps records of individuals’ convictions for all provincial charges, the most common Acts being the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (CAIA), and the Liquor Licence Act (LLA).  However these records are kept on an antiquated system, known as ICON, and are not easily searchable by police officers in the course of their regular duties.  These records are primarily for the courts to maintain and use.  ICON records are kept longer than three years.

This means that police officers aren’t likely to know about your underage drinking or public intoxication tickets when they run your name, unless you are dealing with the service that issued you the ticket, then they will probably have record of it on their own computer system.

MTO Records of HTA and CAIA Charges

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) also keeps a records system, known as PARIS (Plate and Registration Information System).  PARIS is accessed through the CPIC (Canadian Police Information Center) software, which is readily available to all police officers.

PARIS keeps track of individuals through their driver’s licence number and only deals with driving related provincial offences, namely Highway Traffic Act and Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act charges.  It also keeps records of any driver’s licence suspensions, regardless of what they were from (i.e. medical, unpaid fines, racing, criminal conviction, etc).  The PARIS record is what people are referring to when they speak of their “driving record”.

When a police officer runs (checks) your driver’s licence number, they will see your licence status and your convictions on PARIS, as well as any points you have accumulated from those convictions.  Police services in Ontario (with the exception of the OPP and MTO enforcement officers) only have access on PARIS to the last three years worth of convictions and demerit points (although points actually regenerate after only two years).

The Three Year Myth

The fact that most officers can only see the last three years worth of convictions, coupled with the fact that insurance companies usually only ask about your last three years, has led to the myth that driving convictions are wiped off your record after three years.  This is not the case!  PARIS keeps records of your convictions indefinitely, it’s just that most officers can’t see them.  The OPP and the MTO, however, can.  So remember this the next time you are asked if you’ve had any tickets in the past!

Simon Borys

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