Question: I just got a “summons” for the police for not having insurance. Apparently this is a big thing according to my friends. What is it?
Response: It sounds like young have been charged under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act section 2(1)(a):
2. (1) Subject to the regulations, no owner or lessee of a motor vehicle shall,
(a) operate the motor vehicle; or
(b) cause or permit the motor vehicle to be operated,
on a highway unless the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance. 1994, c. 11, s. 383; 1996, c. 21, s. 50 (3).
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), where a permit for a motor vehicle has been issued under subsection 7 (7) of the Highway Traffic Act,
“contract of automobile insurance”, with respect to that motor vehicle, means a contract of automobile insurance made with an insurer. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.25, s. 2 (2).
(3) Every owner or lessee of a motor vehicle who,
(a) contravenes subsection (1) of this section or subsection 13 (11); or
(b) surrenders an insurance card for inspection to a police officer, when requested to do so, purporting to show that the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance when the motor vehicle is not so insured,
is guilty of an offence and is liable on a first conviction to a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000 and on a subsequent conviction to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000 and, in addition, his or her driver’s licence may be suspended for a period of not more than one year. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.25, s. 2 (3); 1996, c. 21, s. 50 (4); 2002, c. 22, s. 33.
These charges are very serious offences. Having a summons means that you will have a mandatory first appearance court date listed on the document provided to you by the police officer. Generally having a summons means that you have been charged with a serious offence carrying potentially serious penalties. Such cases are handled by a Provincial Prosecutor rather than by a Municipal Prosecutor.
Should you be convicted at court, the court can apply a total payable fine (the base fine plus the 25% victim fine surcharge) between $6,250.00 and $31,250.00 for a first offence or $12,500.00 and $62,500.00 if you have had a previous conviction for this offence. Upon conviction the court can issue a licence suspension up to one year. A conviction for driving without valid insurance can also have a very serious impact upon the cost of getting vehicle insurance.
This type of offence is certainly the type of legal issue that you should seek professional assistance in handling. The cost of hiring a paralegal will generally be less than the benefit gained by having proper legal representation. A licenced paralegal will be able to review the evidence being held against you to first of all determine whether or not the Prosecutor has enough to proceed to trial. If a critical error or ommision can be found in that evidence, the charge may be completely withdrawn without record or penalty. Failing a legal argument to have the charge withdrawn outright, the next best resolution would be to negotiate on your behalf to reduce the nature of the offence or the penatlies tied to the offence. Should no resolution be reached, a licenced paralegal can argue before the court on your behalf generally without you having to speak before the court.
I would recommend contacting my office at our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869 for a no-cost, no obligation initial review of the matter. I or one of my staff should be able to provide you with some basic informtion about your matter and would be happy to represent you at court.