Can't remember exact date so lets call it some time in 2008 I got a fine for $5000.00 for driving without in insurance. I never paid the fine and in 2012 I was pulled over and the officer asked to see my license. Although I had it on me I figured it would be under suspension for the unpaid fine from years before for insurance and I didn't want him to take my only form of phtoto id from me so I told him I don't have one because it's under suspension (as I assumed it was) so he charged me with driving under suspension. I was unrepresented in court and plead guilty to the charge which further suspended my liscence for 6 mnths and a $1000 fine. (I never paid that fine either) Then I was pulled over this last year and same scenario I told officer I was under suspension received another charge.
I always thought I was in a hopeless situation for my fines that I could never afford to pay them then recently learned I didn't have to risk driving suspended as long as I made any consistent payment even if its only $20 per month so I decided to see how much I owed and was going to set about trying to get legal. Upon doing so I found out the only fine suspending my license was the one I hadn't paid in 2012 for driving while suspended! Which means in 2012 I was not driving while suspended after all! I had plead guilty to something I wasn't.
SO I have some questions:
1. Would it possible to appeal the 2012 conviction (drive while suspended)?
2. IF so and that is overturned would I have any possibility of leaniancy from the courts when I go to deal with the current charge considering if I had not been wrongly convicted the first time I wouldn't have had that fine that would have put me in suspension this time? I know technically I am still guilty this time but the first time I wasn't so just wondering if its at all possible they might consider some slack for that and maybe reduce the charge or something?
One thing I do know if there is any hope of the appeal and or dealing with the current charge I intend on getting representation this time for sure but I just wanted an idea of where I stand right now.
Thanks for any advice you can give!
Just keep in mind that if you are seriously considering an appeal, you need to be prepared for the costs of pursuing such and obtaining transcripts, etc. In most cases, you'll likely also need the assistance of a lawyer, so factor that cost in as well. Paralegals can also help if they have appeal experience.
As for the specifics of your case, be sure you obtain a full driving abstract to determine whether you were indeed suspended at the relevant time. Don't simply rely upon what some court clerk tells you by looking at a screen. If you in fact did plead guilty to an offence that wasn't technically available, a 'miscarriage of justice' has occurred and the appeal court will be more likely to grant you leave to appeal.
Bottom line: the transcripts at your sentencing hearing will be very important since the JP should have satisfied themselves that you were indeed 'suspended' at the time they took your guilty plea. Beyond your driving abstract (i.e. record), the appeal court will want to look at what the trial court did. Hence, be sure you confirm (and re-confirm) your true status at that time.
Be aware though that before you are able to file your Notice of Appeal, you will have to pay the fine that was imposed as part of your sentence. Keep your receipts of such. You'll get a refund if you win your case. If you can't pay your fine beforehand, you need to also seek permission from the court by filing an Application to File an Appeal Without Paying the Fine . If granted, the court may require you to enter into a recognizance (i.e. like bail) whereby if you don't show up for court, they'll come after you for the recognizance ('bail') amount owed.
So, as you can see, your case requires a lot of steps to succeed. You definitely need legal representation. Good luck!
I know for it to be possible again I would need a lawyer or paralegal to argue on my behalf but knowing the possibilities now provides hope. I plan to actually pay the fines in full this week but it will probably be a few more weeks before I can afford a retainer for a lawyer or paralegal but I may start ordering the transcripts etc first so they are ready to show them.
Only thing I do know is I paid the fine today and confirmed there is no other fine holding my license in suspension. I do have 2 other small fines tied to my license in default but not suspending my license and a couple fines tied to my name but again not holding my license in suspension.
As for your questions whether they'll show you some leniency just because you are now paying your fine, the answer is a confident NO. You won't be rewarded for doing that which you are under legal obligation to do. I don't mean to be blunt (as I hate removing hope from people) but I also tell it like it is-----the reality is that you were caught driving without insurance (already got a big break by only getting the minimum $5K fine), didn't pay that fine but still decided to drive anyway, got caught driving, but again, didn't pay THAT fine either, and then got caught behind the wheel a 2nd time. That just shows that you have little or no regard for court orders.
So, the reality is that there is slim to no hope you'll get much of any reward. What they might do is show you some good faith by not seeking elevated penalties (which would undoubtedly occur). If you don't pay your fines before your court date, then don't be surprised if they put you on probation-----very rarely will they keep imposing more fines on a person who doesn't pay. Instead, they put you on probation (and make it a term of your order to have to pay your fines within a certain period). That way, if you don't comply, its a breach of probation (which is a criminal offence and carries potential jail).
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