What can be done before court date?

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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:43 pm

What can be done before court date?

by: StressedInBath on
Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:02 pm

First, a little history:
December 2009 - Pulled over at a Ride Program. No problems until it was found that my plates had expired and that I did not have proof of insurance with me. Was issued tickets for each offense. Fines were not paid (for various reasons, the biggest one being unemployment).

Now I have a job, had forgotten about the tickets, and got pulled over tonight. The officer pulled me over due to the expired plates (which I never did get renewed... I know, my own fault there), then informed me that my license had been suspended due to non-payment of fines. All of a sudden I remember the fines from 2009... Far too late, obviously. I also try to think of receiving the notice of suspension in the mail, but can not remember ever seeing it. I check the mail diligently each and every day, and open anything that is in an envelope. I can honestly say that I did not receive it (but can't prove it).

So, I now have a summons to court in early November. One for the expired plates, and a second for driving under suspension.

My question is, basically, what should I do?
Would representation at court be the best option for me? I certainly can't afford afford it, but if I'll be better off in the long run I'll have to find the money for it.
Is there anything that I can do before my court date to appear better in the eyes of the court?
I'm the sole provider for my family. Will that have any kind of impact?
I fully expect to have fines to pay, but can anything be done about the fact that I did not receive notice of suspension? Had I received that, I would have dealt with it right away.
Am I looking at jail time? Again, sole provider for my family...

Thanks for any and all real advice that can be passed along.
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Simon Borys
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:20 am

by: Simon Borys on
Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:22 pm

Representatin is usually a good idea for serious charges like this. Drive suspended can have huge impacts on your insurance, which means you could end up paying more in the long run than you would have spend on representaion, if your lawyer/paralegal is able to obtain a favourable outcome for you in court.

It would be a good idea for you to get your licence back before court.

Being the sole provider speaks to your ability to pay a fine and might be an argument you could use in asking for less than the statutory minimum of $1000 on conviction (if you get convicted)>

s. 52 of the HTA creates a presumption that if the MTO mailed you a letter (which they will no doubt have record that they did), you are deemed to have received it, unless you can show that, through no fault of your own, you did not. This is not the same as just making the assertion that you didn't get it. You would have to show something more than that. Honestly, I've never seen a successful defence on this point.

In my experience, jail is unlikely on the first offence for Drive Suspended, but it is a theoretically a possibility.
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