I am wondering if some of you can assist me in a unique scenario.
I was travelling home last friday with a truck and a empty trailer. I went to go look at a tractor, I did not purchase so I travelled back with no load on the trailer.
I was on the 401, at which point I was pulled over by a OPP officer. The officer was very adamant that I required a CVOR, and that I what I was doing, even though my truck is a SUV with blue plates, and the trailer was empty, was for commercial purposes. At which point I told him I went to go look at a tractor, I have a small hobby farm, and this was all for personal use.
He asked me to get off the highway and meet me in a church parking lot.
He held me there for a total of 2 hours, and performed a roadside safety. The result of the roadside safety was a ticket for improper braking system as the e-brake did not hold the diesel suv when put in drive. Everything else was fine with the vehicle.
Here comes the horror story with the trailer:
He asked for the ownership for the trailer, I did not have it with me so I could not produce it. He did not have a computer in his cruiser so he ran the plate thats on the trailer. It came back as unattached and previously registered to the landscaping company I purchased it from. At this point he starts talking about how these trailers are a hot commodity and commonly stolen, so he starts searching for a VIN plate. The trailer is a number of years old, and the VIN plate must have been painted over on it as some point.
I told him that I am certain the trailer is registered in my name, but it must have slipped my mind to swap license plates on the trailer with the new one and remove the previous owners. My mistake 100%.
He further talks about how he can not confirm the trailer belongs to me as there is no visible vin plate, and he does not have a computer. I asked him since he can call in and look up the plate on the trailer that is now unattached, why can't he pull the VIN off the plate and run that, and he will see the trailer is indeed in my name. He simply responded with "I can't" and proceeded to tell me to wait in my car.
Here is where it gets very shady
After another 30 minutes of waiting a flatbed arrives, and at which point the officer tells me he is seizing/impounding the trailer under suspicion of theft, and that I need to disconnect the trailer.
I do so, and the trailer gets loaded onto a flatbed and moved to the tow companies impound yard.
He hands me several tickets:
- Improver Braking System 64(1)
- Failure to apply for permit of vehicle
- Failure to Surrended permit of trailer
- Use plate not authorized for vehicle 12(1)(d)
- Draw trailer- no identification number 10(2)(a)
HE DID NOT HAND ME A IMPOUND ORDER or any paperwork related to the impound Simply told the tow company to wait until he releases it, and they were off.
He tells me that If in fact it is true the trailer is in my name, I can meet him the next day with the ownership or the invoice and he will release the trailer, and he said he will remove some of the tickets.
I scheduled a meeting with him for 8am the next day.
8am rolls around, and hes is not at the OPP station, a few phone calls to dispatch later, another officer shows up because this officer was busy, and he takes a photocopy of the ownership I provide him for the trailer (has been in my name for several months) and he takes back the ticket for failure to apply for permit as that is what the previous officer instructed him to.
At this point he calls the tow yard, has them release the trailer, and hands me a business card with handwritten info on it regarding authorizing the release, and tells me to hand that to the tow yard.
The questions I have, was this impound legitimate if no paperwork was handed to me? Did this officer do a unlawful seizure?
Side note regarding tow company experience:
On scene, I asked the tow truck driver what the charges will be. He says OPP sets the charges, and its $250 for the tow, and $60 per day storage. I say ok.
When the trailer gets released the following morning I went to pick up the trailer (the trailer has been there for 18hrs.) I get charged for $300 tow charge, and $60 per day storage x2 days, because apparently they do not have clocks, so they roll the next day over at midnight.
$474 total to get the trailer out of there after less than one day. Complete rip off service. You can tell these guys are a rip off because of the caliber of cars parked in front of their lot. Several muscle cars and old school trucks.
Yes , highway robbery is very much alive and well .
Sorry that you went through this .
If your truck and trailer are registered for or are actually over 4500 kg then a CVOR would be required. (There are a few exceptions but I don't believe you qualify)
If you are deemed to be commercial vehicle you could have been charged with the following in addition to what you already have:
No Pretrip Inspection for Truck and Trailer
No Log Book (if you travel over a certain distance)
No Annual Safety Inspection Sticker for Truck and Trailer
A commercial vehicle you can be impounded for 15 days if it has a critical safety defect.
Like you said you still need the yellow annual safety inspection stickers if you reach the weight threshold, otherwise you don't even need them. But having the annual inspections done may have saved you a ticket if mechanic would have caught the brakes not grabbing hard enough.
lucky, b/c an emergency brake not working also fails to meet vehicle standards and the vehicle plates could have been pulled and charged with unsafe vehicle.
CVOR is required when RGW is over 4,500kgs
Annual Safety - required when Registered Gross weight is over 4500kgs OR combined actual/gross is over 4500kgs OR RGVW (manufacturer door plate) inside your door is over 4500kgs . Pickup owners check the RGVW routinely see no annual on heavier pickups
Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca