I was pulled over and asked for my insurance slip, which I provided as it I believed it was up to date (expiry not for another month) and valid. The cop called the insurance company who said the policy was cancelled due to non payment three months earlier and that a registered letter was sent to me outlining that. The cop wrote me a summons for that (along with a charge for driving without a license - I hadn't realized it had expired the week before on my birthday).
When I called my insurance company, they said that yes, there was a non payment and that a registered letter was sent to me notifying me and was signed for. The letter said that I either needed to pay the outstanding amount ($100 or so) by a certain date to continue coverage or pay the amount of $84 to cancel the policy. As I hadn't received the registered letter, I called Canada Post for a copy of the tracking - the letter was never delivered (sat at post office awaiting pickup) and was returned to sender. To my knowledge, no one in my household received a pickup slip for Canada Post for the letter. For the last year, our postal route has been unmanned (no permanent carrier) which the local post office is willing to state on official letterhead if needed and both myself and multiple neighbours frequently receive mis-delivered mail intended for other houses on the street (my neighbours are willing to testify to this, if needed).
Unknown to me, the date needed to pay the outstanding $100 or so amount to continue coverage passed and the next correspondence I received from the insurance company was a bill for $84. Having not received the registered letter, I assumed this was a bill for a missed payment and paid it immediately, not realizing this would cancel my insurance.
I understand that I should have been more on top of my finances and realized that payments weren't being withdrawn from the insurance company in the 3 months that followed the cancellation payment. It's been a really hectic year and I haven't been following my bank account as closely as I should. It really wasn't my intention to be driving without insurance and I reinstated my insurance immediately after receiving the ticket.
Does this information help my case at all? Or it is all just silly circumstantial issues?
Yes it might help. Will it be enough to get the charge dropped? Maybe, maybe not.
You will then need to get copies of everything you can.
- Get copy of receipt showing your license was renewed right away after ticket.
- Get copy of receipt and/or letter showing insurance was renewed right away after ticket.
- Get a copy of the tracking page on canada post showing registered letter was not picked up and was returned to sender.
- Get a letter from insurance company saying that registered letter was never delivered and was returned.
- Get a letter from Canada Post saying there are delivery issues in your area.
- Get letters from as many neighbours saying there are delivery issues in your area.
- Get as many neighbours as possible to come to summons date with you to testify to the issues with delivery.
Try and have all this together for summons date and then meet with the prosecutor and see what they say. Best case is they believe you and are in a good mood and drop it. Worst case is they say no way and plan on prosecuting you to the fullest.
So assuming they do not want to drop it, remember the summons date is not your trial. At the summons date they will ask how you plan to plead, gulty or not guilty. If you say not guilty, then they will set a trial date for you. But you can also say you would like to see disclosure before you decide how to plead, and then they will set another summons date for you to come back to again to decide how you want to plead.
This is a huge fine so you will probably want to hire lawyer if they will not drop it.
I can see how you did not get the letter from insurance/MTO, but not getting both letters? It kind of works against you that both were expired/cancelled and you did not know about either one.
If it was just one or the other, then you would have a better leg to stand on...
You are in a sticky situation and I too would recommend getting a lawyer, don't bother with a paralegal, the money you will spend on your legal defense will probably equal to only one year's worth of your insurance increase.
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