I have run into a little problem today that started out as follows:
I was driving a car leased by the company I worked for for the last few month. Now the lease was coming to an end and I was offered to buy the car out for private use at the 31st of march, which I did. I went out and got insurance set up for the car, starting April 1st. Everything fine so far. I went to the leasing company, gave them the cheque to buy out the car and thought everything was done with. However, it wasn't until I put the vehicle transfer agreement to my files a few days later that I discovered that the leasing company accidently entered the company I worked for as new owner of the car instead of myself (just taking the name form the lease without thinking I guess).
I was pretty busy at work so I didn't really pay attention and I am also new to Canada, so I have no idea about the transfer rules & regulations for vehicles, etc. so I didn't get suspicious that I didn't have to get a new liscense plate.
However, I went back to the leasing company as soon as I noticed the mistake. It took them a bit more then a week to get this cleaned up and to put everything in my name. So they gave me a backdated vehicle transfer agreement on last Thursday (April 9th) that showed the sale for March 31st. With this I went to the liscensing office and got new number plates on the same day (April 9th). But since I am going on an extended business-trip to europe for the next 3 weeks I was actually working through the whole easter weekend and didn't find the time to switch out old number plates for the new ones.
This morning (April 15th) on my way to work I got pulled over by the police (guess a random control, since I didn't get any other charges and the officer didn't mention anything else). I showed him my drivers liscense, insurance certificate (new one), the new number plates I had inside of the car (not yet mounted) and the vehicle purchasing agreement (all still in the car).
He made me change the plates at the side of the road and filed a charge according to Highway traffic act, section 12 (1) (d) and set a court day in July.
Now my questions:
- Is there any way to settle this out of court, e.g. talk to an officer, explain the whole situation?
- If it goes to the court is it likely that it will end up as a minor incident or could that go up all the way to 1000$ , license suspension, etc. essentially for not changing number plates in 6 days?
- Would that affect insurance rates?
- Would it be a good idea to spend the money and get a paralegal involved (I'm looking at ~ 400 $ probably) or would that not change the outcome very much?
Thanks a lot to everyone who has taken the time to read this so far. Your help is really appreciated since I am an absolute newbie in those matters!!
It would affect your rate with most insurance companies and there's no way you can settle it with the cop. If you already tried to explain and he still wrote you a ticket, I don't think it'll help. In any case it's in the Crown's hand.
Being new to Canada and not familiar with our legal system, chances are you're in need of professional representation.
With that being said, talk to your paralegal and ask him about his strategy for the case. Most $400 paralegals are going to plead it down and leave you with a conviction on your record. If he starts talking about reducing your charge, walk away as far as your feet can carry you.
I've had good experiences with Redline (charged.ca). Yes they're pricey but if any one can get you off, they can.
Another note. Any conviction on your record will affect your insurance rates. So if you ever get a ticket for going 1km/h over the speed limit, fight it the same way you'd fight a 35 over ticket unless you like padding your insurance company's pockets.
I had my rate go up 20% due to a 5km/h over ticket and I've seen people get tickets for as little as 2km/h over the limit. With that being said, usually they leave you alone if you do about 10-15 over. Your mileage may vary on that one.
it is a very easy charge for police to obtain a conviction.
Stopped a motor vehicle and the plates were not authorized by the MTO to be on the vehicle at the time/date of the stop.
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