Recently I had been pulled over for doing 52 km/h over and received a stunt drive ticket. Like many of you reading this post right now, I was too, desperately seeking for information on this website as it was my first experience with such a hefty charge and I simply did not know what to do. Fortunately, I just went through this entire stressful process all by myself and ended up with something okay for me to live with. So, I would like to share my personal experience with you. (Please note that the information below is a summary of what I have gathered from various websites, forums, others' experiences and also my personal experience. Although it may not be exactly what will happen to you, it should give you a general idea what to expect for your specific situation.)
First, let me tell you briefly what happened to me. I was driving on 416 Southbound and I was pulled over near Kempville for doing 152 km/h, and of course my car was immediately impounded and my licence was suspended both for 7 days. Like everyone else, I also received the yellow court summons slip and mine said I needed to appear in the court in Brockville. Just like you, I started seeking for all kinds of information online and offline and I guess that is where most of you are at right now. So, the followings are what I think that's important for you to know for the next steps.
The impound and suspension are both for 7 days to the hour, and you will need a valid driver's licence to get the car released back to you or you will have to get someone with a valid licence to drive the car for you if you don't have your temporary licence yet. So, on the last day of suspension/impound, go to Service Ontario (or a similar agency if you live elsewhere) and get your temporary licence BEFORE you go to get your car. The Ministry of Transportation website says that licence reinstatement fee is $281, and I also personally called Service Ontario and asked them about the fee, they also told me it's $281. However, if your licence was suspended for stunt drive, ie. the 7 day road side suspension, you very likely do not have to pay a cent for it. I didn't, and I also read at least one other's post saying they didn't either. Just tell the clerk you want your licence reinstated, and they will check if you have outstanding fine that needs to be paid off first. If you don't have any, they will issue you a temporary licence slip, and the Ministry of Transportation will mail you the actual licence in a few weeks. ALSO, I received a temporary licence in my mailbox from the MoT, but the mail came in after I got my temporary licence at Service Ontario, so DO NOT count on the mail. Next, you just need to pay off your towing and impound fee, then you will have your car back and be able to drive it again.
After having your car back, your stress level should go down a bit. Now, all you need to do is wait for the summons day. Here is what I think may happen quite differently depending on the individual case. But don't worry, I will share with you everything I have learnt. When I searched for help, I got all sorts of recommendations such as hiring a paralegal/lawyer, contacting the crown etc. Some websites intentionally make it sound so much worse by emphasizing the 6-month prison time and the $10,000 fine so to make you spend more money than you need to hire a paralegal/lawyer. I did not hire anyone to represent me. Here's why, the yellow slip you have is a court summons ticket, it is NOT a trial date; it is the day for you to go to court to learn what charges you could be possibly facing. Once you are there, you can talk to the crown personally, you can ask the judge to adjourn your case, and can either plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, you will enter the trial process and they will let you the trial date. What happened me was that I talked to the crown 5 minutes prior to the court start time, and he offered me a speeding ticket of 45 km/h over, and asked me if I could go with that, and of course I said yes. So I ended up pleading guilty for 45 km/h over, and paid $395 and received 4 demerit points. I was happy about this outcome and able to live with it as it was the consequence of driving that fast. However, I did not try to play any game but was just being honest, and because I had a clean record the crown was able to reduce it for that reason. But here is what's important for you to know:
1. MAKE SURE you talk to the crown before you go into the court;
This is the most important thing in the entire process since the crown is the one who has the authority to reduce the charge. Therefore, be sure to get there early and line up with everyone else in front of the crown's office. If that is when you decide to go to the court to talk to the crown for the first time, then GET THERE EARLY because those paralegals and lawyers will all want to talk to the crown and they represent many people, so it takes forever. When talking to the crown, be honest, apologize, be regretful for your actions and tell them that you are not gonna do it again. The crown may ask you what you wish to do, do not be afraid, tell them that you have learnt the lesson and you wish to have it reduced, aka, get the stunt part of the charge dropped. If they do, just be thankful and take it.
On the other hand, I DO NOT recommend talking to the crown on the phone, which does not show sincerity, and after speaking to my OPP friends, I DO NOT recommend playing any games, unless you are willing to take the risk. All the things you say will NOT change the fact that you were speeding at the time. In addition, there is absolutely no point in explaining why you did it, just try to keep the conversation concise and direct, the crown does have time for your stories.
2. There is a lot of freedom in charge reduction;
This is what I have gathered from everything I read so far:
a). If you hold a G licence, and did 150 -165 km/h
Don't worry, play nice and you are very very likely to get your stunt drive dropped to a speeding ticket, this likelihood will even increase if you have a clean record. But how far they are willing to drop down, depends on how much you are over.
b). If you hold a G licence, and did 165 - 180 km/h
You are in a more serious situation, depending on your driving record, you may get your stunt drive part dropped, but you may be facing a speeding ticket without any reduction in speed, that means you will get 6 demerit points. You may also face more fine, a possibility of further driver's licence suspension if you have accumulated demerit points.
c). If you hold a G licence, and did > 180 km/h
I am sorry, you may face the consequence of a stunt drive. At this point, I would recommend hiring legal services.
d). If you hold a G2 licence, and did any of the above
You will mostly like have the above happen to you AND a 30 day licence suspension.
3. You can have up to 90 days of grace period to pay your fine
When you plead guilty, the judge will tell you how much to pay and also ask you when you wish to pay, so you could either pay right there, or ask for 30, 60, or 90 days of grace period.
4. Increase of the insurance premium
If you plead guilty, your charge will immediately appear on your driving record, and it will be there for three years. So during this time, any insurance company will be able to see it in the record database, and adjust your insurance rate accordingly. There is a lot of variations between people so I will just have to tell you that, in general, your insurance will NOT go up until the renewal date. Depending how much over the speed limit, the insurance company will decide weather it is a minor or major offense based on their criteria. So how much will go up is hard to tell at this point. But if your renewal date is coming up, I would recommend you push the court date after the renewal date because prior to conviction, your charge will not show up in your record yet. Some people say that their premium got readjusted for the 7 day road side suspension, but others say that insurance companies are not allowed to do that. As my insurance renewal is in the summer next year, I can only tell you that at this moment, there is yet any adjustment for mine.
All in all, if you are caught with stunt driving, just be thankful that they drop the stunt part of the charge, and that's a lot of legal services aim to do eventually. Depending on your personal situation, you may or may not need to resort to legal services. Remember that the the goal of the ticket is not to punish you, it is to make sure you don't do it again in the future. So just make sure you show remorse and regret of your action, be honest, talk and dress well (business casual to formal or otherwise indicated by your court), I am certain that you can walk away with something less than what you have.
It is a long read, but if you have made it all the way here, I hope you find it helpful.
Good luck and drive safe,
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