Caught with a Suspended Driver's Licence for Unpaid Fines

kodgkffc
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Caught with a Suspended Driver's Licence for Unpaid Fines

by: kodgkffc on
Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:41 pm

Hello,

WHAT HAPPENED

I forgot to renew my sticker in May, 2014, got stopped in October, 2014, for having an outdated sticker, and was fined $125 in Cornwall. I put the fine in my glove compartment and simply forgot about it. My primary address on my driver's licence is my parents' address in Cornwall, as I live outside of town with roommates in Ottawa for school and work. I don't bother changing my address because I return home in the summer and move to a new place every year in Ottawa, as my roommate situation changes every year.

Today, January, 2015, a cop pulled me over in Ottawa because of my still expired sticker. To add insult to injury, my licence was actually suspended at the beginning of the year for not paying that fine I got in October, 2014. The cop threatened to tow my car but realized I had no malicious intent to actually dupe the system by driving with a suspended driver's licence that I now know about. He proceeded to tell me that he is keeping my driver's licence and gave me two summons to appear in court on February, 2015, for driving with a suspended licence and having an expired sticker.

---

I am wondering if the Crown will have any sympathy towards my story. If they will believe that I had no malicious intent to cheat the system or believe that I didn't know my licence was suspended as I continued to drive. I don't have money to retain a lawyer, therefore I am looking at my options but also don't want to reap the consequences of high insurance premiums and a six month suspended licence if found guilty at my trial for a stupid fine I forgot to pay.

It just seems excessive. I am still trying to understand how this system works. So I'm hoping there's is a glimmer of hope that I'll be able to speak with a prosecutor, show them the evidence, explain my story, and have this withdrawn completely (other than my unpaid fine an expired sticker that I will gladly pay).

Thank you.


ynotp
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by: ynotp on
Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:10 pm

Pay the outstanding ticket right away at the courthouse and the reinstatement fee for the license to get it back and then renew your sticker. Go to court on the day of your summons and ask for a deal on the 2 tickets you just received saying you completely forgot about the 1st ticket to renew the plates and apologize should be enough to get them to drop it down to something you might be able to handle.


bend
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by: bend on
Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:09 am

You're going to have some issues here and I don't know if you're going to get away with it that easy. It's quite possible a prosecutor will have enough of your excuses and move forward with some, or maybe all of the charges.

You were pulled over 6 months after your sticker had expired. You forgot to renew.

You tossed your ticket away and never thought about it again. You forgot to pay it.

You were pulled over AGAIN 4 months later on the SAME expired sticker. You forgot again?

You were driving on a suspended license due to unpaid fines. You didn't know.

You never received a notice because you don't currently reside at the residence where your ticket was sent. You are required by law to notify the ministry within 6 days. Also, it's been argued that any who doesn't pay their fines doesn't need to be directly notified with certainty because anyone who skips out on their fines should expect their license to be suspended, notice or not.

You ignored the officer who originally pulled you over. You continued to drive on expired plates several months later and ignored your original ticket. Usually when you make an effort to correct the issues, they will cut you some slack. You're probably past that stage. They may look to set an example or they may give you a break. I'd be prepared for both outcomes.


Stanton
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by: Stanton on
Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:50 am

I’d agree with Bend that it could go either way. You may be offered a plea deal to driving without a licence which doesn’t carry the automatic suspension. You’ll probably still be looking at upwards of $500 in fines, but you can request additional time to pay from the Court (i.e. payment plan).

It’s certainly in your best interest to follow ynotp’s advice and pay off your first fine and get your licence reinstated ASAP. It will at least show the Crown you’re now taking the matter seriously and trying to get it dealt with. It will also minimize the length of the suspension history on your driving abstract.

It may sound like common sense, but dress professionally (i.e. dress shirt and tie), be punctual and be polite when speaking with the Crown. I frequently see people show up to Court in ripped jeans and a t-shirt and act blameless for their situation. You can imagine how that can affect the Crown’s willingness to offer a deal.

Good luck.


kodgkffc
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by: kodgkffc on
Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:00 pm

UPDATE

I called multiple lawyers. Only one of them is claiming to fight everything because paying my fine is an admission of guilt. The other lawyers are suggesting to pay everything in full to re-instate my licence and fight the suspension to at least bring it down to a lesser fine (without real hopes of having it withdrawn).

I called the prosecutor and gave them hypothetical information without divulging my information or any information on the case, and they said the usual resolution is a plea and a conviction of $500 fine for not having my licence, which will ultimately increase my insurance premium regardless.


cibinv
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by: cibinv on
Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:00 pm

The pay the outstanding fines and try and plea down the suspension that everyone keeps suggesting is the best idea. Looking at your excuses it seems to me you are a procrastinator which has put you in this situation. Make sure you are early to your first appearance and see if they offer a drive no licence plea and if they don't suggest it. It's better than the Nike express you'll be using if you get convicted of drive under suspension and have six more months of a suspension.


Stanton
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by: Stanton on
Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:09 pm

I think most posters on these forums would agree that you should never blindly plead guilty to an offence. However for a serious charge like driving under suspension, you don’t want to force a trial without a viable defence. A conviction for driving under suspension is considered a serious offence by insurance companies. Your rates will easily double and you may be forced to go through facility insurance. Driving with no licence would likely be considered a minor offence, major at most, which would put your rate increase somewhere in the range of 10% to 25%.

Realistically you’re looking at an insurance rate increase no matter the outcome. The only question is what steps you can take to minimize it. Unless a reputable legal source suggests a good defence to the driving under suspension charge, taking the plea deal is probably the best course of action.


ancientlyre
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by: ancientlyre on
Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:20 pm

Plead guilty to the reduced charge of HTA 32 (1). "Driving without a valid license".

More than likely the prosecutor will offer this. I was in court today for the EXACT same scenario. Except I went and got my stickers renewed after getting the initial ticket.

4 other people today all got their Driving While Under Suspension brought down to HTA 32 (1). All offered by the prosecutor. They don't want people going to trial for this stuff, they would much rather you give up your $325 than deal with the expense of a trial.

BTW it is a $260.00 fine plus $65.00 in victim surcharge and court fees. An even $325.00.

Pay it right away and the whole thing goes away. Much better than taking the chance your Justice of the Peace wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and decides to throw the book at you at your trial. 6 month suspension plus $1000.00 is much worse.


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