If you, your friend or relative is driving a car without insurance and eventually got caught by a police officer – most likely, summons to court are inevitable. Is this a criminal charge though? – The answer is NO. However, the penalty for driving without insurance is very high.
Penalties for Driving Wthout Insurance in Ontario
- a first conviction – a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000. But it may also end up $5,000 plus 25% victim surcharge cost + $5 court cost = $7,505.00 for the first time.
- a subsequent conviction – a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000. Additionally, a driver’s licence can be suspended for not more than 1 year.
It is considered to be one of the major violations for any driver in Canada. There are no demerit points associated with the offence in case of conviction, but insurance companies can use it against you to increase your insurance premium at least 50% for the next 6 years. Having a prior record of driving without insurance can seriously impede your ability to apply for government jobs with police, military or other positions requiring a clean driving record. If you rely on a daily commute to work, having this record will negatively impact your driving ability and result in much money spent during the next 6 years. Also, failing to pay your fine for driving without insurance will get your driver’s licence suspended automatically.
What To Do If You’re Driving a Car Without Insurance And Got Caught?
Generally, almost all police officers are equipped with cameras that are able to scan and identify vehicle licence plates registered to owners whose vehicles are not insured. Therefore, if you have been served with a summons to court, the first step is to stop driving and try to get your vehicle insured as soon as possible.
If you still have to drive without insurance, you are taking on a serious risk that in case of an accident you will be sued personally for any physical or material damage. Having insurance on your motor vehicle in Ontario is essential because you would be protected for a minimum of $1,000,000 in case someone gets injured and is not able to sustain the same quality of life as they did prior to an incident.
Prior to your court date you are supposed to prepare proof that your motor vehicle insurance has been reinstated to have an opportunity to resolve your case to a lower reduced fine.
There are incidents when drivers are not aware they have been operating a vehicle without insurance because it is not their vehicle (their parents’, friends’ or even rented car) or because their insurance was cancelled for non-payment due to a mistake in the bank’s processes.
In the event of a trial, because this is a strict liability offence, you will have an opportunity to present an argument as to why it happened that you ended up driving an uninsured vehicle through no fault of your own, at which point it could render your offence to be innocent.
However, most of the time this is not the case. Most drivers charged with driving without insurance, knowingly choose to drive. Hence, we recommend to consult a knowledgeable paralegal or lawyer that will be able to find any deficiencies with police officer’s evidence to dismiss the charge or increase your negotiating power to reduce your penalty or dismiss all charges against you.
Remember: If you end up being convicted for driving without insurance, it will remain on your record forever. Basically, that means that subsequent offences will be subject to higher fines and more serious punishment. Driving uninsured remains with you after 3 years as well.
How to Fight Driving Without Insurance in Ontario?
Step 1: Resort to professional help as soon as possible in order to dramatically improve your chances of getting a victory in court.
Step 2: Be prepared to demonstrate to the prosecutor that you have already got your insurance coverage to negotiate a plea. Bring all documents or letters that have any relevant information to your case. If your documents are in order and insurance coverage has been reinstated. It often takes at least 1 to 3 court visits to finalize your case.
Step 3: When you show up to court on a specified date, a police officer will have to be present as the main witness who conducted an investigation. At trial, you have to be ready to ask the police officer and other witnesses questions about any relevant facts regarding your case that might help to improve the overall situation.
It’s worth repeating, that the entire process is rather time-consuming on its own. Also, it requires relevant knowledge and experience to obtain the desired positive results in court. That’s why it’s generally recommended to work with a professional lawyer hand by hand. Otherwise, the eventual outcome can be really frustrating.
X-COPS is always here to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you receive a ticket for driving without insurance and you want your case to be resolved by real professionals as soon as possible!