Driving without insurance Ontario
If you, your friend or relative is driving 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. Albeit, the penalties for driving without insurance in Ontario are very high.
This is an offence under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act (CAIA). According to it, no driver cannot operate a car on a highway unless the vehicle is insured under a contract of car insurance.
Every driver should always have in their car:
- a car insurance card; or
- an insurance card evidencing that the driver is insured under a contract of auto insurance.
The abovementioned shall be surrendered upon the demand of a police officer as proof of car insurance.
Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Ontario
- first offence: 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 = $6,255.00 for the first conviction.
- subsequent conviction: a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000.
- driver’s licence suspension for up to one year.
- motor vehicle impoundment for up to three months.
Driving without insurance is regarded as one of the “most famous” violations for any driver all over Canada. You won’t get any demerit points on your driving record if convicted. But it can be used by your insurance companies, and they won’t be loyal and won’t provide you with adequate car insurance coverage opportunities. They can increase your insurance premiums at least by 50% for the nearest 6 years. Or it can even lead to the cancellation of your car insurance policy for 3+ years.
Moreover, there is a chance that the insurance company can deny to insure you. Because you are considered a “high-risk” driver (same as with a stunt driving charge).
Having a prior record of driving without insurance may seriously affect your ability to get government jobs, such as police, military, etc.
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 Ontario will get your driver’s licence suspended automatically.
Remember: If you end up being convicted for driving without insurance in Ontario, unfortunately, it’ll stay on your driving record for life. Basically, that means that in case of subsequent offences you’ll face higher fines and more serious consequences.
Driving uninsured remains with you after 3 years as well.
You’ve been charged with driving without insurance while not driving your motor vehicle?
Sometimes it happens. If you’re the owner of the car, make sure that the motor vehicle is insured and has valid insurance.
Otherwise, it doesn’t matter who was behind the wheel – your friend, your father or mother or somebody else. You will be charged even if you were not driving your car.
Because only the vehicle’s owner is responsible for this valid car insurance (and offence itself), not the driver.
Fail to Surrender Insurance Card
If the owner of the motor vehicle can’t provide proof of auto insurance, a police officer can charge the driver with:
- fail to surrender insurance card;
- driving vehicle without insurance.
If the driver just had forgotten a valid insurance card at home, they can easily attend court, show the evidence and usually, the charge will be withdrawn.
Sometimes people pay their fail to surrender insurance card tickets, even if they really forgot it. This is a big mistake! Because paying a ticket equals pleading guilty. A conviction will stay on the driving record for 3 years and may influence insurance rates significantly.
What To Do If You’ve Got Caught While Driving Without Insurance in Ontario?
- The first thing you should do is to stop driving and try to get your motor vehicle insured as soon as possible. Because nearly every police officer has a camera that scans and identifies numberplates registered to owners whose vehicles are not insured.
- 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 a car accident.
- Before going to court, you are advised to prepare proof that your motor vehicle insurance has been restored. This may help to resolve your case to a 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.
Since it is a strict liability offence (according to the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act), at trial, you will have a chance to negotiate and provide a reasonable motive why you were forced to drive 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 Ontario drivers charged with driving without insurance, knowingly choose to drive.
Hence, we recommend getting legal advice from a knowledgeable paralegal or lawyer that will be able to find any deficiencies with the police officer’s evidence to dismiss the charge or increase your negotiating power to reduce your penalty or dismiss all charges against you.
How to Fight Driving Without Insurance in Ontario?
Basically, there are only 2 options on how to fight your driving without insurance ticket:
- Hire a traffic ticket lawyer or paralegal.
- Try to fight your ticket by yourself.
Resorting to professional help as soon as possible helps dramatically improve your chances of getting a victory in court and avoiding huge penalties for driving without insurance.
But if you don’t want legal representation and rely on yourself in fighting no insurance ticket in Ontario, you need to be ready to go through the complicated process alone. Here it is:
- Be ready to prove to the prosecutor that you have already renewed your auto insurance coverage to negotiate a plea.
- Bring all the documents relevant to your case. If everything is okay with your documents and insurance coverage has been reinstated, it will take 1 to 3 court visits to settle down your case.
- Trial preparation. Before you go to court, you have to prepare questions for the policeman and other witnesses about any reasonable facts regarding your case that might help to improve the overall situation.
- At the court date, a police officer will be invited as the main bystander who carried out the investigation.
It’s worth repeating, that the entire process of fighting driving without insurance ticket 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 in 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 got caught driving without insurance and you want your case to be resolved by real professionals as soon as possible!