Many of our clients charged with Driving with No Insurance – Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, Section (2)(1)(a) – are concerned that they will get a criminal record if convicted of the charge.
I’m writing this to tell you that this is simply not correct. A No Insurance Charge in Ontario will NOT result in a criminal record. However, you will have a $5000+ ticket that they have to appear in court to defend.
Is Driving Without Insurance a Criminal Charge?
No. Driving Without Insurance in Ontario is not a criminal charge. It is an offence under the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.”
A conviction of Driving Without Insurance, while serious, will NOT result in a criminal charge.
The Criminal Code of Canada does have charges that are focused on driving, such as Dangerous Driving. So, if the Driving Without Insurance event is so severe, the Police may decide to pursue charges against you under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Here is a summary of the penalties:
- Fines – For a 1st Time Conviction: For a first-time conviction, the minimum fine is $5,000. The maximum fine is $25,000.
- Fines – For Subsequent Convictions: If you have previous convictions on this charge, then the minimum fine is $10,000. The maximum fine is $50,000.
- License Suspension: Up to 1 year.
- Vehicle Impoundment: Up to 3 months.
Can you go to jail for Driving Without Insurance?
No. Under the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act,” you cannot go to jail for Driving Without Insurance.
How many points do you get for Driving Without Insurance?
None. There are no demerit points associated with a Driving No Insurance conviction.
What should I expect when going to court for my Driving Without Insurance charge?
The most important thing to remember with any charge – whether you’ve been charged with Driving Without Insurance, — is that you are presumed innocent.
- It’s the government’s job to prove you are guilty. You do not need to prove you are innocent.
- To prove the charges against you, the government must go through a very specific legal process. This legal process starts with what is called a “first appearance.”
How long does it take for my Driving Without Insurance charge to proceed against me in the courts?
The charges against you will take time. The legal process does not happen overnight. However, the courts cannot take forever to prosecute the case against you.
- Generally, the courts have up to 18-months to bring the charges against you to trial. If your case goes beyond that 18-month time period, it may be possible to get your charges withdrawn because your right to have your case heard within a reasonable period of time has been breached. This is a constitutional argument that you should speak to your lawyer about.
Get legal advice
Even if you are frustrated, do no attempt to defend this on your own without getting some free legal advice. You may think you have a valid reason for not having insurance, or you may be angry. However, this will not help you when you get to court. There are specific strategies and defences that you need to be aware of in order to try to minimize your No Insurance fine. Take the No Insurance penalty test below to get a better idea of the penalties you will be facing once you get to court.