No Insurance Charges. What Do I Do Next?

You're facing a minimum $6,250 fine and possible license suspension. Try Ontario's free No Insurance Penalty Calculator™ and let's stop that from happening.

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Ontario’s No Insurance Penalty Calculator™

The 30-Second Ontario No Insurance test will help calculate the penalties you will be facing in the Provincial Offences court

Do You Want to Keep Driving?
My name is Jon Cohen, Partner at NextLaw. You’re facing insurance cancellation, a 1-3 year driving suspension, huge fines, and up to 6-months in jail. I can tell you how to stop that from happening (for free).

Your ability to keep driving depends on what comes next.  I’ll explain everything about your traffic charge and develop a strategy that will change everything – FREE!

Do You Want to Keep Driving?

Your ability to keep driving depends on what comes next.  I’ll explain everything about your traffic charge and develop a strategy that will change everything – FREE!

Below is our No Insurance information & video guide.
(But we can explain much clearer by getting in touch with us directly by clicking below)

CHAPTER 1

What is a Driving Without Insurance charge in Ontario?

Understand the law.  To fight a Driving Without Insurance charge in Ontario, it’s important to understand the law.

You’ve been charged under the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.”  There are lots of laws you need to follow when you drive.  Your Driving Without Insurance charge is found in the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act”, Ontario legislation.

Under section 2(1) of the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act,” you cannot operate a motor vehicle unless that vehicle is legally insured.

What is a Driving Without Insurance charge in Ontario?

You can read the exact language of the charge here.

Being charged with Driving Without Insurance does NOT mean you are guilty.
  • Unless you have been convicted in court, your Driving Without Insurance charge is an allegation that is not yet proven.
You will need to appear in court – When you were charged, the police gave you a summons to appear in court.
  • You got what looks like a standard traffic ticket. Depending on how the officer laid the charge, it can be a simple ticket, or it can be a summons compelling you to appear in court.
  • On the summons, the police officer will have written the date, the time and the location of the court where you need to appear.
  • The court date may be online. Due to COVID-19, many court dates will not be in person.  If that’s the case, the court will inform you of how to virtually attend your court date.

Your court appearance is NOT your trial date – The summons directs you to appear in court for a court date called the “First Appearance.”

  • The “First Appearance” is NOT a trial. This court date is the first time you appear before the court for your Driving Without Insurance charge.
  • The legal process for your Driving Without Insurance charge may take multiple court appearances before your case is resolved.
  • The complete legal process may take days, weeks, months, sometimes over a year to resolve.

Read below, Chapter 9, for more about the legal process you face when you get a  Driving Without Insurance charge.

I was not driving my vehicle.  Someone else was driving my car.  Why was I charged with Driving Without Insurance?

The law is clear.  If you own a vehicle, that vehicle must be insured. 

And, it does not matter who is driving the vehicle.  If the vehicle is not insured, then you will be charged with Driving Without Insurance, even if you’re not driving the vehicle.

How long do the Police have to charge me for a Driving Without Insurance charge?

The police can charge you for Driving Without Insurance for up to 2 years from the date of the event where your vehicle was driven without insurance.

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.

CHAPTER 2

Why Was I Charged With No Insurance?
The penalties for Driving Without Insurance are severe.

The penalties for Driving Without Insurance are found in section 2(3) of the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act”.  (Click here to read the penalties as they are written in the law.)

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.

And, with all fines, the province adds a victim surcharge equal to 25% of the fine amount.  So, with a $5,000 fine, the total fine would be $6,250.  And, with a maximum fine of $50,000, the total fine would be $62,500.

What are the penalties for my Ontario No Insurance case?

The Prosecution MUST ask for these minimum fines on a conviction.  If you get convicted of Driving Without Insurance, the Prosecutor has to follow the rules regarding the penalty.  This means that the Prosecutor will be seeking fines that start at $5,000 for a first offence and $10,000 minimum for subsequent offences.

Your insurance rates will dramatically increase.  When you are convicted of Driving Without Insurance, your insurance company will place you in a “high-risk” category.  And the impact of being “high-risk” will be dramatic insurance rate increases.

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.

Why are the penalties for Driving With No Insurance so harsh?
  • The penalties are severe because Driving Without Insurance in Ontario is considered a “public safety” offence. Here’s what that means.
  • A typical car weighs about 4,000 pounds (or about 1,800 kilograms). That is a lot of weight to be moving on a set of wheels.
  • Don’t think of it as a car. Think of your vehicle as a weapon.  A 4,000-pound weapon. That can kill a person.  That can put someone in a wheelchair. That can cause property damage.
  • In the context of driving a 4,000 weapon, the Ontario lawmakers made a public policy decision. They do not want people driving a vehicle without insurance.  Doing so poses a real danger to society (remember, think of a 4,000-pound weapon).
  • Because Driving Without Insurance is considered a danger to the public, the lawmakers treat this charge differently and more harshly than a typical traffic ticket. This charge is more serious than “regular” traffic offences.
  • Severe penalties are given because the lawmakers only want people to drive that follow the rules of the road. And creating harsher punishments sends a message to the public that society will not accept driving without insurance.
  • Yes, the province will charge you with incredibly severe penalties.  Yes, the lawmakers know this is harsh.  Yes, the lawmakers know that you might not be able to absorb these penalties.  And, if you are convicted with these penalties, then you lose your ability to feed yourself and your family.  Yes, the lawmakers know that. But, that is the price you will pay when you pose a risk to the public.

CHAPTER 3

If I get convicted of a Driving Without Insurance charge, what do I need to do to get the lowest fines possible?

The law is clear regarding penalties for Driving Without Insurance penalties.  The minimum fine for a Driving Without Insurance charge is $5,000 for a first offence.  And $10,000 for subsequent offences.

  • The Prosecutor is legally responsible for seeking the minimum penalty written in the law. That is their job.
  • However, it may be possible to reduce those minimum penalties. First, it’s important to understand the context.
Why are the penalties listed as a range and not fixed?  (For example, there is potential license suspension up to 1 year or fines up to $50,000.)
  • The penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Ontario are purposely defined by the lawmakers as a range. In other words, the penalties are not fixed. 
  • This is very different from the penalties for simple speeding under section 128 of the Highway Traffic Act. With simple speeding, the fines and demerit point penalties are fixed.  There is no discretion with what your penalty is going to be. 
  • However, if you are charged with Driving Without Insurance, the penalties you are subject to have a very wide range. These penalties are NOT fixed because of the severity of the Driving Without Insurance charge.  The more severe your case is, the more severe the penalty will be.
Who decides how much the fine will be?

The Justice of the Peace is the final decision maker on what your penalty will be.  That includes the amount of the fine you will have to pay.

What factors go into the decision about what the fine will be?

The Justice of Peace will decide on how much your fine will be. 

Many factors go into the decision making process about what your fine will be.  Some of these factors include:

  • Your financial situation. The penalties are designed to be “painful” to create a deterrence to stop you, and the public, from Driving Without Insurance.  However, the penalties are not intended to bury you financially (especially on a first conviction). 
  • Whether you have had previous convictions. And if so, how old those convictions are.
  • If there was an accident. And if there was, was anyone hurt or killed.
  • How your interactions were with the Police officer. Confrontational actions will factor into the penalty.
Is there anything you can say to get the fines lowered?

Yes, but it’s important to understand that the law is clear about the minimum penalty amounts. 

  • $5,000 minimum for a first offence. The maximum fine is $25,000.
  • And, $10,000 minimum fine for subsequent offences. The maximum fine is $50,000.

However, there is an exception under a law called the “Provincial Offences Act.” 

  • Under section 59(2), the Justice of the Peace has the power to reduce the minimum penalties if there are “exceptional circumstances” where the penalty would be “unduly oppressive or otherwise not in the interests of justice”.
  • You can read the law here.

This exception is the key to getting fines that are lower than the minimum.

How can I use this exception in the law to get the lowest fine possible?

The only way to get the exception is to explain to the Justice of the Peace why your situation falls under the definition of section 59(2), “exceptional circumstances.”

In other words, you need to tell your story.

Your story MUST touch upon the factors that the Justice of the Peace needs to take into consideration when they make a decision regarding the penalty amount.

And, you need to tell your story — and get it right — within a few minutes (because that’s all the time you’re going to have).

What are the key things that I need to know to get the lowest fine possible?

One of the most important factors is WHO the Justice of the Peace is that will hear your story.

We’re all human beings.  So too are the Justices of the Peace.  Some are more flexible than others. 

If your story is heard before a Justice of the Peace that is NOT flexible, then you may get a bad result, i.e. a large fine.  That is true even if your circumstances fall under the exception.

Bottom line.  WHO hears your story is critical.

CHAPTER 4

What Impact does a Driving Without Insurance conviction have on your insurance?
Bottom line.  A conviction on a Driving Without Insurance charge in Ontario will significantly impact your insurance payments.
  • The reason all has to do with risk. Insurance companies decide on how much you will pay based on your driving risk profile.  The higher the risk, the higher the premium.
  • Driving Without Insurance is one of the most serious driving offences you can get. The insurance companies know this.  And the serious nature of the charge will be reflected in what you pay in premiums.
Can insurance companies check your driving record?

Yes.  Insurance companies price your insurance based on how risky a driver you are.  And, one of the most important ways they assess how risky a driver you are, is based on your driving record.

Can insurance companies refuse to insure you?

Yes.  When you are convicted of a Driving Without Insurance charge, you are considered a “high-risk” driver.  An insurance company may then decide that you are too risky of a driver and may refuse to insure you.

How far back do insurance companies look at your driving record in Ontario?

3 Years.  Your Driving Without Insurance charge will remain on your driving record for three years.

CHAPTER 5

How can you beat your Driving Without Insurance charge in Ontario?

Anyone can fight their Driving Without Insurance charge.

And it may be possible to win.  And in some cases, it may be possible to get your charges withdrawn, even if you’re guilty. 

How can you get your Driving Without Insurance charge withdrawn (or dismissed)?

If there is a big mistake with your Driving Without Insurance charge, it may get withdrawn.

And, there are 2 types of mistakes that can happen with your charge:  Fatal Errors, and Minor Errors.

How can you beat your Driving Without Insurance charge in Ontario?

If your charge has a “Fatal Error”.

  • These are errors that would impact the core of the charge itself.
  • These mistakes cannot be fixed.
  • Your charge would be withdrawn. Your case would be over!

If your charge has “Minor Error”.

  • These errors can be fixed by the court. And, the case against you continues.
Where can you find the mistakes?

In your disclosure!  The disclosure is all the evidence that the court has against you and will be used to prosecute the case against you. 

  • These mistakes are typically found in your disclosure. That’s why it’s so important to get your disclosure and read it over.
  • Something missing? If you believe there is some evidence or information missing, you should request to get that missing information. Speak to the Prosecutor to find out how to order the missing disclosure.

The Prosecutor, upon seeing the Fatal Error, may decide to withdraw the charge.

Or, the Justice of the Peace, upon seeing a Fatal Error, may rule that the charge be dismissed.

What are your chances of getting the charges withdrawn?

Be realistic.  It’s a small chance that your charge may have a “fatal error,” but it does happen. And it’s worth finding out.

CHAPTER 6

I have a reason why I was Driving Without Insurance. Can I use this reason as a defence to fight my charge?

The most common valid defence to a Driving Without Insurance charge is that there was a mistake.  That you did have valid insurance.  If you do have proof of a valid contract of insurance, then your charge will be withdrawn.

Unfortunately, most “excuses” are NOT defences.  Because a Driving Without Insurance charge is a public safety offence, the lawmakers made it very difficult to “win” these cases.  That means most excuses won’t get you off this charge.

Excuse #1 – Someone else was driving my car.  It was not me driving.
  • No, this is NOT a defence.
  • The law is clear. If you own a vehicle, that vehicle must be insured. 
  • And, it does not matter who is driving the vehicle. If the vehicle is not insured, then you will be charged with Driving Without Insurance, even if you’re not driving the vehicle.
Excuse #2 – I was driving my car a really short distance.

No, this is NOT a defence.

  • If your vehicle is not insured, then as long as that vehicle is NOT driven on a private road, then you will be found guilty of Driving Without Insurance.
  • The distance that you drove is not relevant. Even if it’s just a few meters.  The law is clear on this.

What are defences for No Insurance charges in Ontario?

Excuse #3 – I was driving my vehicle home from the dealership (or person from whom I bought the vehicle.)

No, this is NOT a defence.  See above.

Excuse #4 – “If I get convicted, I can’t afford to pay the insurance rate increases.  I will not be able to afford insurance and earn money to feed my family.

No, this is NOT a defence.

  • Many clients have to drive for work. Or for their family.  Or for medical reasons.  And paying expensive insurance premiums can be devastating to your personal and work life.
  • However, the penalties for Driving Without Insurance are severe for a reason.
  • The lawmakers want to send a b message to the public that you have to follow the rules of the road. And if you don’t follow the rules, then you will face serious consequences.
Excuse #5 – I pay my insurance every month.  But one of my payments didn’t go through, and I didn’t know that the payment didn’t make it to the insurance company.

No, this is NOT a defence. 

You are responsible for making sure you make your insurance payments every month.  If payment did not get processed, it is your responsibility to make sure that all payments go through.  The fact that you didn’t get notice of your “non-payment” is not a defence.

Excuse #6 – “It was an emergency.  I had to drive my vehicle.”

No, this is NOT a defence. 

See logic above.

Excuse #7 – “My driving didn’t hurt anybody. I don’t understand the big deal.”

No, this is NOT a defence. 

The fact that no one was hurt has no legal meaning.  See logic above.

Excuse #8 – “I didn’t commit a crime.  The penalties are crazy.”

No, this is NOT a defence.

Yes, the penalties are severe because the lawmakers want “responsible” drivers on the road.  And for those people that do not drive responsibly, the law will punish them appropriately.

CHAPTER 7

Who are the people that will be involved in my Driving Without Insurance case?

To get the best outcome for your Driving Without Insurance charge, it’s important to know the people involved in your case.

How does our court system work?

Our court system works like a “boxing match” or “MMA fight.”

Our court system is designed to have two people fighting it out with a referee to ensure each side is following the rules. And that referee will also decide on the outcome of your case.

Who are the people that matter in my Driving Without Insurance case?

There are 3 important people that matter in your Driving Without Insurance case.

Who are the people involved in my Ontario No Insurance case?

Important Person #1: You – You have been charged under the “Compulsory Automobile Insurance” Act. You are known as the “Defendant.”

  • You can either defend yourself or have a lawyer or paralegal defend you.
  • If you have a lawyer or paralegal defend you, it’s important to make sure that they are licensed by the Law Society in Ontario and their license is in good standing.

Important Person #2: The Prosecutor – The Prosecutor is representing the Ontario government. If your case goes to trial, then the Police Officer will be asked to attend your trial to provide the evidence.

Important Person #3: The Justice of the Peace – The Justice of the Peace is the “referee.”

  • The Justice of the Peace will decide your case’s outcome (whether you are guilty or not guilty).
  • If you are found guilty, that Justice of the Peace will also decide on the penalty or sentence against you.
  • And, if your case does not go to trial but is resolved by a plea agreement, then the Justice of the Peace will need to approve the plea agreement and will be the final decision maker regarding the penalty.
What role does each person play in my Driving Without Insurance case?

These 3 important people each have an important role in case.

Your Role – You have been charged with Driving Without Insurance.

Your job is to defend yourself against the charge. If you hire a lawyer (or paralegal), your lawyer’s job will be to defend you.

The Prosecutor’s Role – The Prosecutor is NOT your friend. Yes, they may be nice. They may be pleasant to deal with. But their job is NOT to be your friend. His or her job is to convict you of the charge.  First, the Prosecutor needs to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prove the charges against you. If there is, then the charges against you will proceed.

The Justice of the Peace’s Role – He or she is the “referee” in your fight.

  • The Justice of the Peace is NOT advocating for you.
  • The Justice of the Peace is NOT advocating for the Prosecutor.
  • The Justice of the Peace is like a referee. The Justice of the Peace is there to make sure that all the rules are being followed.
  • And, the Justice of the Peace will be the one who decides whether you are guilty or not.

CHAPTER 8

How much power does the Prosecutor have in your Driving Without Insurance case?

The prosecutor has a lot of power in your case.

As you read above, the Prosecutor is not your friend.

The Prosecutor’s job is to convict you of the Driving Without Insurance charge against you.

Convicting You (Sorry, It’s Pretty Easy)

  • It’s the Prosecutor job to prove you committed the offence of Driving Without Insurance according to the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act.
  • Unfortunately for you, it’s relatively easy to convict you of this charge.
  • Generally, the Prosecutor needs to prove that at the time of the offence, your vehicle was not insured.

But, that’s not the end of the story (and this part is REALLY important)

The Prosecutor needs to make 2 decisions.

  • 1st Decision – Whether they have enough evidence to get a conviction (generally, pretty easy to do in these cases).
  • 2nd Decision – Even if there is sufficient evidence, they need to decide whether “it is in the interest of justice” to pursue the charge given the circumstances.
  • This 2nd decision is REALLY important because the law gives the Prosecutor the power to decide whether to move ahead with the charge.
  • If they move ahead, then that means on conviction, you are going to have to face the serious penalties associated with Driving Without Insurance.
  • If, however, the Prosecutor decides it does NOT make sense to move ahead, the Prosecutor may then drop the charges as they are not in the public interest nor the interests of justice.
  • Sounds good, right? It does sound good because it is good.
  • However, the Prosecutor is the ONLY person who can decide to proceed with the charges.
  • That is WHY the Prosecutor has a lot of power. The Prosecutor will determine whether to proceed with the charge (or not).

How much power does the Prosecutor have in your Driving Without Insurance case?

Bottom line?

  • The Prosecutor matters. A lot.
  • If the Prosecutor decides NOT to give you a break, well, that is NOT good.
  • But, it’s NOT over!!!! It may be possible to convince the Prosecutor why it does make sense to give you a break.
  • Getting the Prosecutor to change their mind does happen. But, there are a lot of factors that go into making that decision.
  • Obviously the facts of your case matter. But there are other factors that may play a huge role in the Prosecutor’s decision. These include the jurisdiction in which you were charged and who the Prosecutor is.
  • Get free advice, call a lawyer. The good news is that you can get free consultations.

CHAPTER 9

What is the legal process you face when you get a Driving Without Insurance charge?
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.
What are the key court appearances that I will face during my legal process?

As your case proceeds through the court system in Ontario, you will face a series of court dates that include:

What are the key court appearances for my Ontario No Insurance charge?

  • First Appearance – This is the first time you appear before the court. It’s not a trial.

Read more about your “First Appearance” below in Chapter 9.

  • To Be Spoken To or Set Date Appearances – The case against you will take time. For example, your lawyer needs to get all the evidence, prepare a defence, etc. The same is true of the Prosecutor prosecuting the case against you. They need time to prepare the case against you, respond to your lawyer, etc. The courts require updates to the process to ensure the process is moving forward. These court updates are heard in court, and these court dates are called “To Be Spoken To” or “Set Appearance” court dates.
  • Judicial Pre-Trial – In some cases, you may have a formal court date called a judicial-pre-trial. This court date is effectively a resolution meeting between you and the Prosecutor.  If a lawyer represents you, then the meeting will happen between the Prosecutor and your lawyer.  At this meeting, the issues surrounding your case will be discussed. Potential case resolutions will also be discussed.
  • Trial – A trial is where the charges against you will be heard in a courtroom in front of a Justice of the Peace.
  • Sentencing – If you are found guilty (or enter a guilty plea), generally, the Justice of the Peace will immediately decide on the penalty. In some cases, the Justice of the Peace will decide on the penalty at a future court date. 
What is disclosure?

Disclosure is all the evidence that the Prosecutor will use against you as they try to convict you on your Driving Without Insurance charge.

Disclosure includes all the Police Officer notes, witness statements, and technical documents including the notes regarding the radar device.

Am I entitled to all the evidence in my case?

Yes.

And, it’s important to know that the disclosure you get at your First Appearance may not be complete.

And it is critical to get complete disclosure to properly assess your case’s strengths and weaknesses to mount an effective defence.

CHAPTER 10

What do I need to know about going to court for the first time?

Your first court date is called a “First Appearance”.  This is the first time you will appear before the court for your Driving Without Insurance charge.

When you were charged with Driving Without Insurance, the police officer gave you a summons with your court details for your first appearance.  The details will include the date, time and the court where you need to appear. 

Due to COVID-19, many court dates will not be in person.  If that’s the case, the court will inform you on how to virtually attend your court date.

Here is a list of most of the courts which handle Driving Without Insurance charges.

Barrie, Belleville, Bracebridge – Muskoka, Brampton, Brockville – Leeds & Grenville, Caledon East, Cayuga – Haldimand,Chatham – Kent, Cobourg – Northumberland, Cochrane, Cornwall – Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, Durham, Dryden, Elliot Lake, Espanola, Fort Frances, Goderich – Huron, Gore Bay, Guelph, Haileybury – Temiskaming Shores, Halton Region (Burlington – Halton Hills – Milton – Oakville), Hamilton, Kenora, Kingston, Kitchener – Cambridge – Waterloo Region, Lindsay – Kawartha Lakes, London, Mississauga, Napanee – Lennox & Addington, Newmarket – York Region, North Bay, Orangeville, Orillia, Ottawa, Owen Sound / Walkerton – Grey Bruce, Parry Sound, Pembroke – Renfrew, Perth, Peterborough, Picton – Prince Edward County, Richmond Hill, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Simcoe – Norfolk, St. Catharines – Niagara Region, Stratford – Perth,  Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto East, Toronto South, Toronto West, Welland – Niagara Region, Windsor, Woodstock – Oxford. 

You can find a complete address list of Provincial Offences courts here

What is going to happen at my First Appearance in court?

Here’s what’s going to happen at court appearance for your Driving Without Insurance charge.

Meet the Prosecutor and get your evidence – You are going to meet with the Prosecutor.  And, that Prosecutor is going to give you the evidence, which will be put into your Disclosure.

Your meeting with the Prosecutor may be very brief because you are simply checking in to let the court know that you are there.  In some cases, there may be time to speak with the Prosecutor about your case.  Whether there is time (or not) to speak about your case is the decision of the Prosecutor.

After meeting with the Prosecutor, you have 3 options to consider for the next steps.

  • Option #1 – You can enter a guilty plea. The case will end that day.  Most of the time, the penalties (e.g. fines, demerit points, driving suspension, etc.), will start that day.
  • Option #2 – Set a trial date. You can fight the Driving Without Insurance charge and set a trial date.
  • Option #3 – Get a delay (usually 3 to 6 weeks) to get legal advice.

There is NO downside to ask for this delay.  It’s important to understand the charge you are facing, the evidence the court has against you and the penalties that you face.  Take the time to make an informed decision.

Lastly, a new court date will be set.  Assuming you did not enter a guilty plea, you will appear before the Justice of the Peace and a new court date will be set.

  • That new court date will either be to give you the time to get legal advice. Or, you will have set a trial date.
  • In either case, it’s important to get the proper legal advice to make an informed decision.
What is the difference between disclosure and evidence?

Practically, they are the same thing.

Evidence are the facts upon which the prosecution will use to try to prove the Driving Without Insurance charge against you.

Disclosure is the “package” of evidence that will be given to you at your first appearance. 

Disclosure typically includes a synopsis of the police summary of the case against you, the police officer’s notes, witness statements and a screening form (which an offer for resolution).

Why is disclosure so important in my Driving Without Insurance case?
  • Because the penalties for Driving Without Insurance are so serious (read above), our legal system is designed to give you everything you need to defend yourself properly.
  • The only way to properly defend yourself is to get all the evidence that the province has against you.
  • Once you get that evidence, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you. You can then make an informed decision on how you want to proceed with your case.  And, if you decide to fight the charges, you can then put together a proper strategy to fight the charge (because you have all the evidence).
  • The only way to guarantee that you get your evidence is to force you to go to court, i.e. to force you to go to your first appearance.
Why is there a delay after getting charged with Driving Without Insurance and my first court date?
  • First appearances are usually scheduled for 4 to 6 weeks after the police charge you. This time delay allows the police to properly gather all the evidence that has to be included in your disclosure.
Can I get all the evidence against me?

Yes.

You legally have the right to get all the evidence that the court has against you.

Getting all your evidence is NOT a choice of the prosecutor or the court.  The court must give you all the evidence.  If you do not get all the evidence, it may be possible to get the charges against you withdrawn.

Will all the evidence for my No Insurance charge be ready at my first appearance?

Maybe.

Occasionally, the evidence against you may not be ready by the time you arrive at your first appearance.

In this case the court will set another court date to give the court and the prosecutor more time to get the evidence.

However, if after a few court dates you still don’t have your disclosure, the Justice of the Peace may dismiss the charges against you.

When I get my No Insurance disclosure, is that all the evidence?

Not necessarily.  And this is a very important point to know.

Even when you get your disclosure, that does not mean that you have all the evidence against you.  In fact, your disclosure package may be missing some key evidence. 

If you suspect there is missing evidence, you can ask the court and the prosecutor, for that additional evidence.

Getting ALL your evidence is critical for you to be able to make an informed decision on how you want to proceed with your case.

Will the Police Officer that charged me with No Insurance be at my First Appearance in court?

No.

The Police Officer is not required to be at your First Appearance. If your case goes to trial, then yes, the Police Officer that charged you will be called upon to give the evidence that he or she has against you.

Is this No Insurance First Appearance my trial date?

No.  Your “First Appearance” is not a trial.  It’s the first time you appear before the court for your Driving Without Insurance charge.

If you decide to go to trial, then your trial date will be set at some point in the future.  That date may be days, weeks, or many months in the future. But your trial will NOT happen on your first appearance.

Do I have to attend my First Appearance?

If you have hired a lawyer, then no. You do not need to attend your First Appearance because your lawyer will attend on your behalf.

If you have not hired a lawyer, then yes. You will need to attend your First Appearance.

Can I have someone who is not a licensed lawyer attend on my behalf?

Maybe.  For the first appearance, you may be able to have someone attend on your behalf.  However, you should give that person written permission that they are allowed to attend on your behalf and include the reason why you are not able to attend.

BONUS

Pro Tips – How to Make Your Driving without Insurance Court Appearance Go Smoothly
Tip #1 – What to bring to your Driving without insurance date
  • If it’s your first appearance, bring the court summons or ticket the police officer gave to you when you got charged. This is helpful in the event the court cannot find your file.
  • If you have any evidence that contradicts your charge, bring that too and show it to the Prosecutor.
Tip #2 – Get there early
  • The earlier you get to court for your No Insurance charge, the earlier you will be able to leave. This is especially true with busier courts.
  • Try to get there at least 30 minutes before start time.
Tip #3 – Confirm you are on the court docket
  • With every court date, there is a list of everyone that needs to appear. That list is called a “court docket”.
  • Confirm you are on the list. Sometimes you are not. If you are not on the court docket, don’t leave. Show the Prosecutor the summons and ask what you should do next.
Tip #4 – Get in line
  • When you get to court, make sure you find the line. It’s common for people to show up early and not get in the right line. Or, wait around while other people form a line.
  • If you miss the right line, this may add a few hours to your time in court.
Tip #5 – It may take hours
  • Be prepared to be in court for hours before your Driving with No Insurance charge is heard. Hopefully, it will be quick, but you never know.
Tip #6 – Keep your emotions in check. Even if you’re angry.
  • Getting charged with No Insurance is stressful.
  • But it’s important to keep your emotions in check. Everyone in the court has a job to do. You are now in a legal process and you need to ride it out.
Tip #7 – Make sure you stay after meeting with the Prosecutor.
  • After you meet with the Prosecutor, you cannot leave.
  • You must have your case heard before a Justice of the Peace.
Tip #8 – Take notes
  • Make sure you get the prosecutor’s name. And if possible, their contact information.
  • And, take note of your next court date appearance (date, time and courtroom). The courts will NOT send you notice of your next date so you need to write that down.
How Do I Fight a No Insurance Charge?

The most effective way to fight the charge is to hire an experienced lawyer. The results of your No Insurance charges rest with analyzing your disclosure or evidence, speaking with the prosecutor and determining the next steps. An experienced legal professional knows best how to navigate the complex court system to minimize the penalties for your charges.

How Does a No Insurance charges Affect Insurance Increases?

A No Insurance charge (section 2 of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act) is a very damaging conviction on your driving abstract. However, for insurance companies, it is a non-moving violation. However, it can results in a suspension of your driver's license.

How Long does No Insurance charge stay on your record?

Generally, driving infractions will affect your insurance policy for up to 3 years. As far as your driving abstract, it will always remain.

How Do I Get No Insurance Charge Dropped?

In order to get your charges dropped, there would have to be a fatal error in the province's disclosure or evidence. If this is the case, a legal professional would argue to have the charges dismissed.

A $6,250 fine will damage your ability to pay for day to day necessities.
You deserve better.
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