If you have received a paper with a court date on it – either at home or on the road, it is proceeding under Part 3 of the Provincial Offenses Act (POA). It indicates that you, or a representative, have been summoned to be at court on a particular day and time.
These typically are much more serious charges, far more than your standard traffic ticket is. Part 3 Traffic Ticket Offenses can include thousands of dollars in fines, license suspensions and potentially even jail time. While all part 1 traffic ticket offenses can theoretically be laid as part 3’s, in general practice there are only a few this happens to, in addition to the part 3 only traffic ticket offenses.
One such offense that is often split between how it’s laid in part 1 and part 3’s is Careless Driving. As a Part 1 traffic ticket offense, Careless Driving is a fine of $490.00 and 6 demerit points (As well as making insurance a living nightmare). As a Part 3 traffic ticket offense though, Careless Driving is a fine between $400 and $2000.00 (Plus surcharges, effectively between $490 and $2505) and six demerit points. Additionally, a Part 3 Careless Driving charge can suspend your license for up to 2 years *and* send you to jail for up to 6 months. While a Part 1 Careless is a serious matter, the Part 3 is clearly on another level.
Because of the large scope of potential impacts (up to and including jail), representation is strongly recommended on all Part 3 Summons.
Fast Fact – for Part Three Summons under the Provincial Offences Act and this includes all Highway Traffic Act matters, you can appear in person or by agent. In practical terms, your paralegal can appear on your behalf and you are not required to attend court except at trial and in some instances on plea dates.
These are some of the offenses that can be laid as Part 3 Traffic Ticket Offenses only:
- Fail to Remain at the Scene of an Accident
- Stunt Driving
- Driving While Under Suspension
- Fail to stop for Officer
- Driving without Insurance/ Permit Drive No Insurance
While we will not discuss each of these charges in depth here, a brief look at the penalties for each illustrate the seriousness of them (and this is in addition to the massive insurance issues you may face)
Fail to Remain
Driving While Under Suspension
– A fine between $1000 and $5000 on a first offense (plus surcharges), and between $2000 and $5000 (plus surcharges) on subsequent offenses
– A jail term of up to 6 months
– An additional license suspension of 6 months to be served consecutively
– Please note that if it is a criminal suspension the situation changes significantly as do the penalties.
Fail to Stop for Officer
Driving without Insurance / Permit Drive No Insurance
– A fine between $5000 and $25000 on a first offense (plus surcharges), and between $10000 and $50000 on subsequent offenses (plus surcharges).
– License suspension of up to 1 year
– Vehicle may be impounded for up to three months
With these potential severe penalties, what can be done? First, you need legal advice about your particular situation to find out what you are facing. There are steps you can take though to help yourself, which we strongly recommend. In general this is curing the defect that caused the part 3 offense to be laid, if possible. Some examples of this include:
– If suspended for unpaid fines – pay the fines or apply for a payment plan if necessary (we are able to help here) and get your license back.
– If you are charged for driving without insurance – obtain insurance or sell/dispose of the vehicle.
Doing this shows the court that you are serious about fixing matters and strongly strengthens your position with the crown for negotiating and tells the court that you are much less of a risk to re-offend.
Typically these charges require several court appearances spanning anywhere from six to twelve months or more, as disclosure is produced and negotiations conducted with the Crown. Obviously a representative appearing on your behalf for the routine set dates is worth a fair bit of your time, as an added value to the defense.
Fast Fact – under Section 59.2 of the Provincial Offences Act, a sitting Justice of the Peace has the authority to reduce your fine(s) under specific circumstances. While many Justices consider financial hardship a sufficient ground, not all do and entering a plea before the wrong Justice of the Peace or making incomplete submissions can cost you a lot of money. The minimum fine for a No Insurance charge, first offence, is $5000.00, and can go up to $25,000.00, plus a 25% victim of crime surcharge and $5.00 in Court costs, adding insult to injury!!
There are many decisions to be made when facing a part three summons. Is a defense, technical or otherwise, available? What offers might the Crown consider for a guilty plea? Even if there is no viable defense or if the defense has not been successful, what submissions may be made on sentencing?
Additionally it is possible that you may have traffic tickets with fines (Part 1 offenses) in addition to a part 3 summons from a single event. Because of the impact these can have on each other, it is advised that you DO NOT pay these traffic tickets and instead bring them with you when you seek legal advice. If you decide to fight them (with or without representation), you need to file them with the court and bring a motion to have them “married” – brought together to the same court date with the same prosecutor. Once this happens, you typically have a better bargaining position.
Please do remember, your part 1 offenses (traffic tickets) do NOT have the same court date by default and must be filed with the court. If you wait till your court date for your Part 3 to deal with your Part 1’s you will be deemed guilty.
Given the high costs, potential for imprisonment and/or license suspension, you need legal advice. In addition to the regular documents for a consultation, you should be prepared to advise your potential representative of any prior convictions of these offences, the reason and circumstances around the offence and any steps taken to correct the matter.
The potential outcomes are varied according to individual circumstance and the need for a legal consultation is very important. You need to know what you are facing, what the potential and probable outcomes are and what steps you can take to assist yourself.
TCS Legal Services, provides a no obligation consultation by phone, internet or in person. You can use our contact us page to schedule an appointment by internet or call us at our toll free line 1-888-388-7867