What Does it Mean to Receive a Part III Summons?
If you receive 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. If you have representation, you typically do not have to attend your court dates other than if there is a trial and in some cases, for a Plea.
These charges are typically more serious than Part I Traffic Tickets. Part 3 Traffic Ticket convictions can result in thousands of dollars in fines, license suspensions and potentially even jail time. While all Part 1 Traffic Ticket theoretically be filed as Part III charges, this only happens on rare occasions.
One example is Careless Driving, which can be laid as a Part I or a Part III offence. As a Part 1 Traffic Ticket, a conviction is a fine of $490.00 and 6 demerit points, as well as hiking your insurance through the roof. When the same charge is laid as a Part III charge, the can be between $400 and $2000.00, plus surcharges bringing the range typically between $490 and $2505. There is also six demerit points. In addition, you can have your driver’s license suspended for up to two years and spend time in custody for up to six months. Because of the serious impact of a Part III summons, representation is more crucial.
What are some of the Part III Summons Charges (and what do they mean)?
There are some offences which are laid as Part III Traffic Offences only, such as failing to remain at the scene of an accident, stunt driving, driving while under suspension, failing to stop for an officer and driving while you do not have insurance, or permitting somebody else to drive while you are aware that you have no insurance.
Fail to Remain
– 7 Demerit Points
– A fine between $400 and $2000 (plus surcharges)
– A jail term of up to 6 months
– License Suspension of up to 2 years
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, it is wise to seek legal advice as to what can be done. Our first step is to advise you to pay all fines up to date (or for a payment plan) and to file for a reinstatement of your license pending court resolution of your charges. If you are driving without insurance, get an insurance policy right away or sell/transfer your vehicle. Do not drive your vehicle if you are suspended until you are cleared by the Ministry to drive. This may take a few days if you are granted a reinstatement.
Doing these actions described above show good faith on your part.
Resolving these charges can take time, often several court appearances over several months. Negotiations may be taking place with the Crown.
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