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 for a Trial and in some cases, 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 potential jail time. A few Part I Offences can sometimes be filed as a Part III Offence, such as Careless Driving. If the charge or incidents are deemed by the officer to be more serious, they would opt for a Part III summons.
A conviction for Careless Driving as a Part 1 Traffic Ticket might yield a fine for $490.00 and 6 demerit points, as well as your insurance company hiking your premiums. If you are convicted of the same charge under a Part III offence, your fine will range from $400 and $2000.00, plus surcharges bringing the range typically between $490 and $2505, plus six demerit points. However, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to two years, as well as being sentenced to jail for up six months. With your liberty and right to drive at stake, representation is 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.
Similar to Careless Driving, Failing to Remain (at the scene of an accident) can result in seven demerit points, a fine between $400 to $2000 (plus surcharges) and license suspension for up to two years. A conviction can also result in a jail term of up to six months. Stunt Driving (under s. 172 1 of the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario states:
“No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway in a race or contest, while performing a stunt or on a bet or wager.”
More Serious Than Speeding
Stunt driving is much more than speeding. Many times, there are attempts to perform stunts, do “wheelies”, doing donuts, driving while not in the driver’s seat or deliberately tailgating somebody at a high speed. It is the reckless, deliberate and willful attempts to drives without due care or even attention to safety. Often, if one is speeding at a rate of fifty kilometers above the speed limit and partaking in these activities, one can be charged with Stunt Driving. A conviction for Stunt Driving can result in six demerit points, a fine between $2,000 to $10,000, as well as a license suspension for up to two years for the first offence. Subsequent offences can result in up to ten years of license suspension. A jail term of up to six month is also possible with a conviction on this charge.
Failure to Stop for Police Officer is also a serious charge. If an officer flashes their lights and signals for you to pull over, you must pull over and stop. Failure to do so can result in charges once you are found and/or stopped. Fines between $1,000 to $10,000 plus surcharges can be ordered on conviction of this charge, as well as a jail term of up to six months.
Driving While Under Suspension
One of our most common Part III charges faced by our clients is Driving While Under Suspension. This suspension can happen if you fail to pay or file a ticket for a Part I Charge, forgetting about it and then getting convicted in administratively. A letter from the court indicating your suspension might have been sent, but you might have disregarded it. You continue to drive and then one day, you are pulled over and told that your driver’s license is suspended. You are issued a Part III summons for this charge and are now forced to fight it, because a first conviction for this charge is a further suspension of your license for six (6) months.
In general, a first offence draws a fine of $1,000, or up to $5,000 (plus surcharges). Subsequent offences can yield higher fines of $2,000 to $5,000, as well as a jail term of up to six months. Additional convictions for Driving While Under Suspension can yield a further license suspension of six months on top of the first six months.
If your driving suspension is due to a conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada, your situation is worse as well as potential penalties. It is very important to obtain disclosure as early as possible to find out why your license was suspended and legal representation is crucial, particularly as your driver’s license and your liberty may be both at stake.
Driving without Insurance / Permit Drive No Insurance
This is a charge under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act. This offence is serious, especially considering if this is discovered after you are involved in an accident. If you are convicted of either driving a motor vehicle without insurance, or allowing somebody else to drive your vehicle while knowingly uninsured, the first offence carries a minimum fine of $5000 (which can go up to $25000, plus surcharges)/ Second and subsequent offences can yield fines between $10,000 and $50,000 on subsequent offenses (plus surcharges). One’s license can be suspended upon conviction for driving without insurance, although this is not automatic. Your vehicle can also be seized and impounded for up to three months, with a fee charged for you to get it back after that period ends.
What Should I Do if I am Charged with a Part III Offence?
The first thing you need to do is seek legal advice and learn about your options. Your case would look much better in the courts if you immediately pay all of your fines up to date (or keep an approved payment plan). If you are caught driving while suspended or if you are suspended roadside, wait the specified period of time to pay to reinstate your driver’s license. This will keep you “legal” until you deal with your charges in court. If you were driving without insurance, get an insurance policy in place right away or transfer the ownership of your vehicle to someone else or sell.
Even if you paid to reinstate your license, be aware that this may take several days to take effect. You can check the validity of your license in real time by going online or by phoning the Ministry of Transportation at 1-900-565-6555.
Resolving these charges can take time, often several court appearances over several months. Negotiations may be taking place with the Crown, or if planned for a possible Trial, a Judicial Pre-Trial might be set. Your representative will attend to these matters and keep you informed as your case moves through the system.
If you were issued Part I Tickets at the same time as being issued your summons, do be aware that you must still file your Part I tickets almost right away and not wait until your Part III charge’s court date.