Inquiry:  Hello there.  I received a Summons to Defendent yesterday for not having
car insurance and for speaking on my cell phone. I’ve since rectified that issue by renewing my GEICO policy within the USA since I still have valid Illinois plates until May 2012.

This is my first time ever having to appear to court for anything and I’m unsure of what to exactly expect. I understand that the minimum fine I can face is $5000.  I don’t exactly have $5000 sitting around, but I know that I’d be able to pay it back in installments. Will this option be available to me?  Any info you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Response:  The range of fine for a first offence of CAIA 2(1)(a) – OPERATE M/V – No Insurance is $5,000 to $25,000.  In addition to the minimum fine, there is a 25% Victim Surcharge Fine added for a total minimum fine of $6,250.  With charges such as yours where there are very large penalties, the first step would be to see whether the charge can either be withdrawn or reduced to a lesser offence.  If not, then we could make an application to the Court to reduce the fine below the minimum fine.  Generally the cost of hiring qualified legal representation is recouped in reduced penalties and insurance increases.  We offer a no-cost initial review of matters via our toll-free number 1-866-801-8299.

Greg Currie
Office Manager (London)