Use Plates Not Authorized

About

Use Plates Not AuthorizedWhere a driver wishes to operate a motor vehicle on an Ontario roadway the vehicle must be licensed and authorized for use.

The driver must use a licence plate in accordance with the rules and regulations under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, including:

  • not deface or alters any
    • number plate, evidence of validation or permit
  • not use or permit the use of a
    • defaced or altered number plate, evidence of validation or permit;
  • without the authority of the permit holder,
    • remove a number plate from a motor vehicle or trailer; and
  • not use or permits the use of a number plate upon a vehicle
    • other than a number plate authorized for use on that vehicle;
  • not use or permit the use of evidence of validation sticker on a plate
    • other than evidence of validation furnished by the Ministry in respect of that motor vehicle; or
  • uses or permits the use of a number plate or evidence of validation
    • other than in accordance with this Act and the regulations,

Drivers must use only the licence plate that is registered for that vehicle.

You cannot take a licence plate from one vehicle and attach it to another vehicle without first registering the transfer with the Ministry of Transportation.


Insurance Implications

A conviction on the drivers abstract for using plate not authorized can affect insurance rates.


Driving Records / Abstracts

Once the driver is convicted of a traffic ticket, the court sends a notice to the Ministry of Transportation.

Upon receiving the record of conviction, the Ministry of Transportation adds the court conviction to the driving record.

Driving abstracts are available to anyone who has the drivers licence number for a fee payable to the Ministry of Transportation.

Therefore the way the insurance company will finds out about the ticket is;

Each insurance company is a private company with their own set of rules and standards.

Some insurance companies will not increase insurance rates for one ticket and others will. The problem is drivers don’t know what the insurance company is going to do, and if asked, there is a chance they will increase it due to the inquiry.

Drivers need to keep their driving records clear.


Demerit Points

There are no demerit points for using plates not authorized.


Fines

There is no out of court fine for using plates not authorized for a vehicle.

The police officer must issue a summons to appear in court, whereupon the driver (or legal representative) must appear in court before a judge.


Summons to Appear in Court

When a summons to appear is issued to a driver, the driver or legal representative must appear before the court.

Where they do not appear a judge may issue a bench warrant for the police to arrest the driver and ensure their appearance before the court.

Upon conviction the Justice of the Peace (JP) can issue a fine of:

  • not less than $100
    • not more than $1000
  • jail for not more than 30 days
    • or both
  • licence suspension for up to 6 months

On any fine issued in Ontario a victim fine surcharge (tax) is added to any penalty.


What is the Victim Fine Surcharge?

  • The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act.
    • It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
  • The amount of the VFS is usually 20 per cent of the imposed fine.
    • For example, a $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge.
    • Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25 per cent.

Penalties

Where a police officer finds a motor vehicle being driven on an Ontario roadway the officer can:

  • seize and remove the licence plates from the vehicle
  • have the vehicle removed (towed) from the roadway
  • issue a summons to appear in court to the driver

There is no out of court fine for using plates not authorized for a vehicle.

The police officer must issue a summons to appear in court, whereupon the driver (or legal representative) must appear in court before a judge.


Summons to Appear in Court

Where a police officer issues a summons to appear the Justice of the Peace (JP) can issue a fine of:

  • not less than $100
    • not more than $1000
  • jail for not more than 30 days
    • or both
  • licence suspension for up to 6 months

What is the Victim Fine Surcharge?

  • The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act.
    • It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
  • The amount of the VFS is usually 20 per cent of the imposed fine.
    • For example, a $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge.
    • Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25 per cent.

Suspensions

Where any driver, regardless of driver licence class is convicted of using plates not authorized for vehicle a judge may suspend their drivers licence for up to 6 months.


Legal Definition

Violations as to number plates

12 (1) Every person who,

(a) defaces or alters any number plate, evidence of validation or permit;

(b) uses or permits the use of a defaced or altered number plate, evidence of validation or permit;

(c) without the authority of the permit holder, removes a number plate from a motor vehicle or trailer; and

(d) uses or permits the use of a number plate upon a vehicle other than a number plate authorized for use on that vehicle;

(e) uses or permits the use of evidence of validation upon a number plate displayed on a motor vehicle other than evidence of validation furnished by the Ministry in respect of that motor vehicle; or

(f) uses or permits the use of a number plate or evidence of validation other than in accordance with this Act and the regulations,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or to both, and in addition the person’s licence or permit may be suspended for not more than six months.

Property of the Crown

(2) Every number plate is the property of the Crown and shall be returned to the Ministry when required by the Registrar.

Notice to plate holder

(2.1) The Registrar may cause notice to be given to the holder of a number plate that the number plate is required to be returned to the Ministry.

Same
(2.2) Notice under subsection (2.1) is sufficiently given if delivered personally or mailed to the latest address of the holder of the number plate on the records of the Ministry. 2017, c. 9, s. 2 (2).

No right to be heard

(2.3) There is no right to be heard before notice is given under subsection

Cancellation of number plate

(2.4) The Registrar may cancel a number plate if it is not returned within 60 days after the date by which it is required to be returned, but if the Registrar is satisfied that the number plate is damaged, altered, deteriorated or worn such that it may not be accurately photographed by an electronic toll system, automated speed enforcement system or red light camera system, the Registrar may cancel the number plate if it is not returned within 30 days after the required date.

Same
(3) For the purpose of subsections (2) to (2.4),

“number plate” includes,

(a) a number plate bearing a requested number,

(b) evidence of validation,

(c) a permit, and

(d) Repealed:

(e) an IRP cab card issued by the Ministry.

Number plates, further violations No other numbers to be exposed

13 (1) No number other than that upon the number plate furnished by the Ministry shall be exposed on any part of a motor vehicle or trailer in such a position or manner as to confuse the identity of the number plate.

Number plate to be kept clean

(2) Every number plate shall be kept free from dirt and obstruction and shall be affixed so that the entire number plate, including the numbers, is plainly visible at all times, and the view of the number plate shall not be obscured or obstructed by spare tires, bumper bars, any part of the vehicle, any attachments to the vehicle or the load carried.

Obstruction prohibited

(3) The number plates shall not be obstructed by any device that prevents the entire number plates including the numbers from being accurately photographed using an automated speed enforcement system.

(3.0.1) The number plates shall not be obstructed by any device that prevents the entire number plates including the numbers from being accurately photographed using a red light camera system.

Same
(3.1) The number plates shall not be obstructed by any device or material that prevents the entire number plates including the numbers from being identified by an electronic toll system.

Offence

(4) Every person who contravenes subsection (2), (3), (3.0.1) or (3.1) is guilty of an offence.

Improper or invalid number plates and cab cards – Improper number plate

14 (1) Where a police officer or an officer appointed under this Act has reason to believe that,

(a) a number plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer,

(i) has not been authorized under this Act for use on that vehicle,

(ii) was obtained by false pretences, or

(iii) has been defaced or altered;

(b) evidence of validation of a permit displayed on a motor vehicle,

(i) was not furnished under this Act in respect of that motor vehicle,

(ii) was obtained by false pretences, or

(iii) has been defaced or altered; or

(c) a permit carried by a driver of a motor vehicle,

(i) was not authorized under this Act in respect of that motor vehicle,

(ii) was obtained by false pretences, or

(iii) has been defaced or altered,

the officer may take possession of the number plate, evidence of validation or permit and retain it until the facts have been determined.


Case Law

R. v. Bray, 2010 ONCJ 98 (CanLII)
2010-03-15 | 24 pages
motor vehicle — owner — offence — actus reus — Use Plates not Authorized
[…] [37] The defendant is charged with the offence of using a number plate upon a vehicle other than a number plate authorized for use on that vehicle, contrary to paragraph 12(1) (d) of the Highway Traffic Act . […] a reasonable doubt, that on October 4th, 2008, at the Town of Milton, in the Region of Halton, the defendant, Robert Bray committed the actus reus of the offence of use number plate upon a vehicle other than a number plate authorized for use on that vehicle, contrary to paragraph 12(1) (d) of the Highway Traffic Act . […] of subsection 11(3) does not operate so as to justify the defendant’s actions of October 4th, 2008, in affixing “number” plate AZPE490 to the subject Toyota and using that plate for the purpose of driving the Toyota vehicle, when the said plate continued to be authorized for use on the subject Volkswagen vehicle. […]

R. v. Short, 2010 ONCJ 541 (CanLII)
2010-11-16 | 14 pages
offence — suspended — motor vehicle — number plate not authorized — notice
[…] (b) Uses or permits the use of a defaced or altered number plate, evidence of validation or permit; […] (d) Uses or permits the use of a number plate upon a vehicle other than a number plate authorized for use on that vehicle; […] (e) uses or permits the use of evidence of validation upon a number plate displayed on a motor vehicle other than evidence of validation furnished by the Ministry in respect of that motor vehicle; or […]