Sometimes people quite astound me. The caller on the other end of the line was somewhat irate: he couldn’t believe that he would receive such a ticket. What was the big deal anyways, he wanted to know? In his mind he hadn’t really done anything wrong. I begged to differ.

According to him, he was driving down the highway between Toronto and Montréal, just minding his own business and going with the flow. To his great surprise, a police officer pulled him over for speeding. The officer told him that he was going 132 km/h in a 100 zone. He was facing a fine of about $100 plus costs, as well as three demerit points for travelling more than 30 km/h too fast.

He started arguing with the cop. He knew that he would only have received two demerit points if his excess speed was less than 30 km/h over. He was sure that the extra two km/h really didn’t make much of a difference and that the cop should have ignored his real speed and given him a discount. The police officer was adamant that the speed was what the laser had clocked him at.

The officer that stopped him was a member of the SQ, as he was driving on a provincial highway. The Sureté du Québec have sole jurisdiction on these Québec highways unless a member of another police force is in hot pursuit of a criminal. My caller argued that he actually started speeding in Ontario and had Ontario license plates so the SQ officer had no business stopping him because he crossed the border. This bizarre logic didn’t go very far either. The SQ have jurisdiction as soon as you cross the border no matter where you begin to speed.

The caller then told me that he actually received a second ticket at the same time, and this one bothered him even more than the speeding ticket. It turns out that he has a Québec driver’s license and was driving a car registered to him, but in the province of Ontario. He was given a ticket which he understood to mean that he was being ticketed for driving an Ontario car while being the holder of the Québec drivers license.

As a matter of fact, motorists are legally allowed to drive an Ontario registered car in Québec if they are the holder of a Québec driver’s license. However, the motorist must register their Ontario car in Québec within 90 days of moving to Québec. This may entail a safety inspection, which must be successfully passed. The caller had been living in Québec for over six months.

Upon closer examination of the ticket, we discovered that it was not for failing to register his vehicle within the prescribed 90-day period. In fact, his ticket was for driving an unregistered vehicle. Not only had he not registered his car upon moving to Québec, but he had he never bothered to renew his registration in Ontario either. His reasoning was that there was no reason to pay for Ontario plates when he was no longer living in Ontario!

According to law, any vehicle driven on the roads must be registered somewhere. If not, the vehicle may be seized by the police and the driver given a fine. The police were nice enough not to seize the caller’s car but did give him a well-deserved $400 ticket. I really have no idea why he was so upset.

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