An Alberta man is facing a $465 fine because there was a crack in his driver’s license.
An Edmonton police officer delivered the ticket and fine to Dave Balay during a routine traffic stop that was so shocking that Balay soon took to social media.
Like any responsible citizen, Balay gave the officer his driver’s license, car registration and insurance card after being pulled over on Feb. 1. The officer said Balay’s car matched the description of one that had been reported as swerving. Balay doesn’t drink and wasn’t worried about what might happen.
But minutes later, Balay got a very nasty surprise.
“He came back, and the younger policeman said he was going to give me a ticket for my driver’s license being mutilated,” Balay told the CBC. “I said, ‘Mutilated? I didn’t even know there was such a thing.’ Then he gave me a ticket for $465.”
Under the current exchange rate, $465 in Canadian currency equals about $357 in U.S. currency. Balay was particularly upset because of the size of the crack.
“Maybe not even quite an inch long,” Balay said.
The driver was so surprised that he didn’t even get angry.
“I think I outright laughed, and said, ‘Seriously? Four-hundred-and-sixty-five bucks for this crack?’ [The officer] said, ‘It’s a mutilated license,” Balay said.
Edmonton Police claim that they actually gave Balay a break. A department press release noted that he could have been charged with careless driving. That offense carries a fine of $543 in Canadian currency and a potential of six demerit points on a license.
Balay’s predicament has gained him a lot of attention. A video he posted on Facebook was shared 7,000 times and attracted 400,000 views.
Balay said he’s not going to pay the fine and hopes the prosecutor will be lenient.
“I don’t have $465,” he said. “I’m on unemployment insurance and I do some part-time substitute teaching, supply teacher. It’s a week’s wage. … Common sense would say I would just go and get a new one and not get charged with anything. I’ll even pay for the cost of replacing the license myself.”
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