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Ontario woman thrown in Georgia jail for having a Canadian licence

Emily Nield was pulled over for speeding and told her Ontario drivers licence was not valid in the U.S

It was the day after April Fool's Day but Emily Nield wanted to make sure her friends knew her Snapchat message was no prank. 

The woman from Kleinburg, Ontario travelled through the U.S. often, having received a masters from a Tennesee University, and never had any issue with her licence. 

Nield told 1310 NEWS' The Rick Gibbons Show that she was caught speeding in Cook County, Georgia on April 2, and when she presented her information, was shocked to hear it wasn't good enough. 

"When the officer saw that I had a Canadian drivers licence, she looked at it for a bit of time and then told me that my licence was not valid. I didn't know why, my licence was not expired, that doesn't happen until 2020," she explained. 

The officer then asked her for her passport, but Nield said that she doesn't always carry it on her while travelling around the U.S. but did have a photo of it on her phone. 

That wasn't acceptable. 

The officer cuffed Nield, searched her and put her in the back of the cruiser, letting her keep her phone. 

That's when Nield used her phone to send the message on Snapchat, telling her friends she needed help and that she was being arrested in Georgia. 

Nield was taken to the police station, fingerprinted and had a mugshot taken in the orange jumpsuit. 

Officers explained that she would have to pay her $880 USD bond in cash if she didn't want to spend until June 12th behind bars. After some pleading, Nield was allowed to use her debit card to pay the bond, which in the end wound up being over $900 USD. 

Within four hours, she was free. 

Nield feels she experienced both the worst and the best sides of the justice system. 

"I had an amazing team help me out," she added. "I had people in Georgia, a friend's father who was a lawyer help me, I had a local state senator come to my aid and even the judge in this county where this all went down, they were tremendous in getting this case dismissed because they knew I was falsely arrested."

Nield said if she had been allowed to contact the consulate, they would have been able to clear it up quickly but instead this error by one officer spiralled out of control. 

Going forward, she said that she will always carry her Canadian passport when travelling around the U.S. to ensure that this doesn't happen again. 

"Even if I have to get one of those dorky money belts and hide it, I will carry my passport with me at all times." 

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