If you are caught driving with a suspended license in Ontario, Canada, you will face harsh penalties. In addition to a fine, you may also have to serve time in jail. There are several reasons why your driver’s license may be suspended, and it is important to understand the consequences of driving with a suspended license before you get behind the wheel.
This article will cover the basics of driving with a suspended license in Ontario. We will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic.
What is the Meaning of Suspended License?
A court or the licensing authority may suspend a driver’s license for various reasons, such as accumulation of traffic offence demerit points, drunk driving, dangerous driving, failure to pay fines, or other offences. The periods of suspension vary depending on the offence committed. A court may also cancel a license.
This is a more serious penalty that results in the driver having to reapply for a license after a specified period. Suspension of a license may result in the driver having to retake both the theoretical and practical driving tests before being issued with a new license.
Cancellation of a license means that the driver must reapply for a license as a learner driver and progress through the various license stages before being issued with a full license.
What are the Possible Reasons For a Suspended License?
A suspended license in Ontario can be the result of many different infractions. The most common reasons for a suspended license are:
1. Failing to pay fines: If you have been issued a ticket with fines and do not pay those fines, your license will be automatically suspended.
2. Failing to appear in court: If you have been issued a summons to appear in court and you do not show up, your license will be automatically suspended.
3. Accumulating too many demerit points: If you accumulate too many demerit points within two years, your license will be automatically suspended.
4. Driving while under suspension: If you are caught driving while your license is already suspended, your suspension will be extended, and you may be subject to further penalties.
5. Refusing to provide a breath sample: If you are stopped by the police and asked to provide a breath sample, and you refuse, your license will be automatically suspended.
6. Impaired driving: If you are caught driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, your license will be automatically suspended.
7. Dangerous driving: If you are caught driving in a manner that is considered to be dangerous, your license will be automatically suspended.
8. Fraudulent license: If it is discovered that you have obtained your license through fraud or misrepresentation, your license will be automatically suspended.
9. Physical or mental impairment: If it is determined that you are physically or mentally unable to drive safely, your license may be suspended.
10. Criminal conviction: If you are convicted of a criminal offence, your license may be suspended as part of your sentence.
What are the Penalties for Driving With a Suspended Driver’s License?
The penalties for driving with a suspended licence can vary depending on the reason for the suspension. For example, if your licence is suspended because you have been convicted of impaired driving, you will face more serious penalties than if your licence is simply suspended because you have not paid a traffic ticket.
There are two types of convictions you can face based upon the fact that you were driving with a suspended licence. Those are:
1. Conviction Under Highway Traffic Act
If you are convicted under the Highway Traffic Act, this will be considered a serious offence. The penalties for which might include:
a) If you are a first time offender:
- A fine of $1,000 up to a maximum of $5,000
- A further license suspension of up to 6 months
b) If you are a second time offender:
- A fine of $2,000 up to a maximum of $5,000
- A further license suspension of up to 1 year
c) If it is a subsequent offence:
- A fine of $3,000 up to a maximum of $5,000
- A further license suspension of up to 2 years
2. Conviction Under the Criminal Offences
If you are facing a criminal conviction, this means that the penalties will be more serious. The possible penalties for criminal code offences of driving with a suspended license include:
a) If you are a first time offender:
- A fine ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.
- A jail sentence of no more than 6 months.
b) If you have subsequent offences on your record:
- A fine ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.
- A jail sentence of no more than 1 year
What To Do If You are Charged For Driving With a Suspended Licence?
If you are caught driving with a suspended license in Ontario, you will face some serious consequences. If you are facing these charges, it is important to speak to a qualified legal professional as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.
1. Stop Driving: The first thing you must do is stop driving. If you continue to drive while your license is suspended, you will be charged with a criminal offence. This can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail.
2. Don’t Talk To the Police: The second thing you should do if you are charged with driving with a suspended license is to remain calm and avoid speaking to the police officer until you have had a chance to speak to your lawyer.
3. Contact a Lawyer: The next thing you should do is contact a criminal defence lawyer who specializes in this area of law. They will be able to advise you of your rights and help you navigate the legal system. So, look for legal representation.
4. Gather Documentation: You will need to gather any documentation that is relevant to your case. This can include your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information.
5. Appear in Court: If you are charged with driving with a suspended license, you must appear in court. This is where a judge will hear your case and decide the appropriate punishment.
6. Pay the Fine: If you are found guilty of driving with a suspended license, you will be required to pay a fine. The fine amount will depend on the severity of the offence and your prior driving record.
7. Have Your Licence Reinstated: Once you have paid the fine, you will need to have your license reinstated. This can be done by taking a driving course and passing a road test.
How To Fight Driving Under Suspended Licence Charges?
If you have been charged with driving under a suspended license in Ontario, there are a few things that you can do to try and fight the charges.
- First, you should check to see if your license was actually suspended. You can do this by contacting the Ministry of Transportation or checking online.
- If you find out that your license was not actually suspended, you can provide this information to the court, and the charges may be dropped.
- If your license was suspended, you can still try to fight the charges by arguing that you did not know that your license was suspended. This is often called the “ignorance of the law” defence.
- To succeed with this defence, you must show that you reasonably believed your license was still valid.
- For example, if the Ministry did not tell you of Transportation that your license was suspended, you may be able to argue that you did not know about the suspension.
If you are charged with driving with a suspended license in Ontario, you could face serious penalties, including hefty fines and jail time. If you are facing these charges, it is important to contact a qualified legal professional as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected.
You may also want to consider gathering documentation and appearing in court to fight the charges. However, if you are found guilty, you will likely have to pay a fine and have your license reinstated. Please get in touch with a qualified legal professional for more information on this topic. Thanks for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
What to do if your license has been suspended?
If your license has been suspended, you may need to take additional steps to reinstate it. Depending on the reason for the suspension, you may need to complete a driver’s education course, pay a fine, or have your vehicle inspected.
If your license has been suspended due to DUI/DWI, you will likely need to complete a DUI/DWI education program.
Can driving with a suspended license affect your car insurance?
Yes, driving with a suspended license can affect your car insurance in Ontario. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, your insurance company may refuse to pay out any claims you make, or they may cancel your policy altogether.
This means that you could be left without any financial protection if you are involved in an accident. In addition, you may be subject to higher insurance premiums if your insurer decides to continue insuring you after a suspension.
Can you drive in other provinces if you’re charged for driving with a suspended license in Ontario?
No, you cannot drive in other provinces if you are charged for driving with a suspended license in Ontario. Driving with a suspended license is a criminal offence in all provinces of Canada.
If your license is suspended in one province, it is also suspended in all other provinces. You will need to resolve the issue with your license in Ontario before you can legally drive again.
Is driving with a suspended license a criminal code offence in Ontario?
Yes, driving with a suspended license is a criminal code offence in Ontario. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $50,000 and/or up-to 24 months in jail. If you are convicted of this offence, your license will be automatically suspended for at least 1 year. You will also have a criminal record.
Can you drive any motor vehicle while your licence is suspended?
According to the law, it is illegal to drive any motor vehicle while your license is suspended. If you are caught driving while your license is suspended, you may be subject to several penalties, including a fine, imprisonment, and an extension of your suspension.
Can you drive with a suspended license in an emergency in Ontario?
If your license is suspended, you cannot drive for any reason. This includes driving to work or driving in an emergency. There is one and only way you can drive with a suspended license in Ontario, and that is if you are a part of the ignition interlock device program.
The Ontario Ignition Interlock Program is a voluntary program that allows drivers with a BAC of 0.08% or more but less than 0.20% to keep their license if they agree to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. The device is about the size of a cell phone and is installed by a licensed technician. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath.
Other than that, if you are caught driving with a suspended license, you may be fined, you can no longer enjoy driver’s licence privileges, and you could have your licence suspended for even longer.