Area of Law: Criminal Law
Answer Number: 778
Driving while your licence is suspendedRegion: Ontario Answer Number: 778
It is an offence under both the federal Criminal Code and the provincial Highway Traffic Act to drive while your driver’s licence is suspended. Your licence could be suspended by the provincial government’s Registrar of Motor Vehicles or Ministry of Transportation, by the police, or as a result of a criminal conviction.
When can your licence be suspended
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation may suspend your licence for several reasons, including: if you have not paid a fine for a driving offence, if you have accumulated too many demerit points, or if you have been convicted of a criminal driving offence, such as driving while impaired.
You are subject to an immediate 90-day roadside licence suspension for refusing a drug or alcohol test.
Fully licensed drivers who are 21 and under or a novice driver caught with any alcohol in his or her blood, will receive an immediate 24-hour roadside driver licence suspension and, if convicted, will face a fine of between $60-$500 and a minimum 30-day licence suspension.
The police can immediately suspend your licence for three days for registering a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of between 0.05 and 0.08 (50 – 80 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood) for a first occurrence. This is known as the “warn range”. Your licence can be suspended for seven days for a second occurrence and 30 days for a third or subsequent occurrence.
Your licence may also be suspended as a result of a conviction for certain driving offences, such as impaired driving or dangerous driving. In these situations, your driver’s licence is automatically suspended for at least one year. Your licence will be suspended for three years if you are convicted of a second Criminal Code offence. If you are convicted of a third offence, you will get a lifetime suspension from driving with the possibility of a reinstatement after 10 years only if certain requirements are fulfilled. You will be suspended from driving for life with no chance of reinstatement If you are convicted for a fourth time.
Penalties for driving while your licence is suspended
Penalties under the Highway Traffic Act
Highway Traffic Act offences: If you are convicted under the Highway Traffic Act for driving while suspended, there are several penalties you may be given. For example, the first time you drive while your licence is suspended the judge can give you a fine of not less than $1,000 up-to a maximum of $5,000, and six months in prison, or both.
If you are convicted two or more times, the judge will fine you a minimum of $2,000 up-to a maximum of $5,000 and can send you to prison for up-to six months, or both. Also, your licence will be suspended for a further six months.
Criminal Code offences: If the suspension arose because you were convicted of a Criminal Code offence, the penalties under the Highway Traffic Act are much more severe: fines range from $5,000 to $25,000 for a first offence, and from $10,000 to $50,000 for subsequent offences.
Penalties under the Criminal Code
If you are charged under the Criminal Code with driving while disqualified, the maximum jail penalty, as set out in the Code, is up-to five years jail time, with a maximum fine of $5,000, depending on if you were convicted of a summary or an indictable offence.
If you drive while your licence is suspended and you get into an accident, your insurance will probably not cover the cost of the damages, and you may be sued.
The penalties for driving while your licence is suspended are serious. If you have been charged with any criminal offence, contact our preferred criminal law experts:
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