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It is an offence under both the Criminal Code of Canada and the provincial Highway Traffic Act to drive with a suspended license. If your license has been suspended, you cannot drive under any circumstance. If you do so, you will face serious consequences- including jail time (whether or not you have a previous conviction or record) and significant financial penalties. Driver’s licences can be suspended for multiple reasons, sometimes even without your immediate knowledge.
If your licence has been suspended and you are stopped by the police, you can be charged with Drive Under Suspension. These offences carry very severe penalties if convicted such as high court fines, imprisonment, further suspension of licence, as well as having a potentially very large impact on insurance costs.
Understanding the difference between a suspended license and a revoked license is important if you find yourself in trouble for certain types of traffic violations. The more severe your violation, the more severe the penalties can be. A suspended license is not the same as a revoked license.
Suspended Driver’s License: A suspended license, for instance, can be either definite or indefinite. A definite suspension has a set end date. Once the date arrives and you have paid all fines, you can get your license reinstated. An indefinite suspension isn’t about a date in the future. It’s about meeting certain demands placed on you. This may be a matter of paying fines, taking certain courses, or having a medical review to make sure you are able to drive safely.
Revoked Driver’s License: While having a suspended license is serious, a revoked license is even more serious because the consequences are more severe. When the DOL revokes a driver’s license, a driver is prohibited from driving for several years and sometimes forever. Because of the serious consequences of a revoked license, a driver is entitled to a hearing. However, a driver must take steps to get a hearing and this must be done quickly. A revoked license is considered null and void by the government, making it permanently unable to be used. If your license is revoked, you can not and will not legally be able to drive.
A province may suspend or revoke a driver’s license for a variety of reasons, depending on the criminal laws of that state. Possible grounds for suspension include:
Additionally, most provinces have traffic violation point systems. For each traffic conviction, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) assesses a certain number of points to the driver’s record. Drivers who accumulate too many points face license suspension.
In some provinces, license suspension can also result from non-driving violations such as failing to pay child support or unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor. And many states allow for suspension on the grounds of a driver’s disability, including visual impairment and epilepsy.
At the time of a first conviction for driving while suspended, the penalties are:
If you are convicted two or more times, the judge will:
While under suspension, an individual is prohibited from operating any motorized vehicle anywhere in Canada. This includes any vehicle that has a gas or electrically powered engine, such as a car, truck, bus, motorcycle, tractor, taxi, trailer, motorcycle, snowmobile, aircraft, vessel, railway, or even heavy equipment or machinery, whether in public or on private property. The court may order you to spend up to six months in jail. Six months will be added to your current suspension as well. If you are found guilty of driving while your licence is suspended for a Criminal Code offence, you can face fines of tens of thousands of dollars and spend time in jail.
Before you can get a new licence, you will need to:
Step 1: Pay any outstanding fines.
Step 2: Complete any court processes/court-ordered programs needed to clear the suspension.
Step 3: Gather any documents that state that the suspension has been lifted (e.g., a Notice of Suspension letter, a medical letter, an affidavit).
Once a suspension is lifted, you can renew your driver’s licence.
Driver’s license suspensions make life almost impossible. Since 86% of canadian drive to work and many jobs require a driver’s license, suspensions often cost people their jobs. Without a driver’s license, people can’t take their children to school, get to the grocery store, or even get the healthcare they need for themselves and their families. And, because 83% of canadian report driving a car multiple times a week, many continue driving. When they do, they risk a criminal conviction, more fines and fees and incarceration.
If you’ve been arrested for driving on a suspended license, the consequences can be a serious criminal offense. Oakville Attorney is an experienced criminal defense lawyer.If you have been charged with driving while suspended, call our offices to speak with a former police officer or licensed paralegal to get immediate advice. Our offices can represent you in traffic court to fight your ticket. Usually we can appear for you so you do not have to appear in court.
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