Driving Under Suspension Ontario
Every province, as well as Ontario, is striving to provide safety on its roads. Hence, those drivers who have been convicted in driving offences can have their driving license suspended or even revoked. If you have a temptation to drive under suspension for even something small as unpaid fines you are seriously risking to lose your driving licence for additional 6 months upon first conviction with a minimum $1,000 to $5,000 fine plus or including jail time to be served!
Let’s start with spotting some of the regulatory acts.
So, if you received a summons to court for driving under suspension according to section 53 of the Highway Traffic Act – it means that you were operating a motor vehicle while your driver’s licence has been disqualified or prohibited by court-imposed suspension for unpaid fines, or other offences resulting in specific term prohibiting you from driving as a form of punishment.
As mentioned above, there are administrative driver’s licence suspensions and those that were imposed by a court order specifically restricting you from touching a steering wheel for a specific period of time.
Reasons for License Suspension
The most widespread reasons are the following:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs;
- Suspension due to medical reasons;
- Unpaid penalties;
- Failure to appear for trial;
- Exceeding of demerit points’ limit;
- Careless driving etc.
Penalties For Driving With a Suspended License
Actually, this is a quite “widespread” violation in Canada. There are no demerit points associated with the offence in case of conviction, but insurance companies can use it against you to increase your insurance premium at least 50% for the next 6 years.
As already mentioned above, penalties and consequences are also not so good:
- for the 1st offence you can face a penalty from $1,000 to $5,000;
- and for each repeat case, fine will be from $2,000 to $5,000 or up to 6 months imprisonment; or even both – fine and imprisonment.
What To Do If You’re Charged With Driving Under Suspension?
Police officers can easily scan (with special cameras) and identify vehicle licence plates that belong to drivers whose driver’s licence is currently under suspension.
Hence, if you have been served with a summons to court, the first step is to stop driving under any circumstances and make arrangements to get to the nearest service Ontario office or call the ministry of transportation in Ontario to reinstate your driver’s licence privileges.
Prior to your court date, you are supposed to prepare to answer that your driver’s licence has been reinstated to have an opportunity to resolve your case to another substitute offence that will not have the same consequences when it comes to future insurance premiums or be prepared to conduct a trial.
Because this is a strict liability offence, you will have an opportunity to present an argument as to why it happened that you ended up driving while suspended. Should there be a convincing argument that demonstrates the fact you could not have possibly known that you were suspended which essentially makes the offence innocent you will be acquitted at trial.
Important: when you end up convicted for driving under suspended license it will remain on your record forever, which means subsequent offences will be subject to higher fines and more severe punishment. Driving while under suspension record does not go away after 3 years.
As you can see, the process is quite a time- and effort-consuming, requires experience and good strategy. Thus, it’s better to save your money and time and to contact real professionals.
How to Fight Driver’s License Suspension in Ontario?
Step 1: As mentioned, we recommend to hire a knowledgeable attorney for driving with a suspended license that will be able to find any deficiencies with police officer’s evidence to dismiss the charge or increase your negotiating power to a substitute offence, lower reduced fine or reduced jail sentence. When you hire a paralegal they will advise you of everything they need to get from you before attending your court appearances so you do not have to attend unless your presence is required to provide testimony on the stand.
Step 2: Development of the defence strategy with a lawyer before your court appearance. Penalty for driving with a suspended license in Ontario can be much more complex matter than a regular speeding offence and courts do not treat them lightly as minor offences. Be prepared to demonstrate to the prosecutor that you have already got your driver’s licence reinstated. Bring any documents or letters that have any relevant information to your case. If your documents are in order and your driver’s licence have been reinstated accompanied by proof of paying off your fines, doctor’s notes, etc. it often takes at least 1 to 3 court visits to finalize your case.
Step 3: Show up on the date specified on the summons given to you by a police officer and tell the court you are seeking a trial. A trial will be set for you so that next time you show up to court a police officer will have to attend as the main witness who conducted an investigation. At trial, you must be prepared to ask the police officer and other witnesses questions about any relevant facts pertaining to your driver’s licence suspension that would help you draw answers proving that events in your case might have been different than what police officer is suggesting.
When it comes to fighting driving under suspension penalties you should definitely prepare by researching previously decided cases to understand what evidence courts consider when making a decision after trial has been completed. A well-prepared strategy must be crafted prior to trial to ensure that your questions and arguments used can be applied in your situation.
We strongly advise that you consult with traffic tickets experts about your defence strategy or help you negotiate the best possible deal with the court without sabotaging your chances because you only get one opportunity to defend your rights.
X-COPS already faced a lot of various cases and know exactly how to proceed in a better way. Contact us for assistance with the alleviation of your driving under suspension charge. Even if it’s your 2nd, 5th or even 6th offense driving while suspended – we can handle it!