Driving Offences

Understanding License Suspensions and Navigating Reinstatement

Written on behalf of Barrison Law
Car driving on highway at high speed representing license suspensions and navigating reinstatement

If your driver’s license has been suspended, it can be a distressing and overall inconvenient experience, as holding a valid driver’s license may be a necessity for your personal and/or professional life. Whether it is due to accumulating demerit points, a DUI conviction, or a failure to pay fines, a suspended license can disrupt your routines and leave you feeling uncertain about your next steps.

This blog will explore various scenarios that can lead to a license suspension in Ontario and will provide practical assistance to help you determine what to do next, from understanding the reasons behind the suspension to navigating the process of reinstating your license. It will also consider the possible consequences you might face if you are caught driving with a suspended license.

License Suspensions in Ontario

While a license suspension may feel like a setback, it does not have to define your future. With the right knowledge and approach, and help from a trusted criminal defence lawyer, you can navigate the appropriate processes to ensure that your license is reinstated without further issues.

Common Reasons for License Suspension

In Ontario, your license may be suspended for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Medical reasons,
  • Demerit point accumulation,
  • Conviction of a DUI, other driving charge, or court order,
  • Unpaid fines,
  • Escalated sanctions,
  • Administrative suspensions, or
  • Failure to maintain insurance.

However, having a thorough understanding of the reasons behind your license suspension, as well as the reinstatement process, can help set you up for success and regain your driving privileges.

How Long Will My License be Suspended For?

In Ontario, license suspension can be temporary or indefinite, depending on the circumstances surrounding the reason for suspension in the first place. For example, if your license has been suspended due to a dangerous driving charge, your suspension may range between 3 to 30 days and may include vehicle impoundment. However, if you are convicted of a driving-related offence pursuant to the Criminal Code, you may face severe repercussions. A first-time offence can result in a suspension for one year, while a second offence within a 10-year period will result in a three year suspension, and a third conviction within the same 10-year period can result in a lifetime suspension, with reinstatement only available if certain requirements are met. In some cases, additional convictions may result in a driver’s license being suspended permanently with no chance of reinstatement available. As such, it is important to be mindful of these far-reaching consequences which can have devastating effects on employment opportunities, as well as additional personal consequences.

What Happens if I am Caught Driving With a Suspended License?

Driving a vehicle while your driver’s license is suspended is a serious offence in Ontario. If you are caught, you may face substantial fines, an additional suspension, or the possibility of jail time in some cases. In particular, if your license has been suspended in accordance with one of the factors set out under section 53 of the Highway Traffic Act, you may face:

“(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000; and

(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000,

or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.”

Alternatively, if your license was suspended under one of the conditions outlined in section 41 or 42 of the Highway Traffic Act, you may face more serious consequences, such as:

“(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000; and

(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000,

or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. 1997, c. 12, s. 7 (2).”

Further, it is important to note that driving without a license is also treated as a serious offence in the province, and may result in drastic consequences.

Individuals who have a poor driving record may also see their insurance premiums increase, particularly if you have been convicted of high-level offences, as your insurance provider may perceive you as an inherent risk.

Navigating The Reinstatement Process

If your license has been suspended, it is important to note that you must take specific steps to fulfill your obligations before your license will be reinstated, as your license will not be automatically reinstated at the conclusion of your suspension period.

When working towards license reinstatement, it is important to refrain from driving throughout the suspension period as it can result in serious consequences. During the suspension period, it is also important to pay any outstanding fines and administrative fees, such as the reinstatement fee, as your license will not be reinstated if you have any fees outstanding. It is also imperative that you attend any remedial programs or other conditions, such as “Back on Track” for alcohol-related offences. In some cases, you may also be required to apply for your driver’s license again and complete the necessary licensing test. Finally, it is imperative to ensure that you have valid automobile insurance before you begin driving again, otherwise you may face further issues.

Contact the Oshawa Criminal Defence Lawyers at Barrison Law for Advice on Driving Offences and License Suspension

The experienced criminal defence lawyers at Barrison Law regularly help clients navigate the uncertainties of driving offences and license suspension. Understanding the reason behind your license suspension, along with the reinstatement process in Ontario, is crucial to ensure that you get back on the road as quickly as possible and without issue. Our criminal defence team represents clients throughout the Durham Region, including individuals located in Pickering, Whitby, and Ajax. If you have been charged with a driving offence, contact us by phone at 905-404-1947 or reach out to us online to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our lawyers and learn how we can assist you.