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An Overview of Driver’s Licence Suspension in Ontario

It is fair to say that no one, with a valid drivers licence, wants to have it be suspended, right? Well, sometimes, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will have no choice but to suspend your licence and the reasons for this can vary. Sometimes it is because we inadvertently committed a traffic violation, or we deliberately did so and other times it is as a result of medical issues and concerns for public safety.

The driver’s licence suspension is imposed either by the MTO or by a court order. Ignoring the suspension and getting caught will cause you more hardship and long-lasting challenges with your licence. Accordingly, it is important that you abide by your driving conditions if you are subjected to any.

Demerit Point System

We are confident that you know what demerit points are. One thing we can all agree on is that demerit points are undesirable and our goal is to avoid them like the plague! So, what does it mean to get a demerit point or several points? Small traffic violations will attract demerit points that will accumulate over time. The more demerit points you get, the more difficulties you will face. How? Well, let’s see: insurance coverage, insurance rates, driver’s licence suspension, driver’s licence revocation, fines and even jail. The take away from all this is to avoid demerit points and to do so, you need to be a more cautious driver and try your best to minimize traffic violations.

Medical Suspension

Medical suspension refers to a suspension for reasons that one’s ability to drive safely is questionable. For instance, the law requires that doctors report the names and addresses of persons aged 16 or older with a condition affecting their safe driving ability. These can include alcohol addictions or drug addictions. While there is doctor-patient confidentiality, doctors are only to report the aforementioned information to the MTO and no one else.

If there are concerns of driving ability resulting from medical conditions, your driver’s licence may be suspended until such time that other medical evidence can demonstrate that the condition does not pose a safety risk to the licensee as well as members of the public.

Administrative Driver’s Licence Suspension (ADLS)

An ADLS suspension essentially takes effect at a roadside or at a police station, after a potential offence has been identified. You will be given a suspension notice by a police officer, indicating that the suspension of your licence takes effect immediately. The police officer will take your licence from you and send it back to the MTO.

This suspension is intended to safeguard the licensee and the public. It is separate from any criminal or provincial charges or prosecution, which may take place later. People often confuse this and after the end of the ADLS, feel that they have served their sentence. That is not how it works. Think of it as a preliminary penalty before your matter or offence is addressed and disposed of.

Alcohol Related ADLS

When a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is in the “Warn Range” (BAC: 0.05 to 0.08), his or her driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of three days for a first suspension, seven days for a second suspension within five years, and 30 days for a third suspension within five years of either of the earlier two interlock requirements and counselling programs may also be required.

If your BAC is more than 0.08 mg/ml, or you fail or refuse to give a breath or blood sample when requested by police, your licence will be suspended immediately for 90 days. A seven-day ADLS may also be imposed where a police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person was, or has been racing or performing stunts.

The Imposition of Discretionary HTA Suspensions by Courts

As mentioned above, there are a number of ways in which your driver’s licence can be suspended, that does not necessarily involve a driving violation. Your driver’s licence may be suspended by court order for the following convictions (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • providing false information:
  • in an application, declaration, affidavit or paper required by the Highway Traffic Act, its Regulations or the Ministry of Transportation.
  • about vehicle liability insurance.
  • failure to insure your vehicle – keep in mind – this comes with a hefty penalty tag of $5,000 or more.
  • for driving offences, such as careless driving or driving 50 km/h or more over the speed limit (s.130, s. 128(15)).

Time of Suspension

Your driver’s licence may be suspended for up to two years based on the specific  circumstances of your case.

If you have any questions about the information in this blog or want to discuss a point we did not cover, then give our office a call. We will speak with you for 30-minutes at no cost. In the meantime, check out our other blogs and continue educating yourself about relevant issues that affect all of us in our daily lives.

Yasmine Al-Zaman

Yasmine’s patience, compassion and understanding allow her to work collaboratively and effectively with her clients. She appreciates the level of fear and confusion most people feel when confronted with the legal system. With that in mind, Yasmine puts her best foot forward to offer quality legal services.

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