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If you have been charged with driving with a suspended licence in Ontario under a provincial act or regulation, effective on December 1, 2010, your vehicle will be impounded immediately for seven days. Upon conviction, you will be subject to a further suspension for a period of six months under the Highway Traffic Act. You may also be liable for a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 for the first offence, or a fine between $2,000 and $5,000 for any subsequent offence within five years. There is a possibility of imprisonment for a term of not more than six months in addition to the fine. In court, you may also face a possible penalty of vehicle impoundment up to three months (s.220).

The following table is a further explanation about the penalties:

Penalties *
Impoundment (Roadside) Discretional Suspension Fine Imprisonment
Driving while Suspended under Provincial Legislation 7 days 6 months (run with the remaining suspension consecutively) First conviction: Between $1,000 and $5,000

Subsequent conviction within 5 years: Between $2,000 and $5,000

Not more than 6 months
* On conviction, the penalty can be subject to both fine and imprisonment and a discretionary vehicle impoundment up to three months.

The conviction will be kept on record for at least five years. Your insurance premiums will be increased for several years and you might even be disqualified from your existing insurance coverage. For information about how traffic tickets impact your insurance, please refer to the section “Insurance Premiums”.

It is always recommended that you fight the charge. Driving under suspension is a strict liability offence. Due diligence is available as a defence. Although ignorance of the law is not an excuse and, in this case, not being aware of the suspension does not always constitute a defence, an officially induced error might be relevant in mitigation of sentence. There are also other defences available on a case-by-case basis. For other possible general defences, please refer to the section “General Defences for Traffic Tickets”.

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