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If your license is suspended this implies that you are not permitted to drive and have been instructed not to operate a vehicle. Driving while suspended is a serious offence, and failing to adhere to this ruling as notable consequences.

If you are charged under the HTA for driving while suspended, you will face imprisonment for up to six months. Furthermore, your license will be automatically suspended for six months. If it is your first or second offence, fines ranging up to $1000 up to $5000 may also result.

Under the criminal code, driving while prohibited has more severe consequences. Fines up to $50,000 will be demanded depending on whether it is a subsequent offence. Imprisonment for up to 1 year and immediate impound  may also ensue.

It is strongly advised that you do not plead guilty to this charge. Instead we suggest hiring a knowledgeable paralegal to help defend your case. With their legal advocacy you can limit your chances of facing any of the consequences ascribed to this charge.

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).

Penalties for Driving Under Suspension

Penalties for Driving while Suspended under Provincial LegislationPenalties*
Impoundment (Roadside)7 days
Discretional Suspension6 months (run with the remaining suspension consecutively)
FineFirst conviction: Between $1,000 and $5,000
Subsequent conviction within 5 years: Between $2,000 and $5,000
ImprisonmentNot 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. There are also other possible general defences.

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