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Driving Under Suspension In Ontario – Causes Of Licence Suspension

One of the unfortunate situations in which we frequently see clients, would be after they have been charged with DRIVE UNDER SUSPENSION under section 53 of the Highway Traffic Act.  If convicted, these charges carry very serious consequences including large fines, a mandatory further suspension of driver’s licence for 6 months, and even imprisonment.  Let’s take a look at some of the causes of a suspended licence.

Unpaid Fines

Fines can be issued against a defendant either at roadside by a police officer, or fines may be issued by the court at the end of a trial or as a part of a plea deal.  Fines can range from under $100 and up into the tens of thousands of dollars depending upon the nature of the offence.  Fines issued by the court will generally be given a fixed number of days to be paid.  If contested, fines issued at roadside are due if convicted at court and are given a fixed number of days to be paid.  Alternately, if the ticket is not contested, the fine must be paid within the time specified on the ticket.  Regardless of the size of fine or how it came to be due, failure to pay the fine will generally result in a suspension being applied against the Defendant’s licence.

Family Responsibility Office (FRO)

In ensuring that parents meet their financial obligations, one of the tools that can be applied by the FRO is to suspend a driver’s licence.  Generally, this is triggered by missed support payments.  These suspensions may or may not come without warning.  FRO suspensions can generally be lifted through direct communication with their office in meeting an agreement to address outstanding funds to be paid.

MTO Demerit Point Suspensions

Demerit points are accumulated against your driver’s licence as you are convicted of offences under the Highway Traffic Act.  The first level of response from the MTO is generally a warning letter that you have reached a certain number of demerit points depending on the class of your driver’s licence.  The second level of response is a mandatory interview with an MTO officer to review your driving record and behavior.  At the end of that interview your licence may be suspended, certain conditions may be placed upon your licence, or no action may be taken against your licence at that time.  Failure to attend your MTO interview will generally result in a suspension of your driver’s licence.  The final level of response from the MTO for meeting or exceeding the maximum number of demerit points for your class of driver’s licence is a suspension without an interview.

Novice Driver – Escalated Sanctions

Novice driver’s in Ontario are those with a class 1 or class 2 licence such as a G1 or G2 licence.  These licences are subject to escalated sanctions (penalties in addition to those that a fully licenced driver would incur) under certain circumstances.  One such circumstance would be a novice driver who receives a conviction for any single offence that carries 4 or more demerit points binge subject to escalated sanctions.  First, second, and third violations result in a 30 day licence suspension, 90 licence suspension, and cancellation of driver’s licence respectively.  A fuller list of these grounds for licence suspension can be foundhere .

Court-Ordered Licence Suspensions

The Court can issue a licence suspension against a Defendant if convicted of certain serious offences.  A few examples of Highway Traffic Offences that can result in the court issuing a driver’s licence suspension include Careless Driving, Failing To Remain, Stunt Driving, Speeding at 50 km/h or greater over the posted speed limit, and Driving Under Suspension.  A suspension can also be issued if convicted under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act for driving without insurance.

What to do?

Regardless of how your licence was suspended, it is important to cease driving while your licence is suspended.  Many people decide to ‘risk it’ and drive anyways believing that they won’t be stopped by the police.  Others are simply unaware of how severe the penalties are.  Unfortunately, some will choose to drive simply because they choose to do so out of a disregard for the law.  The police stop suspended drivers on a daily basis and do so through various means.

If you are stopped and charged by the police for Driving Under Suspension, it is important that you gather as much information as possible regarding your rights, potential defences, and legal costs in protecting your various interests.  OTD Legal provides a no-cost, no obligation initial review of cases via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869 and can also be contacted by email via

Make sure to read our next article on the penalties associated with Driving Under Suspension!

Posted under Demerit Points, Speeding, Stunt Driving, Suspended Licence, Traffic Ticket Defence

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