New drivers in Ontario, or older driver’s just getting their first licence, begin as a “novice driver.” Novice drivers begin with class 1 and class 2 licences such as G1, G2, M1, or M2. It is also possible to have a hybrid novice licence such as a GM1 or GM2 licence where part of the class of licence is a full licence, but another section is novice. Both novice driver licences and hybrid-novice licences are subject to additional penalties called ‘escalated sanctions.’ What are these escalated sanctions? Let’s take a look…
NOVICE DRIVER LICENCES
A novice driver has a limited pool of demerit points compared to a full G-class licence. Whereas a full G licence allows up to a maximum of 15 demerit points, a novice licence (G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L or M2-L licence) has the following limits and penalties:
“2 to 5 points:
You will be sent a warning letter.
6 to 8 points:
Your licence could be suspended. You may have to attend an interview to discuss your driving record. At this meeting, you will need to provide reasons why your licence should not be suspended.
If you have to attend an interview, you will get a letter (Notice of Interview) to notify you of the time, date and location of the meeting. If you do not attend, your licence could be suspended.
If your Notice of Interview is dated January 1, 2016 or later, you will be required to pay $50.00 for your demerit point interview. The fee must be paid in person at any Service Ontario Centre. You can pay the fee when you receive the Notice of Interview or within 10 business days of attending the interview. Failure to pay the interview fee will result in the cancellation of your driver’s licence.
9 or more points:
Your licence will be suspended for 60 days.
When your licence is suspended, you will get a letter from the Ministry of Transportation. It will tell you the date your suspension takes effect and that you need to surrender your licence.
If you do not surrender your licence, you can lose your licence for up to two years.”
Given the limited pool of demerit points, novice driver’s need to drive much more carefully with this in mind and may be much more motivated to defend their driving record and demerit points at court should they be charged by the police.
Escalated sanctions are additional penalties placed upon novice drivers in addition to those that a driver with a full licence would be issued upon conviction for an offence. Escalated sanctions are triggered under the following conditions:
“Escalating sanctions for novice drivers would apply if any of the following occurrences have taken place within a five-year period:
- Any combination of repeat violations of G1/G2/M1/M2 restrictions
- Convictions for individual HTA offences carrying four or more demerit points
- Court-ordered licence suspensions for HTA convictions that would have otherwise resulted in four or more demerit points.
Escalating sanctions for hybrid drivers would apply if there is any combination of repeat violations of their novice licence (G1/G2/M1/M2) conditions within a five-year period.”
The exemptions to the application of these additional penalties are as follows:
“Note: Escalating sanctions do not apply in situations where a driver is convicted of an offence resulting in four or more demerit points (or receives a court-ordered suspension for an offence that would have resulted in four or more demerit points) and has one of the following hybrid licence combinations:
(a) A G1 or G2 with a Class M licence
(b) An M1 or M2 with a Class A, B, C, D, E, F or G licence”
Of interesting note, if your escalated sanctions suspension is due to a conviction for an offence that resulted in 4 or more demerit points, the actual demerit points will not be applied against your driver’s licence:
“Note: If you are a novice driver and are convicted of violating any novice condition, an offence that is associated with 4 or more demerit points or receive a court-ordered suspension for an offence that would have resulted in 4 or more demerit points, you will receive the appropriate penalty and novice driver escalating sanction licence suspension. However, the demerit points will be recorded as zero on your record, and will not be counted towards the accumulated demerit point system.”
ESCALATED SANCTIONS PENALTIES
What are the actual additional penalties applied under escalated sanctions? There are two types of penalties that are applied, suspension or cancellation of driver’s licence:
“The penalties under escalating sanctions for novice and hybrid drivers are:
- 30-day licence suspension for the first occurrence
- 90-day licence suspension for the second occurrence
- Licence cancellation and a requirement to re-apply for a G1/M1 after the third occurrence. Any fees paid, credit received for time spent in the program or BDE credit would be forfeited when the licence is cancelled. Please note that in the case of a hybrid driver, only the novice-class licence is cancelled on the third occasion; their full-class licence is maintained.”
For first and second occurrence suspensions, driver’s will also have to pay a licence reinstatement fee before being able to legally drive again.
As well, if you have pre-paid any fees to the MTO, those fees will be forfeitshould your licence be cancelled for a third occurrence:
“If you prepaid any examination fees and are convicted for a third occurrence under escalating sanctions all your pre-paid fees will be lost. You will be required to pay all fees once you re-enter into the GLS program.”
NOVICE DRIVER SUSPENSIONS UNDER ESCALATED SANCTIONS
If you have your licence suspended under escalated sanctions, the important thing is to stop driving immediately. If you are stopped and charged by a police officer who sees that your licence is listed as suspended, you can be charged under section 53 of the Highway Traffic Act for Driver Under Suspension. A first offence for driving with a suspended licence carries a total-payable fine (fine plus the victim fine surcharge and court cost) ranging from $1,250.00 to $6,250.00, a mandatory 6 month suspension of driver’s licence, and possible imprisonment upon conviction. The actual suspension of your licence doesn’t begin to expire until you physically surrender your licence to the Court or MTO:
“Drivers holding G1, G2, M1 or M2 licences must follow the specific rules for their class of licence. If you violate any of the graduated-licensing conditions for your class of licence, your licence will be suspended for 30 days. This suspension takes effect from the time you surrender your licence on or after the date of the suspension. You can lose your licence for up to two years if you fail to hand over your licence.”
Novice drivers have a more limited pool of demerit points and face additional penalties known as escalated sanctions in comparison to drivers with a full licence. These penalties can include the suspension or cancellation of the driver’s licence as well as the forfeiture of fees paid to the MTO. It is important that novice drivers, or those with hybrid licences, avoid placing themselves in a situation that could lead to being stopped and charged by the police for driving contrary to the Highway Traffic Act.
If a novice driver is issued a ticket or summons by the police, there is a much higher need and motivation to contest such charges at court. If you find yourself in this position, OTD Legal Services provide a no-cost, no-obligation review of matters to help provide defendants the basic information they need to make an informed decision. We can also provide a flat-rate cost to cover legal filings and court appearances should you decide to retain our legal services in representing you at court.