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Legal Ticket Defense for Driving While License Suspended – Ontario

The ability to drive with a valid Ontario driver’s license is vital to modern life. Driver’s licenses can be suspended for multiple reasons, sometimes even without your immediate knowledge. 

If your license has been suspended and you are stopped by the police, you can be charged with Driving While Under Suspension, a Provincial Offence under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). 

Although not Criminal Code offences, these offences still carry severe penalties if convicted, such as high court fines, potential imprisonment (up to six months of jail time), further suspension of license, as well as having a very large impact on insurance costs. 

If you are found guilty of driving while your license is suspended for criminal conviction, you can face a jail sentence as well as large fines.

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How Can I End Up With A Suspended License in Ontario?

The most common reasons for an Ontario driver’s license to be suspended are:

  • Unpaid court fines
  • A court-ordered driver’s license suspension
  • Administrative driver’s license suspension 
    • Immediate, 90-day suspension if: 
      • Your blood alcohol concentration (B.A.C.) exceeds .08
      • You fail or refuse to give a breath, blood, oral fluid or urine sample when asked by police
      • You fail or refuse to perform physical tests or submit to a drug evaluation when required by police
  • An immediate roadside suspension from police for charges such as Stunt Driving or alcohol-related offences
  • Criminal offence conviction
    • A conviction for any of the following criminal code offences results in a one-year suspension
      • Controlling a vehicle with a BAC of more than 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood (.08)
      • Refusing to submit to a breath test for alcohol
      • Failing or refusing to provide a breath sample for roadside testing
      • Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
      • Dangerous driving
      • Causing death or bodily harm by criminal negligence
      • Failing to stop for police
  • Discretionary Ministry of Transportation (MTO) suspension after an interview
  • Mandatory MTO suspension due to accumulated demerit points 
  • “Escalated sanctions” suspension for novice drivers in the license classes G1, G2, M1, M2
  • Family Responsibility Office (FRO) suspension
  • Medical suspension

What Does the Highway Traffic Act Say About Driving On A Suspended Driver’s Licence?

Driving While Under Suspension falls under section 53 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), which states: 

53 (1) Every person who drives a motor vehicle or street car on a highway while his or her driver’s license is suspended under an Act of the Legislature or a regulation made thereunder is guilty of an offence[…] 

The wording here is very simple: If your driver’s license is suspended, you can’t drive.

What Happens If You Drive Around With A Suspended License?

If you are caught driving around with a suspended license and convicted of the offence, the following three areas of penalties will apply; Court penalties, MTO imposed penalties, and increases to insurance premiums. The court penalties prescribed under the HTA are as follows:

  1. for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000; and
  2. for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000, or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 53 (1); 1997, c. 12, s. 7 (1).

(1.1) Despite subsection (1), every person who drives a motor vehicle or street car on a highway while his or her driver’s license is suspended under section 41 or 42, even if it is under suspension at the same time for any other reason, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,

  1. for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $25,000; and
  2. for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $50,000, or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. 1997, c. 12, s. 7 (2).

It is important to note that these fines are subject to an additional 25% victim fine surcharge. A conviction would also result in an MTO imposed mandatory six-month license suspension. The penalties for Driving While Under Suspension can be summarized as follows:

* Plus the mandatory 25% victim fine surcharge.

If the original license suspension was due to one of the reasons detailed under HTA sections 41 and 42, then the elevated penalties can be summarized as follows:

* Plus the mandatory 25% victim fine surcharge.

A conviction for Driving While Under Suspension would be a permanent record of conviction on your driving history that would be visible to the Prosecutor and used against you should you be charged with a subsequent offence by the police. As the offence carries a mandatory six-month license suspension, no demerit points are applied to your driver’s license for a conviction. However, your insurer may consider you to be “high risk” if convicted, resulting in significantly increased insurance costs. The Highway Traffic Act is constantly evolving, but you can read the full text of the most up-to-date version on the official Ontario website.

What Should I Do If the Police Have Charged Me With Driving On a Suspended License?

If you are charged with driving on a suspended license, your first phone call should be to OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services. Your summons will list an upcoming ‘first appearance’ court date, and you will need to seek out important information to help ensure that you are making informed decisions on how to deal with this serious offence. 

How to Fight Driving with a Suspended License Charges (Ontario)?

A legal misstep or an uninformed decision can result in negative consequences that can impact your life for years to come. Attending court hearings can be a large source of stress and anxiety for most defendants. We can relieve your stress by attending your court appearances for you. We can resolve most matters without you being required to personally attend any court appearances. A licensed paralegal is your voice and your advocate. Our staff are here to help you. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation to assist you. Our office can be reached via our toll-free telephone number 1-866-591-9206, by email at, or by text at 226-240-2480. You can also submit an online request for a consultation.

Have You Been Charged for Driving on A Suspended License In Ontario?

If you’ve been charged for driving with a suspended license in Ontario, contact us as soon as possible. We have experience helping drivers just like you respond to accusations of driving with a suspended license and provide free, confidential consultations. We help drivers throughout Ontario including Kitchener,  Georgetown, London, Windsor and from our home office in Cambridge. Contact us online, call us directly at 1-844-647-6869, or text a copy of your ticket to 226-240-2480.


“I had really wonderful experience with OTD Legal Team they are truly Trustworthy and Responsive. Will definitely recommend to everyone who is in trouble especially for speeding tickets.”


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“Amazing company! I had a pretty serious charge and they had it withdrawn! I can’t thank you enough for your help and talking me through the process, great job.”


“Great company to deal with. Looked after my issue without me being there and saved me a huge amount of money. Highly recommend them. Thanks so much!!!”


“Helped me out HUGE! Totally saved the day when I got wrongfully charged. Highly recommend!!!”

Have You Received A Traffic Citation In Ontario, Quebec, Michigan or New York?

If you’ve recently received a traffic citation in Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, or New York, OTD Ticket Defenders offers a free initial case review to explain your rights under the law. Contact us today to set up a no-cost consultation, or text a picture of your ticket or summons to 226-240-2480 for a fast and free evaluation of your case. We service all areas of Ontario including Kitchener, Cambridge, Georgetown, London and Windsor.


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