Some driving offences may result in licence suspensions, meaning you’re not allowed to drive until you get it reinstated. What causes licence suspensions, and how do you fix this problem? Read on to find out.
What Causes Licence Suspensions in Ontario?
Many things cause licence suspensions in Ontario. The reasons for licence suspensions in Ontario include, but aren’t limited to:
- Driving with alcohol in your blood
- Failing a breath test when asked by an officer
- Driving without insurance
- Not stopping for a police officer when pulled over
- Having too many demerit points on your driving record
- Skipping a demerit point interview
- Committing certain driving violations, like going above the speed limit
Licence suspensions don’t just happen at roadside stops with a police officer. You can also be suspended through a court order or a letter from the Ministry of Transportation.
Is Driving With a Suspended Licence in Ontario Possible?
Driving with a suspended licence in Ontario isn’t possible. The punishments for driving without a licence or with a suspended licence include hefty fines and jail time.
How Long Does a Suspended Licence Stay on Your Record in Ontario?
A licence suspension in Ontario stays on your driving record for at least 10 years. However, if you’re caught driving while under suspension, that violation will stay on your record permanently.
How To Fight a Driving With a Suspended Licence Charge in Ontario
Fortunately, you can fight a charge for driving with a suspended licence if you need your car for work or other important purposes. However, it won’t be easy, so we recommend hiring a knowledgeable traffic lawyer to help fight the charge.
If you can’t hire a lawyer, you can still defend yourself against the charge. Your best bet is to reinstate the licence and prove that you tried avoiding the driving offence but had no other option than driving with a suspended licence. If possible, bring witnesses and evidence that may strengthen your defence.
How to Reinstate a Suspended Licence in Ontario
It’s possible to reinstate a suspended licence to drive again in Ontario. Before reinstating your licence, you must:
- Pay any owed fines
- Complete any court-ordered programs needed to clear your suspension
- Prepare documents proving your suspension has been lifted
Once you’re done with these steps, you can get a new driver’s licence.
Getting a New Driver’s Licence
You can get a new licence at a DriveTest centre or by visiting most Service Ontario locations throughout the province, check your local location to see if they offer this service. You will need to bring valid identification and the reinstatement fee of $281, plus any applicable fees for tests, if required.
Depending on how long your licence was suspended, your test requirements may vary. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do based on your suspension length:
|Suspension duration||Additional tests needed||Notes|
|< 1 year||N/A||N/A|
|1-3 years||Eye test||N/A|
|3-10 years||Written exam, eye test, G1 and G2 road tests||You can do all these tests in succession, provided you pass.|
|> 10 years||All required tests for a new driver||There’s no fast-tracking this process, and you must go through all the mandatory waiting periods.|
If your suspension was caused by dangerous driving, you also need to:
- Pass a driver improvement interview
- Pass a driving re-examination
- Pay any applicable fines and fees
How to Check if Your Licence Is Suspended in Ontario
Check your licence’s validity on Ontario’s official Driver’s Licence Check page to ensure you’re not suspended.
All Ontario drivers are responsible for checking their licence status before driving. Not knowing your licence is invalid won’t work as a defence when asked by officers.
The Bottom Line
Driving with a suspended licence in Ontario can result in hefty fines and jail time, so it’s a bad idea. If you’re planning to drive again after getting your licence suspended, we recommend reinstating your licence first.
As long as you’re not booked for dangerous driving, reinstating a suspended licence isn’t too difficult. The faster you get your suspension cleared, the fewer tests you have to complete to get your licence renewed.