Record Suspensions and Driving: What You Need to Know

Here’s some good news: if you’ve been arrested, your driver’s license might not necessarily be suspended. Only certain kinds of offences will result in losing your license. However, that suspension might be permanent, depending on what you’ve done.

When Can Your License Be Suspended?

According to the paralegal firm Traffic Services, there are a number of reasons your license could be suspended. You might have neglected to pay traffic or parking tickets. It might be due to a medical reason. You could have exceeded your limit of demerit points. Or, your license could be suspended due to an alcohol related offence.

How Long Does a Driver’s License Suspension Last?

The length of your driver’s license suspension depends on the offence. Traffic Services notes that the first time you’re caught driving with a suspended license, you’ll receive a mandatory six month suspension above and beyond the original penalty. Driving without insurance might lead to a year long license suspension.

A first time impaired driving offence could lead to a prohibition on getting behind the wheel for a year, and if you’re caught doing it again, you’ll lose your license for three years. Refusing to provide a blood or breath sample can result in criminal charges. The charges are the same for an impaired driving offence, with an automatic one year suspension of your license.

Dangerous driving can also lead to losing your license, temporarily. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, “dangerous driving” is defined as driving over 80 kmh over the speed limit and/or in a fashion that puts other people’s lives in danger. A dangerous driving conviction will lead to an automatic one year suspension. If someone sustains injuries as a result of your dangerous driving, that’s referred to as “dangerous driving causing bodily harm” under the Criminal Code. You can lose your license for a year, and you might be imprisoned.

How Can I Get My License Back?

Each Canadian province or territory has different policy for driver’s license reinstatement. You’ll need to check with your province or territory’s Ministry of Transportation to determine the exact process you need to undergo, as well as the fees you need to pay, in order to get your license back.

Doesn’t a Record Suspension Mean My License is Reinstated?

Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc., a paralegal firm, has some bad news for you on this front: a record suspension does not mean you can drive legally. A record suspension means your criminal offence no longer counts against you. It does not have the power to reinstate driver’s licenses. Also, just because you’ve received a record suspension, your provincial or territorial MTO might not reinstate your license.

Will My License Suspension Affect Obtaining a Record Suspension?

There’s some good news on this count: Canadian Legal Resource Centre explains that if your license was suspended as a result of the offence for which you’re seeking a record suspension, it doesn’t affect the waiting period to receive a record suspension. However, if your license is suspended during the waiting period, your record suspension could be denied.

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