If you’ve been stopped for drunk driving and you have an upcoming court date for an impaired driving charge in Ontario, you’ll probably have a few questions about what happens next. According to Ontario impaired driving laws, if you’re a first offender you’ll pay fines, lose your driver’s license for a period of one year, and must install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive.
There are a lot of steps to go through and it takes a long time to work through an impaired driving conviction, so you might find yourself wondering whether you should just drive on a suspended license. Unless you were stopped by police, who would really know you were driving anyway? But driving on a suspended license in Ontario is a really bad idea, and here are a few reasons why.
Once you are convicted of impaired driving, you’ll already be required to pay fines. If you are stopped and caught driving while your license is suspended, you’ll have to pay additional fines. Those fines start at $1,000 the first time you’re stopped driving on a suspended license, and you’ll pay up to $5,000 for any subsequent offenses. That’s a real hit to your pocket book.
Although jail time isn’t a penalty for most first time impaired driving offenders in Ontario, if you drive with a suspended license and the court would like to, they can send you to jail for up to six months. If that’s not enough, the court can also add six months to your current driving suspension so it will be even longer before you get your license back.
It might be tempting to ignore your license suspension and drive anyway, but if your Ontario driver’s license is suspended because of an impaired driving conviction, your best bet is to wait out your suspension, take part in Ontario’s ignition interlock program, and focus on driving clean and sober.