Drive Disqualified Lawyer

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What is Driving Disqualified?

If you’re convicted of a driving offence, such as impaired drivingdangerous drivingfailure to stop, and over 80, one of the penalties imposed by the Court is the suspension of your driving privileges for a certain period. If you operate a motor vehicle during this prohibition period, or after prohibition but without reinstatement of your driving privileges, you are committing a driving while disqualified criminal offence.

Driving while disqualified is a blatant disregard of Judicial Orders, and, because of that, the Prosecution and Court take the offence very seriously. The charge carries serious consequences, including hefty fines, a criminal record, and incarceration.

Like in any other criminal offence, the prosecution has to prove the case against you in Court. This gives you a chance to fight the charges through an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can help alleviate or avert potential consequences. Therefore, if you are facing a driving while disqualified charge, get in touch with Zamani Law for legal representation.

What The Criminal Code States

As per section 259(4) of the Criminal Code:

  • Everyone who operates a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft or any railway equipment in Canada while disqualified from doing so:
    • is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
    • is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

The Criminal Code goes ahead to define disqualification as follows

  • For the purposes of this section, “disqualification” means
    • a prohibition from operating a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft or any railway equipment ordered pursuant to subsection (1) or (2); or
    • a disqualification or any other form of legal restriction of the right or privilege to operate a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft imposed
      1. in the case of a motor vehicle, under the law of province, or
      2. in the case of a vessel or an aircraft, under an Act of Parliament, in respect of a conviction or discharge under section 736 of any offence referred to in subsection (1) or (2)

As per the Criminal Code, driving disqualified is a serious criminal offence punishable through incarceration. Therefore, it’s advisable to have a skilled attorney handle your case as they can protect you and reach a favourable outcome.

Consequences for Driving While Disqualified

Driving while disqualified is a serious hybrid offence with harsh penalties, mainly due to the breach of a Judge’s direct orders not to drive. As stated earlier, one of the penalties outlined by the Criminal Code is incarceration for up to 2 years for an indictable offence. If the prosecution handles your charge through summary conviction, you may face 30 to 90 days in prison.

Other penalties that you might face include:

  • immediate impoundment of the driven motor vehicle for a minimum of 45 days
  • liability for the cost of the impoundment and towing of the driven motor vehicle
  • an additional one to three-year license suspension if convicted
  • a fine of $5,000 to $25,000 for a first offence (on conviction)
  • a fine of $25,000 to $50,000 for a second and subsequent offence (on conviction)

Apart from the consequences suffered through the Justice System, a charge or a conviction for driving while disqualified affects your automobile insurance in several ways.

  • If you were in an accident, your insurance company might not cover damages to your vehicle and any injuries suffered by other parties involved. In other words, you’ll be personally liable for any damages and injuries incurred.
  • Your insurance rates will increase significantly.
  • You may not be eligible for certain benefits, such as income replacement benefits

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A conviction for driving while disqualified has dire and lasting consequences. Therefore, if you’re facing such an allegation, don’t waste any time. Retain a criminal defence lawyer soonest possible to fight the charges against you. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Fighting Driving While Disqualified Charges

Under Canadian Law, everyone is entitled to a fair judicial process. This gives persons accused of a crime a chance to fight the charges against them through a lawyer and an opportunity to tell their side of the story. A Judge or Jury decides your guilt or innocence based on the case presented by the prosecution and the defence.

When facing driving while disqualified charges, do not be tempted to plead guilty without seeking legal advice. As experienced criminal defence lawyers, we can help you make the right decision based on the strengths and weaknesses of the case against you. We can negotiate with the Crown Attorney and come to a compromise that avoids harsh penalties, such as jail. If your case goes to trial, Zamani Law will mount a vigorous defence to ensure the best possible results.

At Zamani, we have a proven track record of acquiring reduced charges, acquittals, and other favourable outcomes for our clients through robust defence techniques. Therefore, if you are facing driving while disqualified allegations, do not hesitate to contact our Toronto criminal defence lawyers for a free evaluation of your case.

Driving While Suspended Vs Driving Disqualified Charges

Although driving while suspended and driving disqualified charges seem the same, the two are separate criminal charges. Driving while disqualified is a criminal offence punishable under section 259(4) of the Criminal Code. If convicted, you’ll end up with a criminal record. On the other hand, driving while suspended is a charge punishable under section 53 of the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario (provincial law). The province can suspend your license for many offences that are not criminal, including traffic offences.

Keep in mind that even driving while suspended charges under the provincial law still carry severe penalties, including fines, extended license suspension, and jail.

Schedule your free consultation

At Zamani Law, we have extensive experience defending persons facing driving-related charges, including driving while disqualified. Our team of legal experts provides top-notch services and works together to develop viable solutions to your charges. Contact us today for a free assessment of the charges against you and find out how our firm can help.

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The simple answer is yes. In order to prove the charge, the Crown must show that you were attempting to evade the police. In order for that to be true you must be aware of the fact that the police were following you.

The police are not entitled to make “arbitrary stops” on a whim. However, they do have significant powers under the Highway Traffic Act to pull a vehicle over. For example, an officer is entitled to pull some over just to determine if he/she is properly licenced, or to check ownership and insurance even when there has been no traffic violation whatsoever.

If you are not trying to evade the police then you will be fine. If you were attempting to get to the sanctity of your home to avoid the police then you are in conflict with the law.

Speed is not conclusive or necessary. Obviously a high rate of speed would support a finding that the driver was attempting to evade the pursuit. However, any evasive action such as making a number of turns to lose the police will also support a finding of guilt. Off road driving to evade a pursuit is not a defence. The key issue is the “evasion of a pursuit”.

You should contact a lawyer immediately and you should exercise your right to remain silent. Often times the police cannot conclusively identify the driver that got away. See Importance of the Right to Remain Silent above.

FAILING TO STOP WHEN SIGNALED/REQUESTED BY A POLICE OFFICER S. 216(1) HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT

A police officer, in the lawful execution of their duties and responsibilities, may require the driver of a motor vehicle to stop. The driver of a motor vehicle, when signaled or requested to stop by a police officer who is readily identifiable as such, shall immediately come to a safe stop.

PENALTIES FOR A CONVICTION UNDER S. 216(1)

  • Fine of not less than $1,000.00 and not more than $10,000.00 and/or
  • Imprisonment for a term of not more than 6 months
  • Possible probation (not mandatory)
  • 7 demerit  points
  • Possible suspension of drivers licence
  • Insurance rate increase

ESCAPE BY FLIGHT S. 216(3) HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT

If the court makes a finding of guilt under s. 216(1) and is satisfied that on the evidence the accused continued to wilfully evade police after the office gave pursuit the accused will face more serious consequences.

PENALTIES FOR A CONVICTION UNDER S. 216(3)

  • A fine of not less than $5,000.00 and not more than $25,000.00, and
  • Imprisonment of not less than 14 days and not more than 6 months
  • 5 year licence suspension if no death results
  • 10 years licence suspension if a death results from the pursuit
  • Insurance rate increases
Fail to stop for police under the Highway Traffic Act is categorized as a “strict liability”offence.  Therefore if you can satisfy the court that you had a reasonable belief that you were not being pursued by the police then you would be found not guilty. There are other defenses available as well, for example – necessity.

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