Driving Slowly on Roadway Who is a Novice Driver?

A novice driver may be a young driver or a new driver seeking to obtain their driver’s licence and driving privileges for the first time.  The term “novice driver” refers to any person holding a G1, M1, G2 or M2 licence who has not completed Ontario's Graduated Licensing System (GLS).

What is the Graduated Licensing System?

The graduated licensing system is designed to provide new drivers with sufficient time to practice and gain driving experience over time.  Novice drivers are given five (5) years to complete the graduated licensing process and secure their G Licence or M Licence failing which they must restart the graduated licensing process.  The system consists of two stages, Class G1 (Level 1) Novice Driver and Class G2 (Level 2) Novice DriverClass G2 (Level 2) Novice Driver both of which are subject to their own unique driving restrictions. Further, novice drivers are subject novice licence conditions and escalating sanctions.

Have You Been Charged with a Novice Driver Violation?

Novice Drivers’ charged with G1, M1, G2 and M2 violations, among other traffic tickets, face serious penalties under escalating sanctions including licence suspension and possible licence cancellation for repeat offenders.  It is therefore extremely important that all novice drivers consider not only challenging such offences in Court but seek professional legal representation when doing so.  The earlier you secure professional legal representation, the better your chances will be of possibly avoiding a driver’s licence suspension.

Novice Drivers Often Contact DefendCharges upon:

  1. receiving a novice driver violation or other traffic ticket;
  2. receiving a notice of suspension upon paying a ticket, pleading guilty in Court or failing to challenge the ticket with the Court; or
  3. being stopped by police and charged with Driving While Licence Suspended

Have You Recently Been Convicted of A Novice Driver Violation?

Unfortunately, many novice drivers choose to do nothing for whatever reason or pay the fine unaware that such payment would trigger an automatic licence suspension under escalating sanctions.  Depending on the facts or your case, it may be possible to reopen your case or file an appeal against conviction.  It is important that you act quickly to minimize the length of any licence suspension and impact on your daily life.  Upon the conviction having been set aside, your escalating sanctions novice driver licence suspension will be removed and you can then reinstate your driving privileges.

What Restrictions Apply to Class G1 Novice Drivers?

By law, when you have a G1 Licence (level 1), you must not drive alone.  An accompanying driver must sit in the front passenger seat.  This is the only person who can be in the front seat with you while you drive.  You must drive with a fully licensed driver who has:

  • at least four years of driving experience;
  • a blood alcohol level of less than .05 (if this person is twenty-one (21) years of age and under, their blood alcohol level should be zero);
  • the accompanying driver’s licence may have demerit points, but it cannot be suspended;
  • maintain a zero blood alcohol level (no alcohol in your blood);
  • make sure every passenger with you wears a properly working seatbelt;
  • not drive between midnight and 5 a.m.; and
  • not drive on any 400-series highways or high-speed expressways with a speed limit of 80km/hr or more.  (e.g., Highway 401, 404, 407, 409, 410, 412, Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway)

Failure to comply with the above mentioned restrictions may result in your being charged G1 licence violation which upon conviction will result in a G1 licence suspension.

Common G1 Offences and Violations include:

  • G1 Class Driver, Drive Unaccompanied by Qualified Driver
  • G1 Class Driver, Drive at Unlawful Hour
  • G1 Class Driver, Drive on Prohibited Highway

Other Common Novice Driver Violations include:

  • Novice driver fail to surrender licence
  • Novice driver — presence of drug
  • Novice driver — B.A.C. above zero

What Restrictions Apply to Class G2 Novice Drivers?

By law, when you have a G2 Licence  (level 2), you must:

  • Not drive if you have been drinking alcohol.  Your blood alcohol level must be zero
  • Each person in the vehicle must have a working seatbelt

In addition, the following restrictions apply between the hours of midnight to 5:00am to G2 drivers aged nineteen (19) years and under:

  • Within the first six (6) months of receiving your G2 licence, you are allowed to carry only one (1) passenger aged nineteen (19) or under.
  • After six (6) months and prior to obtaining your full G licence or turn twenty (20) years or age, you are allowed to carry up to three (3) passengers aged nineteen (19) or under.

Failure to comply with the above mentioned restrictions may result in your being charged with a G2 licence violation which upon conviction will result in a G2 licence suspension.

Exemptions: The passenger restrictions for G2 drivers aged nineteen (19) and under do not apply if you are accompanied by the fully licensed driver in the front seat, or if the passengers are members of your immediate family (a guardian or those related to you by blood, marriage, common-law relationship or adoption).

What Are Hybrid Offences and How Do They Affect Novice Drivers?

A few examples of a hybrid offences might include distracted driving offences such as “Drive While Display Screen Visible to Driver" contrary to section 78.1  or “Drive Handheld Communication Device” contrary to section 78.1(1) of the Highway Traffic Act R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8.  Novice drivers charged and subsequently convicted  of such hybrid offences are also subject to increased penalties including longer licence suspensions under escalating sanctions.

What Are Escalating Sanctions?

All Ontario drivers face penalties when found guilty of one or more offences under the Highway Traffic Act,  R.S.0. 1990, c. H.8 among other traffic related laws and regulations.  The Ministry of Transportation is the government authority responsible for administering these penalties.  Novice drivers can also face additional penalties known as escalating sanctions.  Escalating sanctions are additional penalties applicable upon the conviction of each similar offence.

How and When Do Escalating Sanctions Apply to Novice Drivers?

Novice drivers are subject to escalating sanctions penalties when any of the following occurrences have taken place within a five (5) year period:

  • Any combination of repeat violations of G1/G2/M1/M2 restrictions.
  • Convictions for individual Highway Traffic Act offences which carry four (4) or more demerit points.  Examples include: Careless Driving and Stunt Driving or Street Racing, Speeding 30km/hr or more over the posted speed limit, among others.
  • A court-ordered licence suspension for HTA convictions that would have otherwise resulted in four (4) or more demerit points.

If you are a novice driver and are convicted of violating any novice condition, an offence that is associated with four (4) or more demerit points or receive a court-ordered suspension for an offence that would have resulted in four (4) or more demerit points, you will receive the appropriate penalty and novice driver escalating sanctions licence suspension.  However, the demerit points will be recorded as zero (0) on your record, and will not be counted towards the accumulated demerit point system (“accumulated demerit points” means the total demerit points in a person's record acquired as a result of offences committed within any period of two (2) years, less any points deducted for that period under this Regulation).

How and When Do Escalating Sanctions Apply to Hybrid Drivers?

Escalating sanctions for hybrid drivers would apply if there is any combination of repeat violations of their novice licence whether G1, G2, M1 or M2 conditions within a five (5) year period.  Hybrid drivers enjoy a unique exemption from escalating sanctions which do not apply in situations where a driver convicted of an offence resulting in four (4) or more demerit points (or received a court-ordered suspension for an offence that would have resulted in four or more demerit points) and has one of the following hybrid licence combinations:

  • A G1 or G2 with a Class M licence; or
  • An M1 or M2 with a Class A, B, C, D, E, F or G licence

Escalating Sanctions Licence Suspension

The penalties which follow a conviction related to novice driver violations will vary depending on whether you have received a traffic ticket for a novice driver violation such Class G1 Driver, Drive Unaccompanied by Qualified Driver or some other offence such as Improper Use of HOV Lane.

In addition to the Court imposing a fine upon conviction, both the conviction and suspension itself will appear on your driving record.  As a result, you will face significantly increased annual automobile insurance premiums over the next three (3) year period.  In addition to these consequences, your novice driver’s licence may be suspended or cancelled as follows:

  • For a first offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 30 days.
  • For a second offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 90 days.
  • For first and second occurrences a mandatory reinstatement fee applies.
  • For a third offence: you will lose your novice licence.  You will need to re-apply for your G1 or M1 licence and restart the graduated licensing process, taking all tests and paying all fees.

*A driver’s licence reinstatement fee must be paid for first and second occurrences which may be paid at any Service Ontario location.

Summary Comment

Upon conviction of an offence triggering a novice driver licence suspension under escalating sanctions, the MTO will mail a Notice of Suspension to your last known registered address.  The notice will advise you the date your suspension will take effect and provide you with instructions on how to properly surrender your licence.  It is important to note that should you fail to surrender your driver's licence  as required, you can lose your licence for up to two (2) years.

For more information, fill out the form below to send a direct inquiry to SPPC and DefendCharges.ca

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