Must the Prosecutor Actually Prove the Person Had Knowledge of the Driver’s Licence Suspension or Simply Demonstrate the Person Ought to Have Been Reasonably Aware
Generally, Once the Prosecutor Proves A Driver’s Licence Suspension Was In Effect, the Person Charged Must Then Prove That Due Diligence Was Used In Attempt to Avoid Driving With A Suspended Licence.
A Helpful Guide to Understanding the Burden of Proof In A Driving While Licence Suspended Case
If you are charged with drive while licence suspended, among other types of traffic tickets, DefendCharges.ca may be available to help defend the allegations. To help in such a situation, DefendCharges.ca will review the specific facts of your case and the applicable laws. As a starting point for a 'drive under suspension' case, the law in Ontario, being the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, ("HTA") mandates that every driver in Ontario possess a valid driver’s licence in order to lawfully operate a motor vehicle on a highway. Driving with a suspended licence is a very serious charge whereas those convicted may bear significant penalties including fines from a minimum of one thousand ($1,000) dollars to a maximum of five thousand ($5,000) plus court costs and a twenty-five (25%) percent victim surcharge; and additionally, upon conviction a mandatory legislated six (6) month driver's licence suspension becomes applicable. These potential penalties are specifically stated within section 53 of the HTA which says:
Driving while driver’s licence suspended
53 (1) Every person who drives a motor vehicle or street car on a highway while his or her driver’s licence is suspended under an Act of the Legislature or a regulation made thereunder is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,
(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000; and
(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000,
or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.
(2) Where a person who has previously been convicted of an offence under subsection (1) is convicted of the same offence within five years after the date of the previous conviction, the offence for which he or she is last convicted shall be deemed to be a subsequent offence for the purpose of clause (1) (b).
It is important to note that each further licence suspension must be served consecutively. In other words, a person convicted of two counts of driving while licence suspended will be subject to two (2) licence suspensions, each of which are six months in duration, and therefore, the total period of licence suspension would be 12 months. The consecutive licence suspension provisions are specifically stated within section 53(3) of the HTA which says:
(3) The driver’s licence of a person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) or (1.1) is thereupon suspended for a period of six months in addition to any other period for which the licence is suspended, and consecutively thereto.
Similar to fighting most traffic tickets where the initial burden of proof is upon the prosecution, a review of the evidence disclosed by the prosecution is necessary to determine the strength of the case against the accused person. In some circumstances, flawed evidence, lack of evidence, among other things, will be immediately obvious to a seasoned professional. In other circumstances, a deeper look at will be necessary. To help determine the best strategy, contact DefendCharges.ca to review your options.
While the general rule of, "Innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt", usually puts the onus upon the prosecution to prove that the law was broken, in matters of driving with a suspended licence, it appears that the operator of an automobile may be required to prove more than just an actual lack of awareness that a licence suspension existed and advance a strategic defence such as a due diligence defence in attempt to avoid conviction.
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Quick & Easy Retainer Process
Contact DefendCharges.ca to obtain your free fifteen (15) minute consultation, a legal representative will review your circumstances, and explain your options for defending your matter. Consideration will also be given to your driving record and/or history of any past offence(s), as well as the potential consequences of a conviction.
DefendCharges.ca will obtain a copy of your driver’s licence or other government issued identification, a copy of the charging document(s), and details of the alleged offence(s) as well as any other information that you deem relevant.
DefendCharges.ca will forward a retainer agreement to you wherein the fees for legal services are outlined along with payment arrangement options as well as the nature of our relationship including our obligations to each other.