- Common Defences
Driving While Prohibited (as distinct from Driving While Disqualified, contrary to section 259(4) of the Criminal Code) is an offence under provincial Motor Vehicle Act. As such, it is not a criminal offence, per se, and a conviction does not lead to a criminal record. The consequences, however, are severe. If the prohibition is court-ordered or imposed by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, a conviction on a first offence carries a mandatory minimum fine and a blanket one year’s driving prohibition. It doesn’t matter if you’re a truck driver with five kids; there are no exceptions. In rare cases, the Crown may accept a plea to a lesser offence, but most of the time, the only solution is to go to trial and win.
The most common defence to this charge is a mistake of fact—that you did not know that you were prohibited at the time of driving. And there is no question that the practices of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles lead to frequent misunderstandings on the part of drivers. Other defences to this charge are based upon a sufficiency of evidence, are highly technical and turn upon the ever-changing case law that governs at the time of your trial. We subscribe to numerous periodicals and on-line services specifically for the purpose of keeping us up-to-date in this technical area.
The statement above is not legal advice. It is simply intended to give a very general understanding of this offence and some of the possible issues and defences that might be considered in defending it. For legal advice on Driving While Prohibited, click here.