Section 320.24(1) of the Criminal Code stipulates that where an offender is convicted of operation while impaired or failure or refusal to comply with demand, they will be subject to a mandatory driving prohibition order upon sentencing. This driving prohibition is separate from any driving suspension issued by the provincial government under local legislation.
What is a Driving Prohibition Order and when is it Imposed?
A driving prohibition order is an order issued by a sentencing court when sentencing an individual for impaired driving or failure or refusal to comply with demand. The order prevents the offender from operating a conveyance of any kind for the period of time set out in the order. Prohibition orders are mandatory when an individual is convicted of impaired driving or failure or refusal to comply with demand.
Sentencing courts may also impose a driving prohibition on a discretionary basis for other offences including impaired driving with low blood drug concentration (s. 320.14(4)) and dangerous operation, operation while impaired causing bodily harm, operation while impaired causing death, failure or refusal to comply with demand with accident resulting in bodily harm or death, any failure to stop after accident offence, any flight from peace officer offence, and any operation while prohibited offence.
How Long does a Driving Prohibition Order Last?
The length of time the prohibition order will remain in place will depend on a number of factors including whether the individual is a first-time offender.
Mandatory Prohibition Orders
Pursuant to section 320.24(2) of the Criminal Code, an individual convicted of an impaired driving or refusal offence for the first time will be subject to a mandatory one year and a maximum of three years’ driving prohibition. An offender convicted of a second offence will be subject to a minimum two years and a maximum of ten years’ driving prohibition to begin after the offender serves their jail sentence. An offender convicted of a third or subsequent offence will be subject to a minimum three year prohibition, to begin once the offender is released from serving their jail sentence.
The court will hear submissions from defence counsel as well as the Crown regarding the length of the prohibition period. They will bring the sentencing courts attention to any aggravating or mitigating factors in the case that would warrant a longer or shorter prohibition period.
Discretionary Prohibition Orders
Pursuant to section 320.14(5) of the Criminal Code, a sentencing court may impose a driving prohibition of any length on an offender who is liable to life in prison for the offence with which they have been charged. If the offender is liable to imprisonment for between five years and life, the sentencing court may impose a driving prohibition of up to ten years. In all other cases, the maximum length of the prohibition order is three years. In all cases, the prohibition will begin after the offender has been released from serving their prison sentence.
What happens if I Breach my Driving Prohibition Order?
An individual who fails to abide by their driving prohibition will be charged with a criminal offence for breaching a court order. If convicted, the offender could face jail time, a fine, or probation and will be prohibited from driving for additional time.