Driving Prohibition vs Suspension

Driving Prohibition vs Suspension

Driving is a privilege that many of us take for granted until it’s suddenly revoked. Individuals may face driving prohibitions or suspensions for traffic violations or other reasons. While these terms might seem interchangeable, they have significant differences and varying implications for those affected. 

In this article, we have discussed driving prohibition versus suspension, along with their consequences in the context of Canadian law.

Is a Driving Prohibition the Same as a Suspension?

Driving prohibition and suspension might appear synonymous but carry distinct meanings and implications. Both imply a temporary or permanent loss of driving privileges.

It entails a complete prohibition on driving for a specified period. It is imposed due to serious traffic offences, criminal convictions, or administrative actions. In some jurisdictions, driving prohibition may be imposed as part of a sentence for offences.

On the other hand, suspension involves revoking driving privileges for a predetermined period. It is generally imposed for less severe traffic violations or administrative reasons. Suspensions are intended to serve to encourage compliance with traffic laws.

Driving While Prohibited Criminal Code Canada

‘Driving While Prohibited’ is a serious crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. According to Section 259, you need to operate a motor vehicle under a court-imposed driving prohibition. This prohibition could have been issued due to prior criminal convictions related to driving offences.

The offence is also considered a hybrid offence. Individuals face significant legal consequences if convicted. The consequences may include fines, imprisonment, and further extensions of their driving prohibition. The severity of the penalties may vary based on factors such as the nature of the underlying offence. It can lead to driving prohibition or any previous convictions.

Common Causes of Driving Prohibition

There are some common causes and factors. Here are those:

Impaired Driving

Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence that can result in a driving prohibition. Whether it’s a first-time offence or a repeat occurrence, impaired driving convictions carry significant penalties.

Dangerous Driving

Reckless behaviour behind the wheel can lead to charges of dangerous driving. Avoid excessive speeding street racing, as they can lead to charges of dangerous driving. Convictions for this offence may result in driving prohibitions.

Criminal Offences Involving Vehicles

Offences involving vehicles are criminal offences. The offences can further lead to driving prohibitions under the Criminal Code.

Common Causes of Suspension

A wide range of factors can lead to a driving prohibition under the Criminal Code of Canada. Here are some of them:

Traffic Violations

Traffic violations like speeding, running red lights, or careless driving can suspend licenses. Provincial licensing authorities may suspend a driver’s license for a specified period.

Administrative Penalties

Some administrative penalties can lead to license suspensions imposed by provincial authorities. You must face administrative penalties if you fail to pay fines or appear in court. 

Medical Conditions

The medically unfit drivers can face license suspensions. The medical conditions may include both physical and mental impairments. 

Consequences of  Driving Prohibition and Suspension 

Both driving prohibition and suspension can have severe consequences. Here are the major consequences:

Legal Penalties

Legal penalties are the most immediate and severe consequences of driving prohibition or suspension. Individuals who violate driving prohibitions may face fines, imprisonment, or both. The penalties may depend on the severity of the offence or any previous convictions.

Insurance Implications

A driving prohibition or suspension can severely affect insurance premiums and coverage. After the prohibition or suspension period, the drivers can continue to face elevated insurance costs.

Employment and Education

A driver’s license is important for educational purposes. Losing the ability to drive can limit job opportunities, hinder career advancement, or disrupt academic pursuits. It becomes challenging for individuals with driving convictions to secure employment in these fields.

Social and Personal Impact

Driving prohibition and suspension can impact an individual’s social and personal life. Dependence on public transportation or alternative modes of transportation may also result in increased travel time and inconvenience. 

Financial Hardships

Driving prohibition or suspension can impose major financial burdens on individuals. The costs are associated with alternative transportation methods, such as public transit, taxis, or ridesharing services. Some individuals may also face legal fees, court fines and other associated costs. 

Emotional Stress and Stigma

Driving prohibition or suspension can also cause emotional stress. The stress of managing legal proceedings, financial hardships, and coping with the stigma associated with driving convictions can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Moreover, some individuals may experience feelings of shame, embarrassment, or isolation.

Is Disqualified the Same as Suspended?

Disqualification and suspension are different. Disqualification refers to a court-ordered prohibition of driving privileges. It occurs as a result of criminal convictions for serious driving offences. Disqualification may also apply to individuals who have repeatedly violated traffic laws or failed to comply with court orders related to driving offences. It is a formal declaration by a court that an individual is ineligible to operate a motor vehicle for a specified period.

On the other hand, suspension refers to the temporary revocation of a driver’s license by provincial authorities for administrative reasons. It may result from many factors, including accumulating demerit points from traffic violations, failing to pay fines, or failing to meet administrative requirements.

Final Words

While driving prohibition and suspension involve the loss of driving privileges, their legal basis causes, and consequences differ. Driving prohibitions result from criminal convictions under the Criminal Code of Canada. 

On the other hand, suspensions are imposed administratively by provincial authorities for traffic violations or other regulatory infractions. 


How long does a driving prohibition or suspension last?

The duration of a driving prohibition or suspension varies depending on factors such as the offence’s severity, prior convictions, and the court’s or licensing authority’s discretion.

How can I regain my driving privileges after a driving prohibition?

Individuals may need to fulfill certain conditions based on the situations and circumstances. You need to complete a rehabilitation program or pay outstanding fines. This should be done before applying for reinstatement of your driving privileges.

Can I drive with a suspended license under certain circumstances?

Driving with a suspended license is illegal unless the licensing authority grants specific exemptions. Violating a suspended license can lead to further legal consequences.

Can I apply for a restricted license during a driving prohibition or suspension?

The individuals may be eligible to apply for a restricted or hardship license. It will allow them to drive under specific conditions, such as for essential travel to work or medical appointments.

What should I do if I receive a notice of suspension?

It is very important to understand the reasons for the suspension and seek legal advice if necessary. To avoid further legal consequences, comply with the terms of the notice and refrain from driving during the prohibition or suspension period.

Can I appeal a driver’s license suspension?

In most cases, individuals can appeal a driver’s license suspension. The appeal process varies depending on the jurisdiction and the reason for the suspension.