What are the best defences to a driving while disqualified charge?

By Last Updated: March 16, 2022

police officer pulling car over

The best defence to your driving while disqualified charge will depend heavily on the unique facts of your case, as well as your personal circumstances and the circumstances of the offence. As we do not list all of the defences available for this particular charge, in order to determine the most effective way to defend your charges please contact one of our criminal defence lawyers.

One effective way of defending your driving while disqualified charge is to argue that you were not properly informed of your driving prohibition. If you are disqualified from driving, section 260(1) of the Criminal Code requires that the order which declares your disqualification is read to you; that a copy of the order is given to you; and that you are informed of the consequences of driving while disqualified. If one or more of the components set out in section 260(1) are not met, you may be able to argue that you did not have the knowledge required to be found guilty of this offence.

It is important to note that there are statutory provisions that will create a presumption that you knew that you had a provincial disqualification, even if the conditions in 260(1) are not met. This is relevant if you receive a provincial suspension alongside a court-ordered suspension under the Criminal Code. Specifically, section 260(4) of the Criminal Code states that in absence of evidence to the contrary, if a notice of disqualification has been mailed to you by the provincial government through registered or certified mail, you will be deemed to have knowledge of the disqualification 5 days after the notice was mailed.

Another effective way to defend a driving while disqualified charge is to argue that you were not actually operating a motor vehicle at the time of the offence. For example, this would be a relevant defence if you had been arrested while getting out of the driver’s seat of a parked car. If you did not drive that vehicle at the time of the alleged offence, and if the police did not see you drive that vehicle, there is likely insufficient proof to establish that you actually operated a motor vehicle while disqualified.

About The Author

Michael Oykhman

Managing Partner

Michael Oykhman is a senior lawyer and founder of Oykhman Criminal Defence, a full-service criminal law firm with central law offices across Western Canada and Ontario.

My professional experience consists of countless court appearances and thousands of successful defences and satisfied clients. Over the last 10 years, I have worked to build a law office where all the lawyers share our collective experience, resources, and passion to help people. Our team approach to legal representation is client–rather than only law–centered. We look for opportunities to add value to our clients through strategic thinking and creative solutions.

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