You are likely reading this article because you were pulled over by a police officer and told that you were driving while prohibited.

Many of our clients in similar circumstances were not even aware that they were not allowed to drive.

Why does this happen? What are the consequences? What are your next steps?


What does driving while prohibited mean?

A prohibition may be issued to you because of a poor driving record, driving under the influence, or for other reasons decided by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

A driving prohibition may be accompanied by a licence suspension, a fine, or even a criminal conviction.

If you drive while you have a driving prohibition, you may be criminally charged with driving while prohibited, which, for a first offence, carries a minimum fine of $500, a 12-month driving prohibition, and possible imprisonment.

Imprisonment is mandatory for a second offence.


How do I know if I have a driving prohibition?

Taking a letter out from a brown envelop.

While some people are aware of their driving prohibitions, many people aren’t. Why does this happen?

It is usually clear whether you are prohibited from driving when a police officer takes away your driver’s license and issues a driving prohibition on the spot.

However, the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles may also issue a driving prohibition to you by serving you with an administrative driving prohibition.

An administrative driving prohibition is a document containing details about the driving prohibition and is usually mailed to your address.

Unfortunately, this document can be mistaken for junk mail or can become lost during transit.


What happens if I drive while prohibited?

  • You will be criminally charged and may be convicted.
  • If you are convicted, you will have a criminal record. If you are not a Canadian citizen, you may face difficulty applying and renewing your visa or permanent residency. You may also face deportation from Canada.
  • A first offence carries a minimum fine of $500, a 12-month driving prohibition, and possible imprisonment.
  • Imprisonment is mandatory for a second offence.


Tips from Specht and Pryer

Here are 5 tips related to driving while prohibited from our lawyers. 

1. When you are pulled over by a police officer, be cooperative. You should provide the police officer with basic information such as your name, address, etc. However, please contact us BEFORE giving information related to driving.

2. If you receive a half-letter-size piece of paper, you are most likely criminally charged. However, you are NOT convicted yet.

3. If you were pulled over by a police officer for driving while prohibited, once you return home, check your mailbox to see if you were previously served an administrative driving prohibition.

4. If you are prohibited from driving, please DO NOT drive!

5. If you were charged with driving while prohibited, please contact us. We will help you understand what you are required to do moving forward and may be able to help you avoid conviction or jail time. Please DO NOT drive!


You are prohibited from driving, but you need to drive.

You may need to send your child to school or require a vehicle for work. However, if you drive while you are prohibited, there will be serious consequences.

We may be able to help you challenge and defend your prohibition charge.


If you are caught Driving while Prohibited in BC, consult with one of our lawyers today.   


SPECHT & PRYER Barristers / Solicitors
Suite 1150 – 789 West Pender Street | Vancouver, BC V6C 1H2
Office:604.681.2500 | Fax: 604.736.0118