Monday, June 18, 2012

G2 License Rules

Naomi (age 17) is very excited that she has just recently passed her G2 driver’s test! Although she was grateful that she had had the opportunity to drive as much as possible with her G1, she thinks it is liberating to finally be able to drive on her own without her Mom or Dad in the passenger’s seat.

Without having her parents in the car, Naomi will finally be able to have the independence to drive to school, to the mall, and to the parties her friends throw every weekend, as long as she is back by the curfew her parents have established for her. Although having her G2 will allow Naomi to have some freedom, she is confused about the restrictions that seem to be in place regarding those who hold a G2 license.

One Friday, Naomi is at a house party her friend Kelly is hosting. Naomi arrives at 10:30 pm and everyone is drinking alcohol. Naomi decides to have one beer. [Please see the JFCY blog for issues related to alcohol. Please also read the newsletter that discusses houseparties. Underage drinking is illegal in Canada, and the age for legally drinking alcohol in Ontario is 19.] 

Just after midnight, Naomi decides she needs to leave to make it home in time for her 12:30 curfew. She decides to drive her friends Laura and James home, who live only a couple streets away from her. As she is driving home, she accidentally drives through a stop sign she hadn’t seen while going 35 kilometres over the speed limit. Much to her dismay, a police car had spotted Naomi’s driving offences and pulls her over.

Naomi is terrified. She has never been stopped by the police, and is afraid that on top of her traffic violations she has also violated the restrictions placed on her G2 license.

Legal Information on G2 licenses:

The legal information deals with the G2 License rules in Ontario. (There are also possible criminal charges but they will not be addressed in this post.)

The G2 License rules come from regulations under the Highway Traffic Act, specifically the Regulation called Driver’s Licenses, which sets out most of the rules regarding G2 licenses.

Alcohol consumption

While driving with a G2 license, a driver of any age is not allowed to consume any alcohol before driving.  Also, all drivers under the age of 21 (regardless of whether they have their full license) are not allowed to consume alcohol before driving.

The penalties for driving with alcohol in your system when under 21 or with a G2 can range from $60 to $500 upon conviction, along with a suspension of up to 30 days for a first offence. As well, there can be a 24 hour road side suspension of a license even before a conviction.

To learn more on drinking and driving under the G2 license. Click here.


Naomi may also be violating the rules on number of passengers allowed while driving with a G2 license. During the day, the number of passengers is limited to the number of working seatbelts. However, at night the rules are more restrictive.

If Naomi has had her G2 license for less than six months and is aged 19 and under, she cannot carry a passenger aged 19 and under between midnight and 5 a.m. After the first six months, G2 drivers aged 19 and under cannot carry more than three passengers aged 19 and under between midnight and 5 a.m.

These restrictions do not apply to a G2 driver aged 19 and under if the G2 driver is accompanied by a G class driver in the front seat, or the passengers are immediate family members.

Since Naomi has violated the rules around passenger numbers she will be subject to a suspension as outlined in the Novice Driver Escalating Sanction Scheme. (see below)

How do you get convicted for a G2-type offence?
G2-type offences are NOT criminal offences.  They are “provincial offences”. If someone is caught committing a G2-type offence they can be charged.  The charging process starts when a person (the defendant) is given a certificate of offence (kind of like a ticket) by a provincial offences officer, which can include a police officer and a municipal offences officer. The details for these proceedings can be found in the Provincial Offences Act. The authority for the application to G2 offences is found in the regulation under the act, Proceedings Commenced by a Certificate of Offence.

Where a provincial offences officer proceeds in this manner, he or she must serve the  certificate of offence on the defendant within 30 days of the alleged offence. The officer must then file the certificate of offence in the court office as soon as possible after service of the office notice or summons. It is open to the defendant to plead in one of three ways: not guilty, guilty “with representations”, or guilty.  If they plead guilty then they would pay the set fine, which is sometimes written onto the ticket. If the person does nothing within 15 days of service of the offence notice, then they are deemed not to dispute the charge and a conviction is registered.

The Novice Driver Sanction Scheme

Effective August 1, 2010, novice or hybrid drivers (drivers that hold a novice license and full license, e.g., G) will be subject to Novice Driver Escalating Sanctions. These sanctions will apply if, within a five year period, you:
  • are convicted of violating any of the graduated licensing conditions;
The Novice Driver Escalating Sanctions are as follows:
  • 30-day licence suspension for the first occurrence;
  • 90-day licence suspension for the second occurrence; and
  • Novice licence cancellation for the third occurrence. Upon a third occurrence, your novice driver’s licence will be cancelled and any time discount earned, time credited or fees paid would be forfeited. You must re-apply to the graduated licensing program by passing a vision and knowledge test and paying all licensing fees. After you pass these tests, you will enter Level One and get a Class G1 licence. You must serve all the Level One and Level Two waiting periods and start as a new driver. You would need to take a beginner driver education course to qualify for a time discount.
To read more on the G2 license restrictions, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

If you are a youth in Ontario and have legal questions about this issue, please contact a lawyer at JFCY at 416-920-1633, or toll-free at 1-866-999-5329.  

Thanks to Inez Leutenegger, a PLE Team volunteer for writing this scenario for this post. Inez is currently a paralegal student. Legal information written by JFCY summer student Jeremy Ozier and JFCY volunteer Sarah Mehta Alexander. Legal information was reviewed by JFCY.

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