One of the most common concerns for individuals charged with a DUI is when they can resume driving. Understanding the timeline and available options is crucial for making informed decisions. Here’s a brief guide on when you can start driving again after a DUI.

Administrative Licence Suspension and Court Date

  • Initial Suspension:
    • Upon being arrested for impaired driving, you face a mandatory ninety-day, Ministry of Transportation (“MTO”) administrative licence suspension.
  • Court Date Determination:
    • You will be given a court date typically three to six weeks from the date of the arrest.

Two Scenarios: Trial or Guilty Plea

Scenario 1: Setting the Matter for Trial

  • Trial Decision:
    • If you  decide to set your matter for trial, your administrative licence suspension will end a long time before your trial takes place. 
  • Trial Timeline:
    • Trials can typically be scheduled approximately eight to fifteen months from the arrest date.
  • Driving Before Trial:
    • After the initial ninety day suspension, you can go to the MTO, pay a reinstatement fee, and reinstate your licence until the trial date.

Scenario 2: Pleading Guilty

  • Guilty Plea:
    • If you decide to plead guilty before the 90-day licence suspension ends, the ninety-day suspension effectively stops on the date of your guilty plea and sentencing.
  • Mandatory Minimum Driving Prohibition:
    • The judge is required to impose at least  a one-year mandatory minimum driving prohibition after you plead guilty. .
  • Stream A Ignition Interlock:
    • The  judge may allow you to apply for Stream A Ignition Interlock, which would allow you to begin driving three months after the date you are sentenced. If the judge allows you to apply for Stream A Ignition Interlock, you will be absolutely prohibited from driving for three months (or for a longer period of time at the judge’s discretion).  Three months is the minimum absolute driving prohibition which judges typically impose. You then can then apply to the MTO for Stream A, and if they approve you for the same, you can start driving with an interlock device installed in your vehicle three months after your sentencing date. 
  • Interlock Period:
    • The interlock device is installed in your car for nine months, allowing you to resume driving.  If the judge prohibited you from driving for longer than one year, you would be required to drive with the interlock device to the end of your prohibition period. 


The timeline for resuming driving after a DUI depends on your legal strategy—whether you choose to go to trial or opt for a guilty plea. Understanding the nuances of these scenarios empowers you to make decisions aligned with your circumstances. Seeking legal advice is crucial to navigate the complexities of DUI charges and their aftermath.

For personalized legal guidance tailored to your specific case, consult with our experienced DUI legal team.

Video Transcription:

A common question that a client asks us, who is charged with a DUI, is when can I start driving again?

What happens when you are arrested for impaired driving is the police is going to give you a ninety day administrative licence suspension right off the bat. So that’s going to happen the day that you are charged and arrested. So you cannot drive for ninety days.

You are going to be given a court date. That court date is going to be typically from three to six weeks down the road. Now what’s going to happen if you hire a lawyer, is the lawyer is going to get a hold of your disclosure and figure out, a) is this case winnable, should we set it for trial ? or b) should we resolve it and try to get the best deal possible.

So let’s pretend you decide to set it for trial. What’s going to happen is that your ninety day suspension is going to end after ninety days obviously, and your trial is going to be anywhere from eight to twelve to fifteen months down the road. So at the end of the ninety days, you are going to be able to go to the MTO, the Ministry of Transportation and get your licence back, pay a penalty if you will, to get your license back, and you are going to be able to drive right up to your trial date which is going to be months and months down the road. So that’s one of the benefits of setting your matter for trial. Of course, if you win your trial, then you are free to go and keep driving. If you lose your trial, then of course, you are facing penalties which I described in another video in terms of the length of the driving suspension.

Now, another situation is where you decide to plead guilty, so let’s just say that you decide to plead guilty shortly after your first appearance, so say five weeks in. What happens then is that your ninety day administrative licence suspension stops and the judge is likely going to sentence you to one-year minimum driving prohibition. But most judges through negotiation with the crown are going to allow you to apply for Stream A ignition interlock, that means then is that you are going to lose your licence for a year, but you are going to apply to the MTO to get your licence back. You can drive with the ignition interlock on, that’s a device you blow into. So your ninety day stops, a one-year suspension starts, through the judge, but after three months from the date you plead guilty, you can put an interlock device in your car, which you are going to have in your car for nine months.

So that’s the short answer of how quickly I could start driving and after you are charged with a DUI.

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