Vehicle impoundment from a suspended driver’s licence
Find out how a suspended driver’s licence can get your vehicle towed away and how to prevent it from happening.
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Why your vehicle was impounded
If you are driving with a suspended driver’s licence, a police officer can issue an impoundment notice and your vehicle will be immediately towed away.
This applies to all types of motor vehicles including:
- passenger vehicles
- vehicles that have been rented, leased or provided to you for work
When you lend your vehicle to a friend or family member, make sure the person driving it has a valid driver’s licence.
There are ways to find out if you are not certain:
- check a driver's licence status online for free
- get a driver record (also called an abstract) at a ServiceOntario centre for a fee
Your vehicle can get impounded even if the licence is from another province, state or country but currently suspended in Ontario.
The reason the driver's licence is suspended will determine how long your vehicle will be impounded for:
- Criminal Code convictions such as impaired driving or failing to remain at the scene of a collision: minimum 45 days
- stunt driving or street racing: 14 days
- other Highway Traffic Act offences such as having a blood alcohol concentration at 0.08 or more, or refusing a police officer’s demand for drug or alcohol testing: 7 days
Getting your vehicle back
Check with the police service that impounded your vehicle about how to get your vehicle back since the steps can differ.
If you were the vehicle owner or licence plate holder but not the one driving at the time, the police will notify you directly for 7-day impoundments. The Registrar of Motor Vehicles will notify you directly for 45-day impoundments.
You must pay all towing and storage fees to get your vehicle back at the end of the impoundment period. Contact the towing company about costs.
Appealing an impoundment
You can appeal a vehicle impoundment for a refund of the towing and storage costs if:
- the vehicle was stolen at the time it was impounded
- the driver's licence was not under suspension or not subject to an ignition interlock condition as a result of a Criminal Code conviction
- the vehicle owner/plate holder exercised all reasonable efforts (for example, checking the driver’s record with MTO) to make sure the driver had a valid driver's licence or was not subject to an ignition interlock condition as a result of a Criminal Code conviction
- the loss of the vehicle would result in exceptional hardship
Only Criminal Code suspensions (45-day impoundments) can be appealed, not 7-day impoundments. Visit the Licence Appeal Tribunal website for more information on the appeal process.