Ontario – Laws & Consequences Surrounding Impaired Driving


see source, Ministry of Transportation

As we come into the festive season in December and January, it is important to recognize that the laws that have evolved in Ontario, respecting drinking and driving, have become much more restrictive.

As a general rule, police dedicate more resources in this period of time to R.I.D.E. and pulling over motor vehicles where it is suspected that the operator of the vehicle may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Suspension of Driver’s Licence 3,7 or 30 days ( BAC from 0.05 to 0.08 )

As of May 1, 2009, Ontario has taken measures to help take more drinking drivers off the roads. Drivers who register a BAC from 0.05 to 0.08 (known as the “warn range”) lose their licence at roadside for 3, 7 or 30 days. Consequences also get tougher for repeat occurrences.

Driver’s Under 21 yrs.& Novice Driver’s (O BAC – no alcohol in blood at all)

As of August 1, 2010, if you are a fully licensed driver who is 21 and under or a novice driver and are caught with any alcohol in your blood, you will receive an immediate 24-hour roadside driver licence suspension and, if convicted, you will face a fine of $60-$500 and a 30-day licence suspension.

Novice drivers of all ages in the Graduated Licensing System (GLS) must also maintain a zero BAC while driving. As of August 1, 2010, if you are a novice driver and are caught with any amount of alcohol in your blood, you will receive an immediate 24-hour roadside driver licence suspension, and if convicted, will face a fine of $60-$500 and will receive a suspension period as per the Novice Driver Escalating Sanction scheme, up to and including cancellation of the novice licence. You will also have to return to the start of GLS.

Vehicle Impoundment (7 day suspension – No Appeal) – 0.08 BAC

Under Ontario’s Vehicle Impoundment Program, drivers who are caught driving while their licence is suspended for a Criminal Code driving conviction will have the vehicle they are driving impounded for a minimum of 45 days.

Effective December 1, 2010, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, or who fail to comply with breath testing, face an immediate seven-day vehicle impoundment at roadside. Also effective December 1, 2010, a seven-day vehicle impoundment applies to drivers who get behind the wheel of a vehicle without an ignition interlock device in violation of such a condition on their licence. There is no ability for the vehicle owner to appeal these seven-day impoundments.

Regardless of whether the vehicle is rented, leased or loaned to a friend or family member, the vehicle will be impounded. The vehicle owner will be liable for all towing and impoundment costs.

Roadside Licence Suspension

Fully-licensed drivers will face immediate roadside licence suspension for:

  • refusing a breath test.
  • registering a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 or more (this means there is 50 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood).

Convicted Impaired Drivers

If you drive impaired, and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is more than 0.08, or you fail or refuse to comply with alcohol or drug testing, you can be convicted under the Criminal Code. Individuals convicted for impaired driving offences face penalties under Canada’s Criminal Code and Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. Upon conviction, consequences include an additional suspension period, alcohol education and treatment programs, Ignition Interlock installation and fines.

Driving-related Criminal Code convictions remain on a driver’s record for at least 10 years.

Individuals who drive while under suspension for a Criminal Code driving offence face stiff fines ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

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