Impaired driving is a serious offense in Canada that can lead to severe legal consequences and penalties. It refers to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or any other substance that impairs a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. In this article, we will discuss the legal consequences and penalties of impaired driving in Canada.
Legal Consequences of Impaired Driving
Canada has made amendments to the Criminal Code concerning impaired driving laws due to the legalization of marijuana in the country. The amendments included the penalty regime for impaired driving. The Criminal Code prohibits driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. Impaired driving is a criminal offense in Canada, and if convicted, an individual may face a range of legal consequences. The consequences of impaired driving depend on various factors, such as the level of impairment, prior convictions, and the presence of any aggravating circumstances.
According to the Government of Canada, if a person’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 80 milligrams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, it is against the law.
There are two prohibited levels for THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis. It is a less serious offense if a person has between 2 and 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. It is a more serious offense if a person has 5 or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.
Combination of alcohol and cannabis:
It is against the law to have a blood-alcohol concentration of 50 milligrams or more per 100 milliliters of blood and 2.5 or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood at the same time.
Besides the crime of driving while impaired, there are other offenses for exceeding certain prohibited levels of alcohol, cannabis, or certain drugs in the bloodstream within two hours of driving. The punishment varies from fines to life imprisonment based on the seriousness of the violation.
Driving with any traceable amount of LSD, psilocin (commonly known as “magic mushrooms”), psilocybin, PCP, ketamine, cocaine, 6-mam (a heroin metabolite), or methamphetamine, in your system within two hours of operating a vehicle is also prohibited.
The prohibited level for GHB is 5 milligrams or more per liter of blood, as the human body can naturally generate low amounts of this substance.
First Offense: If an individual is convicted of impaired driving for the first time, they may face a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
Second Offense: If an individual is convicted of impaired driving for the second time, they may face a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
Third Offense: If an individual is convicted of impaired driving for the third time, they may face a minimum jail sentence of 120 days and a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
Refusal to provide a sample when requested is against the law as well. This means that a person who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has refused to provide a sample of their breath, blood, or urine for testing when requested to do so by a police officer.
If an individual commits impaired driving under aggravating circumstances, the legal consequences and penalties may increase. Aggravating circumstances refer to factors that worsen the severity of the offense, such as causing an accident or injury while impaired. If an individual commits impaired driving under aggravating circumstances, they may face a longer driving suspension, higher fines, and longer jail sentences.
For example, if you’re charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm, the penalty can range from a maximum of 2 years imprisonment less a day for summary conviction to a maximum of 14 years imprisonment for indictment. For impaired driving causing death, the penalty can be a maximum of life imprisonment.
Choosing a lawyer during an impaired driving charge can be important for several reasons. Firstly, a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and explain the legal process to you. They can also provide guidance on the potential penalties you may face and help you navigate the court system. Additionally, a highway traffic act lawyer can review the evidence against you and determine if there are any issues with the case that may result in a reduced sentence or dismissal of the charges. Ultimately, having a lawyer on your side can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
In conclusion, impaired driving is a serious offense in Canada, and the penalties for conviction can be severe. It’s important for all drivers to understand the risks and consequences of driving under the influence, and to make responsible choices behind the wheel.Back to blogs