Legal Chronicles

Drinking and driving – DUI

Charge for Driving while under the Influence of Alcohol

Section 320.14 of the Criminal Code 

In the event of an infraction, the driver’s license is immediately suspended for 90 days.

Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol vs. Impaired Capacities

Many people believe that impaired driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood constitute the same offense. 

Thus, a person may have a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit without necessarily having symptoms of driving a vehicle with impaired capacities and vice versa. 

Charge for Impaired Driving 

A offense of impaired driving due to the effect of alcohol or a drug may result from a combination of symptoms such as: erratic driving, unexplained accident, strong odour of alcohol, difficulties in speech, loss of balance, incoherent words, red and glassy eyes. These are simply some examples. Since each case is different and deserves special attention, it is possible that the police may retain other symptoms. 

Since December 18th, 2018, new rules governing driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs or both, have come into force. 

Now, the police no longer need to have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person they intercepted LEGALLY has alcohol or drugs, including cannabis, in their system to demand that they provide a breath sample or require them to undergo movement coordination tests.

In order for a police officer to put a person under arrest for impaired driving, he must have acquired reasonable grounds to believe that the person committed the offense. If this is the case, the person will be arrested and taken to the police station to provide a breath sample for analysis with an approved breathalyser.  

A refusal to comply with these orders continues to be a CRIMINAL OFFENSE and has serious consequences. 

Penalties: Drinking and Driving and Impaired Driving 

Bill C-46 has increased certain minimum fines and maximum penalties.

If you are found guilty of one of these two offenses, you could face: 

– For a first summary offense:

A fine of $1 000 if your blood alcohol level is less than 120 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood; 

A minimum fine of $2 500 if your blood alcohol level is equal to or greater than 120 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood but less than 160 mg; 

A $2 000 fine if your blood alcohol level is equal to 160 mg or more;

– For a second offense:

Minimum imprisonment of thirty (30) days;

– For each subsequent offense, imprisonment for one hundred and twenty (120) days. 

Also, you will be prohibited from driving a motor vehicle in Canada for a minimum period of one (1) year. 

In all cases, pleading guilty to one of these offenses or being convicted after a trial will result in a criminal record. 

However, since December 18th, 2018, under Bill C-46, the period of absolute suspension for the right to obtain a restricted driver’s license in order to drive a vehicle equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device is no longer three months. It is now left to the discretion of the Court. 

In addition, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) will impose administrative penalties on you. For example: an immediate suspension of your driver’s license for a period of 90 days starting from the moment of your arrest. 

In addition, if you are found guilty while your blood alcohol level at the time of your driving exceeds 160 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, your license will be suspended for a period of 3 years. 

Defense against an Offense of Drinking while Driving 

Nevertheless, there are many defenses to these serious accusations and the lawyers at MC2 Lawyers Inc. are specialized in finding the right solution for your situation. 

Call us at 514-990-3430!


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