Impaired Driving Penalties

Drinking and driving is a very serious offence, and being charged with impaired driving and/or a related offence can be life altering. Unlike other Highway Traffic Act offences, drinking and driving related offences are criminal offences and, consequently, criminal sanctions are attached to them that can result in a criminal record and even imprisonment. Below is a complete list of penalties associated with any drinking and driving offence (impaired driving, over 80 mg, or refusing to provide a breath sample).

For a first offence

  • A minimum fine of $1,000
  • A minimum 1 year driving prohibition
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year at a cost of approximately $1,500
  • Mandatory attendance of the Back on Track remedial measure program at a cost of $475
  • An administrative monetary penalty of $150

For a second offence

  • Mandatory 3 year driving prohibition
  • Mandatory 30 day jail term
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for three years at your cost of approximately $1,500
  • Mandatory attendance of the Back on Track remedial measure program at a cost of $475
  • An administrative monetary penalty of $150

For a third or subsequent offence

  • Life time suspension of licence
  • 120 day jail term
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for your lifetime at your cost of approximately $1,500
  • Attending the Back on Track remedial measure program at a cost of $475
  • An administrative monetary penalty of $150

Back on Track Program

Anyone who has been convicted of a drinking and driving related offence or has received more than one roadside licence suspension for a blood alcohol level from 0.05 - 0.08 will be required to enroll in the Back on Track remedial measure program at his or her own expense. The cost of this program is $578 plus GST.

Back on Track has three components:

  1. Medical assessment
  2. Education or treatment
  3. Follow-up interview

The medical assessment will determine the existence and/or the extent of your drinking problem and check for any signs of alcoholism.

The educational component of the program focuses on how alcohol and drugs affect drivers and their driving performance. The effects on safety as well as the legal and personal implications of an impaired driving charge are discussed.

The treatment component of the program focuses on taking responsibility for your actions, the consequences of alcohol abuse and preventative measures for the future.

The follow-up interview will take place 6 months after the completion of the education or treatment components of the programs and will assess the success of these components along with different strategies for future prevention.

For your licence to be reinstated, you must successfully complete the Back on Track program before the end of your suspension period. The entire program can take up to 11 months to complete, so impaired drivers should register for the course immediately if convicted.

Ignition Interlock Program

Anyone who has been convicted of a drinking and driving related offence or has received more than one roadside licence suspension for a blood alcohol level from 0.05 - 0.08 three or more times in a five year period will be subject to the Ignition Interlock Program at his or her own cost. Installation alone is approximately $1,500 and the associated inspection and maintenance fees are around $100 per month from the time the device is installed in your car.

The ignition interlock device is essentially an in-car breathalyzer that is connected to the engine and prevents a vehicle from starting if a blood alcohol level of over 0.02 is detected.

Criminal Record

Please be aware, if you are convicted of impaired driving or a related criminal offence, this will lead to a criminal record. A criminal charge will show up on your record for at least 10 years. After the 10 years, you may apply for a pardon, but there is no guarantee you will be granted one and it can take another year or two to obtain. Consequently, it is important that you consult with reputable representatives in dealing with your matter.

A criminal record could impact your life in various ways such as, higher insurance rates, having a negative impact on your employment, and even being denied entry at foreign borders. It is important to seek out professional advice in these matters so you can be assured that your charge is dealt with fully and competently.

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