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Impaired driving offences are not uncommon in Canada. According to data gathered by Stats Can in 2019, police services reported a total of 85,673 incidents of impaired driving, the highest number since 2011.

Interestingly, the study mentions that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have led to a decline in impaired driving. From March 2020 to February 2021, a sample of police services reported a 14% decrease in impaired operation of a motor vehicle and a 33% decrease in impaired driving causing death or bodily harm from the previous year.

Suspected Of Driving Under The Influence

If the police have reasonable grounds to suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they may pull you over and have you perform physical coordination tests. After the tests have been completed, and if the officer determines that you are under the influence, you may be requested to provide a breath sample, and possibly be referred to an evaluating officer to determine if there are reasonable grounds to pursue a blood or urine sample.

Definition Of Impaired Driving

The Criminal Code of Canada  prohibits driving while impaired to any degree and defines impaired driving as anyone who; (a) operates a conveyance while the person’s ability to operate it is impaired to any degree by alcohol or a drug or by a combination of alcohol and a drug.

The prohibited blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 80 milligrams or more (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood.

There are two prohibited levels for THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis: 

  • Less serious offence – between 2 nanograms (ng) and 5 ng of THC per ml of blood. 
  • More serious offence – 5 ng of THC or more per ml of blood.

In Canada, driving under the influence (DUI) has been considered a Federal Criminal Offence since 1921.


What Are The Legal Consequences Of Impaired Driving?

Depending on the severity of the offence, the legal consequences for impaired driving can range from a mandatory minimum fine to life in prison. Each province and territory has its own set of suspensions and fines, and outlines the suspension of driver’s licences for impaired driving, rehabilitation programs, as well as zero tolerance for young or novice drivers. Typically, impaired driving cases proceed as a summary offence that can carry a maximum prison sentence of two years, depending on the circumstances. However, if it’s an indictable offence, even a first-time offender can face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.


You Do Not Want To Go To Prison:

Canadian prisons are dangerous. In a single year, force was deployed in prisons more than 2,000 times, and sixty percent of prison staff were subject to physical violence. – John Howard Society

What Happens if You Have a DUI Record?

  • You may lose your job if they decide to do a background check.
  • You may be turned away from a potential employer after failing a background check.
  • You may be turned away at the US border and need to attain a waiver to gain entry. 
  • You may have difficulty getting bonded (insured).

Know Your DUI Rights

If you fail to comply with the roadside sobriety tests without a valid excuse, and the officer had reasonable grounds to pursue breath, blood or urine samples, your non-compliance is considered a criminal offence. However, if it’s later determined that the officer did not have reasonable grounds, the taking of samples may be in violation of Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If you have been charged with any offence and would like to speak to a lawyer about your rights, we also offer a free 30-minute phone consultation to answer all of your questions. Contact us by phone at 613-233-0008 or e-mail at yourteam@armouredsuits.ca to schedule your meeting