Ontario’s impaired driving laws have become stricter in recent years. Police can place immediate sanctions on drivers who fail an approved screening device breath test if their breath sample at the roadside shows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 50 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood. Drivers who are “80 or over” on the Intoxilyzer breath tests at the police station or other locations will be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, and they will be facing mandatory minimum fines, licence suspensions, and possible jail time on conviction.

Below, we explain the penalties for impaired driving under the Criminal Code and the Highway Traffic Act. The penalties increase with a second (and subsequent) conviction.

Consequences of Drunk Driving in Ontario

If you are found guilty of impaired driving, the mandatory minimum penalties include:

Along with the consequences of a conviction for impaired driving, 80 or over, or failing or refusing to comply with a breath demand listed above, you could also face the following:

Lengthy Jail Term in Cases Causing Bodily Harm or Death

The Crown may treat a charge of operation while impaired causing bodily harm, 80 or over causing bodily harm, or failure or refusal to provide a breath sample where bodily harm occurred as either a summary or an indictable offence. In addition to mandatory minimum penalties, they could be facing a jail term of up to two years less a day if the Crown elects to proceed summarily. However, the Crown will generally elect by indictment for more serious bodily harm cases, and then an accused could be sentenced to up to 14 years in jail. The maximum prison term for impaired causing death, 80 or over causing death, and failing or refusing to comply with a breath demand where death occurred is a lifetime sentence. Generally, upon a DUI conviction where a death is caused, an accused will be sentenced to many years in the penitentiary.

Criminal Record

The police photograph everyone charged with impaired driving and take their fingerprints. The records go to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with the Canadian Police Information Centre. All police agencies in the country can access the information.

A conviction for a drinking and driving offence means the driver will have a criminal record for the rest of their life.

There may be consequences for someone studying child care, security, medicine, or law at the post-secondary level. A criminal record may disqualify the student from continuing their education or graduating. The same concern exists for those studying accounting or pursuing a diploma or degree involving banking or money.

This information is available to prospective employers if the company asks to perform a background check. Some employers may not be willing to hire someone with a criminal record. It may limit career choices in other ways; employment in government agencies may not be open to someone with a criminal record who has not obtained a criminal record suspension (formerly called a pardon).

A judge can consider an individual’s criminal record when ruling on family law and child custody cases since it speaks to their character. The court may then use this determination when deciding on child custody or visitation matters.

Anyone who wishes to adopt a child or work with disabled children or adults must pass a vulnerable sector search. This designation may be denied because of a criminal record, limiting a person’s plans for their family or volunteer work, or affecting their career plans.

The Canadian government can deport non-citizens if they commit crimes in Canada.

Higher Car Insurance Rates

Drivers with one or more impaired driving convictions face much higher motor vehicle insurance rates.

An insurance company may refuse to continue providing coverage outright or place the driver into a high-risk category, which means paying up to at least $10,000 annually for many years after the conviction.

How an Experienced Impaired Driving Defence Lawyer Can Help

Rather than simply pleading guilty to an impaired driving charge and opening the door to the consequences of a conviction listed above, take the time to consult with an experienced impaired driving defence lawyer. A defence lawyer will review the facts of the case and provide advice about putting up a defence against the charges. There are several ways that defence counsel can defend a client charged with impaired driving, including questioning the accuracy of the breath test.

With so much at stake, it pays to get an expert opinion before deciding to enter a plea in an impaired driving case. Kruse Law Firm can help you avoid a criminal conviction and minimize the consequences of a criminal charge on your life. Contact us today at 1-800-699-0806 to arrange a free meeting and quote.

By Published On: August 16, 2023Last Updated: August 16, 2023Categories: Impaired Driving/DUI

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