A DUI in Ontario is a serious matter. In fact, the province levies punishments above and beyond the ones imposed by Canada’s criminal code. In fact, a third DUI offence garners a lifetime licence suspension. Ignition interlocks are also mandatory in Ontario. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
Ontario has recognized that licence suspensions on their own are not good protection for society. People tend to drink and drive with or without a driver’s licence. Therefore, Ontario has a program that allows one to restore driving privileges early after a DUI – under certain conditions. An ignition interlock is part of the program.
Should you be arrested for your DUI in Ontario, without other aggravating circumstances, you are at a crossroads.
If you plead guilty and are sentenced within 90 days of being charged, you can opt for Stream 1:
- 3 months’ licence suspension and 9 months ignition interlock installation
If you are sentenced more than 90 days after being charged, or if you go to trial and lose, you must take Stream 2:
- 6 months’ licence suspension and 12 months’ ignition interlock installation
There is also a fine of $1,000.
Of course, neither option is available if you have prior DUI offenses, if you caused injury or death, or if you were suspended or uninsured at the time of the arrest.
The purpose of this program, and indeed of ignition interlocks, is to enable an offender to get his or her life back together more quickly after the arrest. As such, it’s a genuinely rehabilitative measure, rather than a merely punitive one. Provinces that offer an interlock device option are doing a service both for offenders, who are better able to work and get treatment, and the public at large.