When you drink and drive in Canada, you’re breaching two sets of laws: the Criminal Code of Canada and the drunk driving laws of whatever province or territory you’re in. As a result, you could well suffer consequences from both Federal and provincial entities. If a breath or blood test registers .08 or more, you’ll be facing some hard-to-beat DUI consequences.
The Criminal Code prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. It also prohibits you from refusing to submit to a breathalyzer. The penalty is a driving prohibition upon conviction that applies Canada-wide.
Each province has its own DUI measures as well. These can include:
- Ignition Interlocks. Many provinces mandate these devices, which keep a car from starting if the driver has been drinking. Some will only remove the devices when certain criteria – a number of months with no failed breath tests – are met.
- Fines. Provinces have their own fines for DUI.
- Licence suspensions. Provinces can mandate suspensions apart from Federal penalties.
- Vehicle impoundment. Some provinces confiscate the vehicles of DUI offenders upon arrest.
Can You Beat DUI Punishments by Moving House?
The question some people ask is whether, say, a person with an ignition interlock in Manitoba can remove it if they move to Québec. Can you beat DUI consequences by moving from province to province?
The answer is always no. The reason is something called the Canadian Driver License Compact. This agreement means that if you are suspended in one province, another province will not grant you a license. Specifically, the Compact is an agreement for all the provinces to share drivers’ record information. So demerit points or a DUI that you rack up in Ontario will show up in Alberta.
In fact, you won’t have much success if you hustle down across the border and try to get a licence there. Most of the US states share drivers’ record information, and that information is also shared with the Canadian provinces.
The provinces got together on this matter because it was in their interest – the public interest – to make sure that offenders cannot evade the consequences of drunk driving. Please keep that in mind the next time you’re debating the pros and cons of calling for a taxi. That DUI could keep you out of action all over Canada and beyond. The way to beat DUI punishments is to be sober behind the wheel. It’s not worth the cost of a taxi ride to lose your ability to navigate the roads of this beautiful country.