British Columbia has been in the news recently due to the Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of automatic roadside prohibitions. These instant drivers license suspensions are the penalty if you decide to drink and drive and blow a warn or fail on a breathalyzer.
Wondering how it all works? Here’s what can happen if you’re pulled over at a checkpoint for impaired driving.
You see the lights flashing up ahead
If you’ve been drinking and driving, you’re most likely going to panic if you see the lights indicating there is a checkpoint up ahead. Even one drink can result in warn range violation, but if you refuse to provide a breathalyzer sample when asked, you could receive penalties that are similar to those you’d receive if you were charged with impaired driving.
You can ask for two tests
Thanks to an amendment to British Columbia impaired driving laws in 2012, you’ll be informed you have the right to ask for a second breathalyzer test with a different breathalyzer device. The lower of the two tests will be taken into consideration.
If you blow a fail
Blowing above a .08 on a breathalyzer is considered a fail, and you’ll receive an immediate 90 day drivers license suspension. Your vehicle can also be impounded for 30 days and the costs associated with impounding and fines can reach as high as $1,400. There are also other penalties you could face based on the criminal code of Canada including a mandatory ignition interlock in any vehicle you drive.
If you blow in the warn range
A warn range violation occurs when you register a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 to .08. Even if you blow below the warn range and register .49, you could still receive a 12-hour driving prohibition.
A first warn range offender will receive a 3-day drivers license suspension and have their vehicle impounded for 3 days. They will receive a $200 fine, but that person will also have to pay for towing and storage.
A second warn range offender within a 5-year period will have their license suspended for 7 days and their vehicle impounded for the same length of time. Along with the $300 fine, the driver will pay extra fees for towing and storage.
A third warn range violation means you lose your license and your vehicle for 30 days, and the possibility exists that you’ll be required to participate in British Columbia’s ignition interlock program.
British Columbia really does have some of the harshest impaired driving laws on record, so if you see those lights flashing in the distance and you’ve been driving, it won’t take long for you to realize you’ve made a big mistake.