Anywhere in Canada one who operates a vehicle including a car, truck, aircraft, snowmobile, or watercraft with a blood alcohol concentration over .08 will be guilty of the crime of impaired driving. Many areas of Canada also opt to include license suspensions and the possibility of vehicle impoundment as part of their impaired driving laws, and that includes the Province of New Brunswick.
New Brunswick impaired driving laws have been tightened up in recent years. As of June 2011, any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the warn range of .05 to .08 will lose their driver’s license for 7 days. If you refuse to provide breath, blood, or urine sample upon request, you’ll have your driver’s license immediately suspended for 90 days.
A first impaired driving offender in New Brunswick will receive the following penalties:
- Loss of your driver’s license for a period of one year
- A minimum of $1,150 in fines
- Enrollment in Auto Control driver’s education program
- Jail time is usually not required for a first offender unless a judge deems it necessary due to factors such as having an high BAC or unsafe driving
Although most provinces in Canada require a mandatory ignition interlock system when you are convicted of impaired driving, New Brunswick doesn’t make this a mandatory requirement.
You can opt into the volunteer ignition interlock program if you’d like to shorten your driver’s license suspension, but you may only do so if the minimum mandatory driving prohibition has passed, all of your fines have been paid, and you’ve completed your Auto Control driver’s education program. For a first offense, you’ll be required to use the ignition interlock system for 9 months.
According to Statistics Canada, New Brunswick’s number of impaired driving incidents have improved since 2008 – that year there an average of 363 incidents per 100,000 people, and by 2011 there were only 295 incidents per 100,000 people. If lawmakers in the province follow the lead of other provincial governments and impose a mandatory ignition interlock requirement, those numbers should drop even more.