Although the laws are pretty straightforward and clear, there can be a lot of confusion surrounding an impaired driving charge in Ontario. For a repeat impaired driving offender, the steps following their arrest are routine. But for a first offender? It can feel like his or her world has been turned upside down.
As the dust settles, the driver is going to want to know what her or she is up against. Here’s a look at life after an impaired driving charge in Ontario:
You’ve driven in the warn range
So you’re stopped for suspected impaired driving and you blew a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below .08. You were probably really relieved. After all, you can’t be charged with impaired driving if your BAC didn’t hit the legal limit of .08, right? Wrong. Some provinces have warn range laws, and Ontario is one of them.
If you’re stopped once with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .05 to .08, you can expect to immediately lose your driver’s license for 3 days and you’ll also have to pay fines up to $150. If you were stopped at a checkpoint, you’ll have to call someone to come and get you because you won’t be able to drive.
If you receive more than one warn range charge, you could lose your license for up 30 days, be required to attend an alcohol treatment program, pay $250 in fines, and must install an ignition interlock device for six months.
If that’s just the penalties for the warn range, can you imagine how harsh the laws are for a first offender?
Let’s start with the good news: unless there are aggravating factors involved in the impaired driving charge, an offender won’t go to jail for a first offense. Aggravating factors may include speeding, having a BAC over. 16, or an offender’s failure to accept responsibility for his or her actions. In these cases a judge will decide whether jail time is required. Impaired driving causing death has it’s own set of penalties, and the sentence is also decided upon by the judge.
If an offender is charged with impaired driving over .08, they’ll have to pay a stiff fine of $1,000. They’ll also have to prepare themselves for installing an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and pay a monthly interlock fee because he or she will be required to drive with one after their driver’s license suspension. The offender may be able to drive during their suspension, but only if he or she qualifies for the Reduced Ignition Interlock Suspension Program.
Life after an impaired driving charge in Ontario is stressful, expensive, and can feel like your world is turned upside down, but it’s simple to avoid receiving warn range penalties or an impaired over .08 charge – just don’t drink and drive.