There are a lot of different terms that are used when referring to drinking and driving. Canada has adopted the blanket term Impaired Driving. Once you’re stopped on suspicion of impaired driving, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test in order to determine your blood alcohol level (BAC).
The legal limit across the country is .08, and if you receive a .08 or higher on your breathalyzer, no matter if you’re driving a car, truck, motorbike, airplane, or boat, you can be charged with a criminal offense. But just because you may not be quite at the .08 level doesn’t mean you can’t be charged with impaired driving.
If you’re simply sitting behind the wheel while intoxicated, you could still potentially be charged by the RCMP if they suspect you’ve driven drunk in the past three hours. Although impaired driving penalties vary according to province, all provinces require a first time impaired driving offender to lose their license for one year.
If you refuse to provide a blood alcohol sample or blow into the breathalyzer, you’ll be charged with “Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample,” and that refusal will net you the same penalties as an impaired driving charge.
Although impaired driving is the official charge, there are a number of other terms used when referring to drinking and driving in Canada:
- DUI: Driving Under the Influence
- OWI: Operating While Impaired
- DWI: Driving While Intoxicated
- DWAI: Driving While Ability Impaired
There’s one thing for sure – no matter what term is used to describe drinking and driving and whether you’re in Alberta or Ontario, it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel after having a drink or two.