Trouble in Paradise. It seems that despite its idyllic name, the town of Paradise on the Avalon Peninsula is not free of drunk drivers. In the wee hours last Saturday a man managed to damage five vehicles and a house. When arrested, the man refused a breathalyzer and was booked.
The consequences for impaired driving in Newfoundland and Labrador are not exactly hellish. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada gave it a rating of F+ when it compared the efforts of the provinces against drunk driving. Nevertheless, anyone convicted of DUI can look forward to any or all of these consequences:
- Suspension. If you blow in the warning range (a blood alcohol concentration of between .05 and .07), your licence is immediately suspended for 24 hours. If you blow a BAC of .08 or above, you face a licence suspension of between 24 hours and six months, depending on how many offences are on your record.
- Jail. 14 days for a second offence, 90 days for third or greater.
- Fines. A minimum of $600. There can be various other charges for impoundment, towing, and assessment and counseling.
- Ignition interlock. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, is not mandatory in NL, but it can help you retain your driving privileges if they have been suspended.
How many of these will apply in this case? We don’t know the BAC of the driver, but refusing to provide a breath sample to the police in Canada is a criminal offence. It carries the same penalties as a DUI, and results in a criminal record for the offender. Many consider it a bad idea to refuse the test because it limits what the defence can do in court.
The upshot: even in a province not known for being tough on impaired driving, drunk drivers have a hard time when they’re caught. It’s not worth it. If you’ve been drinking and need to get home at three in the morning, call a taxi.
That’s the way we avoid misfortune this side of Paradise.