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Impaired driving is a serious offence. The law is stringent regarding the consequences of an impaired driving offence, and it is considered a straight indictable offence in some circumstances. While all alcohol impaired driving offences will leave you with a criminal record, those involving bodily harm or death can have even more serious consequences. 

Any subsequent offence following an initial alcohol impaired driving charge will carry a heavier charge. Impaired driving can be considered as dangerous driving causing death, which makes the guilty party liable to imprisonment for a lengthy term. 

In this post, we will take a look at the penalties for impaired driving in Ontario. If you have been a victim of drunk driving causing bodily harm, consulting with a personal injury lawyer is recommended to help you recover any compensation you are entitled to.

What Qualifies As Drunk Driving or Drug Impaired Driving?

Over the last decade, Ontario’s impaired driving laws have become more stringent. Now a peace officer can immediately place sanctions on any driver who fails a breath sample on the side of the road. 

A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 50 mg will have passed the legal limit of alcohol consumption, giving an officer reasonable grounds to charge them. Those who are found to have a BAC of 80 mg or more with an approved screening device can immediately be charged with impaired driving, according to the Criminal Code of Canada. Anyone charged with impaired driving with a BAC of 80+ will face mandatory fines, possible jail time, and a license suspension.

What are the Risks of Driving Impaired?

Operating a motor vehicle while impaired is a very serious offense. While those who repeatedly commit impaired driving may primarily think of the risks as solely being punished, there is more at stake than just facing a sentence. 

Driving impaired puts lives at risk, and can result in grave consequences such as imprisonment and even death. Impaired driving also brings with it an immense financial strain on both individuals and government organizations, lost wages or earnings due to injury or death, and incalculable emotional distress for those involved. It’s important to keep in mind that impaired driving places everyone on the road at great risk.

What are the Consequences of Driving Impaired?

Drunk driving is an offence punishable by fines, jail time, and driving prohibitions. The mandatory minimum penalties for driving while impaired is based solely on whether it is your first, second, third, or further offence. Each level has its own set of consequences defined by the Canada Code. It should be noted that driving impaired and causing bodily harm is considered criminal negligence.

A first offence for alcohol impaired driving carries a minimum one-year driving prohibition, a minimum fine of $1,000 and a possible jail term if bodily harm or death results from the charge.

A second offence will result in a minimum two-year driving prohibition and a minimum penalty of 30 days of imprisonment. To obtain a license again, the Remedial Measures Program must be completed.

A third offence carries at least a three-year driving prohibition and a minimum of 120 days in jail. Depending on the circumstance and judge, a lifetime suspension (with the option to review the suspension after ten years) may be considered. Any further offence will result in a lifetime license suspension as part of the Highway Traffic Act and at least 120 days in jail.

In addition to the criminal offence, impaired driving can impact the rest of your life. Any type of offence committed can lead to loss of employment and potential problems for the rest of your life. Refusing to give a breath sample or oral fluid sample will also result in an impaired driving charge and leave you open to similar criminal code penalties.

What are the Consequences of Impaired Driving Causing Death or Bodily Harm?

When death ensues following an impaired driving incident, the charges change and become more severe. A different mandatory sentence is imposed in criminal court, and the driver may become liable in civil court if the victim’s family sues them for wrongful death. In this case, the victim’s family should seek help from an experienced car accident lawyer.

After bodily harm or death ensues, the Crown will immediately treat the charge as an indictable offence or a summary offence. If the Crown elects to follow a summary charge, the automatic jail term will automatically be set at up to two years. In severe cases, the Crown will indict on more serious charges than just drunk driving, where the offender could face up to 14 years in jail. A lifetime sentence is considered the maximum prison term. Refusing a breath demand will not help the offender avoid these charges if there is reasonable suspicion they consumed alcohol.

DWA LAW – Trusted Personal Injury Lawyers

When you have suffered injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence, it can be difficult to navigate the legal system. DWA LAW understands this, which is why they are here to provide a personal service and guide you through the process of obtaining justice. As leading personal injury and motorcycle accident lawyers, our team will fight to get you the full compensation that you are entitled to by law. 

If you have been the unfortunate victim of an impaired driving accident, DWA LAW is here to help. Our legal team is dedicated to understanding your unique case, providing clear guidance and advice at every step of the process. We understand this can be a challenging situation to deal with, and so we are committed to taking the time and effort needed to ensure your rights and interests are being looked after properly. If you need assistance as the victim, or family of a victim, in impaired driving matters, don’t hesitate – contact DWA LAW  today.

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