New driving impairment laws are in effect

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OTTAWA, ONT – Stricter Laws are now in effect for alcohol-impaired driving offences in Canada.

With Bill C-46 being passed in June and taking effect on December 19th, 2018, these new changes include stricter penalties for impaired drivers and police officers now have the authority to demand breathalyzer tests from any driver they pull over. ‘A reasonable suspicion of impaired’ is no longer required for officers to ask for a breath sample. Drivers that refuse to take a breathalyzer test can be charged.

Maximum penalties for many alcohol-impaired driving offences have increased in their monetary penalties and required prison terms.

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Mandatory minimum fines used to be;

  • $1,000 for the first offence
  • 30 days imprisonment for the second offence
  • 120 days in jail for a third offence.

Penalties now are;

  • First offence, with a blood alcohol content of 80-119 mg – mandatory min. $1,000 fine
  • First offence, with a blood alcohol content of 120-159 mg – mandatory min. $1,500 fine
  • First offence, with a blood alcohol content of 160 mg or more – mandatory min. $2,500 fine
  • First offence, but refuse to be tested – mandatory min. $2,000 fine
  • Second offence – mandatory min. 30 days imprisonment
  • Third or more offence – mandatory min. 120 days imprisonment
  • Maximum penalties for impaired driving causing no bodily harm or death – summary conviction carries two years less a-day imprisonment, indictment carries 10 years imprisonment
  • Maximum penalties for impaired driving causing bodily harm – Summary conviction for less severe injuries carries two years less a-day imprisonment, indictment carries 14 years imprisonment
  • Maximum penalty impaired driving causing death – life imprisonment

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has welcomed the change and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has expressed concern that racial minorities will be disproportionately affected.

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