Drinking and then driving while impaired by alcohol is a serious criminal offence. This is true regardless of what type of motorized vehicle is being driven. Recently an Ontario man was sentenced to ten years in prison for drinking and driving offences. He also lost his driving privileges for twelve years after his release.
The regulation of impaired driving is not just a criminal matter. The provinces and territories also have authority to take steps to keep the public safe. As a result driving privileges can be suspended regardless of whether or not criminal charges are laid or a conviction follows. This means that driving and driving is regulated by multiple levels of government – and this reflects the dangers to public safety drinking and driving poses.
License suspensions take place in three situations:
A A driver has an elevated blood alcohol level but the blood alcohol level is not high not enough to sound to a criminal offence,
B A police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a drinking and driving offence has occurred, and
C A driver has been found guilty of a criminal drinking and driving offence.
High blood alcohol concentration
If you drive "over 80" you are guilty of a criminal offence. But even at a lower blood alcohol level you can be suffering from an impairment of your driving ability. As a result if you take a a breath test and are "over 50" your licence will be suspended at roadside.
Ontario - Length: 3 days for the first suspension, 7 days for the second suspension, 30 days for the third or subsequent suspension;
Nunavut - Length: 24 hours for the first suspension, 30 days for a subsequent suspension;
Committing an Offence
If a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe a person has committed a criminal drinking and driving offence, that person's driver's license can be suspended at roadside for 90 days. The same suspension applies if the person refuses to comply with a breath demand from a police officer.
Found guilty of a criminal offence
A person's driver's license will be suspended for a lengthy period of time if that person has been found guilty of a criminal drinking and driving offence.
▪ Ontario - 1 year for the first offence, 3 years for the second offence, and indefinitely for the third or subsequent offence.
▪ Nunavut - 1 year for the first offence, 3 years for the second offence, 5 years for the third offence, indefinite for the fourth or subsequent offence. If death is caused, the period is indefinite.
As you can easily see, if you drink and drive you may well lose your driving privileges for a very long time.