IMPAIRED DRIVING & OVER 80

255 (1) Every one who commits an offence under section 253 or 254 is guilty of an indictable offence or an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable,

  1. whether the offence is prosecuted by indictment or punishable on summary conviction, to the following minimum punishment, namely,
      1. for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000,
      2. for a second offence, to imprisonment for not less than 30 days, and

    for each subsequent offence, to imprisonment for not less than 120 days;

  2. where the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and
  3. if the offence is punishable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months.

Impaired driving causing death

(3) Everyone who commits an offence under paragraph 253(1)(a) and causes the death of another person as a result is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

Impaired driving and driving with blood alcohol level over 80 mg/100 ml of blood (“over 80”) are two separate criminal offences. People have different tolerances to alcohol; some have their abilities impaired below the legal limit. For this reason, the criminal code under s. 253(1) (a)(b) contains a provision for each criminal offence.

Your abilities may be impaired by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both. Impaired driving does not require that your blood concentration exceeds 80 mg/100ml of blood, however the blood alcohol level will be considered by the courts to determine whether your abilities are impaired. Other impairment indicators are bloodshot and glassy eyes, slurred speech, poor driving, inability to walk straight etc.

In Canada, police officers can stop drivers at random, but they must have a suspicion that the driver has been drinking before requiring a roadside breath test. It is also an offence to fail or refuse to comply with a demand to perform tests of physical coordination; to submit to an evaluation to determine drug influence; or to provide a sample of breath, blood, urine or oral fluid for analysis of alcohol and drug content.