If you are convicted of a drinking and driving offence by an Ontario court, you will likely face the following penalties:
1. A criminal conviction and a permanent criminal record.
2. Driver’s license suspension for 1 full year. (Subject to reductions from the interlock program.)
3. A minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence.
4. Potential jail time.
5. Insurance premiums will sky-rocket. The driver’s policy will be surcharged 100% for a minimum of two years. Some people will be required to get insurance from an insurer of last resort in the area of $10,000 per year for several years.
6. Installation of an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device will be in your car for 1 year at your expense. It costs approximately $1,300 per year.
7. Required to take a license reinstatement program. (The Ministry of Transportation’s “Back on Track” program must be completed before license reinstatement.)
8. Travel restrictions. You may be denied entry into the US and other countries.
These penalties are further explained below.
Permanent Criminal Record
The waiting time before someone is eligible for a pardon has increased to 5 years under the Conservative’s recently passed omnibus crime bill, Bill C-10. Pardons have now been renamed “record suspensions” by Bill C-10.
Canadian pardons are not recognized by:
• American border authorities.
• Some provincial legislation, including the rules for calculating driving suspensions for subsequent driving offences under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.
• Criminal Code driving prohibition rules for subsequent offences.
• Criminal Code sections providing for mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat drinking and driving offenders.
A criminal conviction may preclude certain careers like becoming a teacher, a police officer, or a government employee, or make it more difficult. There may be consequences or reporting requirements for many professionals, including under the following legislation:
• Regulated Health Professions Act
• Registered Insurance Brokers Act
• Real Estate and Business Brokers Act
• Professional Engineers Act
• Chiropractic Act
• Veterinarians Act
• Surveyors Act
• Architects Act
• Funeral Directors and Establishments Act
• Social Work and Social Service Work Act
• Private Security and Investigative Services Act
• Early Childhood Educators Act
Mandatory Driving Prohibitions & Potential Jail Time
If you are convicted you will be subject to a mandatory driving prohibition under the Criminal Code. After a conviction your driver’s license will also be suspended under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.
The Criminal Code says that the length of the mandatory driving prohibition for impaired driving or Over 80 are:
• For a first offence, 1 to 3 years (subject to reductions from the interlock program). A jail sentence of 18 months is the maximum penalty if the charge proceeds summarily.
• For a second offence, 2 to 5 years, in addition to any period of jail. The minimum jail term is 90 days.
• For a third offence, 3 years or more, in addition to any period of jail. The minimum jail term is 120 days. The Ministry of Transportation will impose a lifetime driving ban.
If you need more information on drinking and driving, contact Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Brett McGarry today. I would be pleased to help you understand your charges and defences. I offer free half-hour consultations to anybody facing drinking and driving charges in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.