A Quick Guide to the New DUI Law Changes and Penalties in Canada
In an effort to reduce the amount of people driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Canada, the national government introduced new amendments to the federal criminal code in June 2018.
These new amendments were part of Bill C 46, a bill designed to establish much more significant penalties for individuals that chose to operate vehicles on public roadways after they had taken drugs or consumed alcohol. All of these new punishments went into effect in December 2018 and have been in place ever since.
One of the biggest changes made to these national laws, opines dui lawyers north county san diego, is the introduction of a maximum penalty for DUI charges and convictions, increasing the maximum penalty from five years in prison to 10 years in prison – doubling the punishment almost overnight.
Here are some of the other changes that were made as part of this sweeping legislation to institute new DUI penalties across all of Canada.
Implemented New Mandatory Alcohol Screenings
The legislation we highlighted above created a number of new laws that allow police officers throughout Canada (at all levels) to require any individual driver they pull over to take a breathalyzer test.
Police officers in Canada previously were able to request individual drivers to take a breathalyzer test if they had reasonable suspicion that a driver in question was intoxicated, but drivers were able to refuse those tests if no probable cause was put forward.
Now, however, police officers can mandate drivers to take these tests regardless of whether or not they have probable cause – and drivers that refuse to take part in these tests are immediately subject to DIY charges.
Elimination of the “I Just Drank” Defense
Prior to these new amendments being introduced in June 2018 (going into effect December 2018) it was possible for a motorist to tell police officers that they had just recently consumed alcohol and it hadn’t been absorbed into their bloodstream, using this defense at a criminal trial if charges were pursued.
Now, however, the law states that individuals can be charged and convicted of a DUI if they were at or above the legal limit within two hours of getting behind the wheel – before or after they decided to drive.
Significant New DUI Penalties
On top of doubling the maximum imprisonment term for a DUI conviction as we highlighted above there are a number of other new DUI penalties in Canada that individual motorists are going to want to be aware of.
First offenders with a blood alcohol content of between 80 and 119 mg will have to pay a mandatory fine of $1000. First offenders with a BAC of between 120 and 159 mg will face a mandatory financial penalty of $1500. Those that have a BAC of 160 mg or more are going to face a fine of $2500.
Anyone that refuses to take a breathalyzer test when asked to do so by a police officer will have to pay a fine of $2000.
Second time offenders are going to face a mandatory 30 days in jail, and those that have three or more DUI offenses under their belt are going to have to spend 120 days in jail.
Those that drive while under the influence and are involved in motor vehicle accidents that cause no harm or death will face between two years and 10 years in prison, whereas those that have caused bodily harm will spend no less than two years behind bars and up to 14 years in prison.
Anyone that unfortunately takes a life while driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Canada can face up to life in prison.