Strengthening Impaired Driving Laws: Quick Reference

Note: The following is a general overview of how alcohol-and drug-impaired driving laws would change if Bill C-46 comes into force. For a more detailed explanation of the new legislation, see Strengthening Impaired Driving Laws.

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Drug-impaired driving: Quick reference

Drug-impaired driving: Quick reference – Text version

Proposed drug-impaired driving penalties

  • 2ng to 5ng of THC per 1 ml of blood would result in maximum $1000 fine
  • 5ng or more of THC per 1 ml of blood would result in:
    • Minimum $1000 fine on first offence
    • Mandatory imprisonment for 30 days on second offence
    • Mandatory imprisonment for 120 days on third and subsequent offence
  • 2.5ng or more of THC per 1 ml of blood + 50 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100ml of blood would result in:
    • Minimum $1000 fine on first offence
    • Mandatory imprisonment for 30 days on second offence
    • Mandatory imprisonment for 120 days on third and subsequent offence

Drug testing

  • Current laws:
    • Police cannot test for the presence of drugs at the roadside
    • Police can only require standard field sobriety tests (SFST)
    • Police who believe a person is impaired by a drug can demand a drug evaluation
  • Proposed legislation:
    • Police will be able to test oral fluid if they reasonably suspect a drug is in the driver’s body
    • Police, in addition to SFST can test oral fluid for the presence of drugs
    • Police can demand a blood sample in addition to the drug evaluation

Alcohol impaired driving: Quick reference

Alcohol impaired driving: Quick reference – Text version

Roadside alcohol screening

  • Under the current laws, police officers must suspect that any lawfully stopped driver has alcohol in their body.
  • Under the proposed legislation, police officers can require any lawfully-stopped driver to provide a preliminary breath sample, without suspicion of alcohol.

Alcohol-impaired driving causing no bodily harm or death – mandatory minimum penalties

  • Current laws:
    • A first offence results in a $1000 fine
    • A second offence results in imprisonment for 30 days
    • A third and subsequent offence results in imprisonment for 120 days
  • Proposed legislation:
    • A first offence with blood-alcohol content of 80-119mg would result in a mandatory $1000 fine (no change from current law)
    • A first offence with blood-alcohol content of 120-159mg would result in a mandatory $1500 fine.
    • A first offence with blood-alcohol content of 160mg or more would result in a mandatory $2000 fine
    • Refusal to be tested on a first offence would result in a mandatory $2000 fine
    • A second offence would result in mandatory imprisonment for 30 days (no change from current law)
    • A third and subsequent offence would result in mandatory imprisonment for 120 days (no change from current law)

Alcohol-impaired driving causing no bodily harm or death – maximum sentences

  • Current laws:
    • 18 months on summary conviction
    • Five years on indictment
  • Proposed legislation:
    • Two years less a day on summary conviction
    • Ten years on indictment 

Alcohol-impaired driving causing bodily harm or death – mandatory minimum penalties

  • Current laws:
    • A first offence results in a mandatory $1000 fine
    • A second offence results in mandatory imprisonment for 30 days
    • A third and subsequent offence results in  mandatory imprisonment for 120 days
  • Proposed legislation:
    • There will be no mandatory minimum penalties for drivers convicted of impaired driving involving bodily harm.

Alcohol-impaired driving causing bodily harm – mandatory maximum penalties

  • Current laws:
    • A first offence results in 10 years imprisonment
    • A second offence results in 10 years imprisonment
    • A third and subsequent offence results in 10 years imprisonment
  • Proposed legislation:
    • Two years less a day on summary conviction
    • 14 years on indictment 

Alcohol-impaired driving causing death – maximum penalties

  • Current laws:
    •  Life imprisonment
  • Proposed legislation:
    •  Life imprisonment (no change from current law)

Wait time for provincial ignition interlock program

  • Current laws:
    • The wait time for a first offence is three months
    • The wait time for a second offence is six months
    • The wait times for third and subsequent offences is 12 months
  • Proposed legislation:
    • There would be no wait time for a first offence
    • The wait time for a second offence would be three months
    • The wait time for a third offence would be six months
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