Drinking and Driving
Drinking and Driving is considered a serious offence in Ontario. It also carries with it severe immigration consequences for permanent residents, temporary residents and foreign nationals. Canada continues to implement measures to ensure the public receives the message loud and clear: Don’t Drink & Drive. This is evidenced in the recent changes to DUI laws that became enforced on December 18, 2018.
Despite the hefty penalties in place for impaired driving, people still continue to get caught for impaired driving. A first DUI conviction is treated less severely than a second DUI conviction. This is because a second DUI, in the eyes of the law, reflects a deliberate choice made by the accused. It also demonstrates a potential issue with alcohol dependency. Accordingly, the new laws are meant to serve as both a deterrence and denunciation of impaired driving offences.
Penalties for Multiple Convictions
A second DUI conviction carries with it a minimum sentence of 30-days imprisonment. A third and subsequent offences carries a penalty of a minimum of 120 days imprisonment. If there is bodily harm or death caused by the impaired driving the penalty can be as high as 14 years or life in prison, respectively.
Driving Options for Second DUI Convictions
For those who are facing a second DUI conviction, there are options available to have their licence reinstated sooner than later through the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).
The MTO has put in place is the “Back on Track Remedial Measures Program”, which allows you to get back to driving sooner than your imposed driving prohibition under the Criminal Code. In order to have your licence reinstated through the MTO program, you will be required to install an interlock ignition into your car. You will need to register with an approved interlock service provider to have the device installed.
The New Stream “D”
Under the MTO, there are what is referred to as “Streams” that allow a driving suspension under the Criminal Code to be shortened with the use of an interlock ignition program. These streams were only available to first time offenders until very recently. Now, second time offenders are able to access the streams offered under the MTO, and in particular, Stream “D”. The pre-requisites to qualify for Stream D are slightly different than those for the other streams.
What is Stream “D” and Who Qualifies for it?
A second impaired driving offence carries an automatic 3-year suspension from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Under the Stream D, you can reduce your 3-year driving suspension to a 9-month suspension and begin driving with an interlock ignition installed in your car. The interlock will have to remain in your car for a period of 18 months. This is the length of term that the MTO has decided is appropriate.
How to Qualify for Stream “D”
The impaired driving offence date must have occurred on July 1, 2018 or after. An accused person must plead guilty within 89 days after the offence date; otherwise the Stream D program is not available.
Factors that Disqualify a Person from Accessing Stream “D”
• You were not convicted of an offence where bodily harm or death was caused;
• There cannot be any pre-existing lifetime driving ban;
• There cannot have been any drugs involved in the circumstances of the offence;
• you have not previously been granted a reduction to 10 years of an indefinite licence suspension;
• you were not subject to an ignition interlock licence condition on the date of the offence; or
• you were not convicted of a drive while disqualified offence under subsection 259(4) of the Criminal Code within the 10 years before your alcohol-impaired driving conviction
If you are still unsure about how to benefit from the MTO’s Stream “D” program, or whether it is a good choice for you to make, contact our office for a free consultation to learn about all of your options and explore the best route to take in your case.