If you have been found guilty of an impaired driving offence in Cobourg, you may be stressed as your driver’s licence is now under a 12-month suspension. But did you know that participating in the MTO’s ‘Back on Track’ program can get you back on the roads as little as 90 days after your conviction?
Ontario’s Back on Track program allows first time impaired driving offenders the opportunity to get back on the roads much faster after their first DUI charge. The government realizes that many people rely heavily on their vehicles for work and transportation, and as such, offer this program as an alternative to a full year licence suspension. The Back on Track program consists of a remedial 2 – day in-class training course, as well as participation in an extended ignition interlock program. The time period in which your licence is suspended and how long you will be enrolled in the interlock program will depend on the ‘program stream’ you are placed into.
Stream A is the shortest suspension period available to drivers, with a mandatory suspension of 3 months upon conviction, followed by an ignition interlock period of 9 months. This is a significant improvement from the standard 1-year suspension and full year of interlock if the program was not completed whatsoever. To become eligible for this program you must meet several specific requirements…
- Must have plead guilty to the offence
- Be convicted, sentenced, and subject to penalties within 89 days of the offence
- Successfully complete the assessment portion of ‘Back on Track’
- DUI conviction did not cause bodily harm or death to others
- Establish proof of a lease agreement (set up installation) for ignition interlock
- Drivers should register ASAP following their conviction
Stream B is the same structure as Stream A, only the suspension period and interlock period are both increased by three months respectively, totalling 18 months. You will be placed in to this stream if you fail to meet any of the requirements listed above. Examples could include exceeding 90 days after your conviction before you register for Back on Track, and/or not setting up your interlock lease agreement during your suspension period.
Failing the Program
There are several ways one can fail the Back on Track program. It is vital to actively participate in the in-class sessions, and follow the specific guidelines provided. This includes not being disruptive during the sessions, showing up sober and on time to the sessions, and completing the necessary follow up actions.
Participants can also fail the program during the ignition-interlock phase for a few reasons. If the participant blows over 0.02 while attempting to start their car, or failing/missing a test whilst driving, they will have to bring the device in to a service centre for a disciplinary evaluation. A first-time offence can lead to time being added on to your ignition interlock period, with subsequent offences being grounds for a failure. If you are removed from the program you will be subject to the full period of suspension and interlock, as if you had never entered the program. You will get credit for the suspension time already served but will incur another full 12-month interlock period no matter what.
If you have been charged with a DUI offence in Cobourg and wish to participate in the Back on Track program, Aitken Robertson can help guide you through the process painlessly. If you wish to enter the program, know that you will have to travel to either Belleville or Peterborough to complete the in-class portion, as it is not offered in Cobourg. In addition, you will have to travel to your ignition interlock provider every time you need to have your interlock serviced. There are a number of government-approved interlock service providers and centres in southern Ontario, so make sure to research the one closest to you!