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Charged with a Second Impaired Driving Offence – How Could this Impact my Driver’s Licence?

If you don’t already know, let us tell you about the new DUI laws. On December 18, 2018 the Government of Canada cracked down on drinking and driving offences. Police officers are now afforded the power to stop any driver for a random RIDE check. This wide discretionary power puts everyone’s driver’s licence and criminal record at risk. The best thing to do is to avoid drinking and driving all together. As you might already be aware, the legal driving limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08). Driving with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 or over is a criminal offence and now carries with it heftier punishments including imprisonment on a second offence.

For the purposes of this blog, we will focus on how to have your driver’s licence be reinstatement sooner than later. First, it is important to know what the mandatory prohibition order is under the new laws.

Prohibition Period under the Criminal Code

The prohibition period for impaired driving convictions are:

  • for first offence, not less than one year and not more than three years, plus the entire period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment;
  • for a second offence, not less than two years and not more than 10 years, plus the entire period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment; and
  • for each subsequent offence, not less than three years, plus the entire period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment.

Punishment under the Criminal Code

Everyone who commits an impaired driving offence liable on conviction on indictment or on summary conviction to the following

(a) minimum punishment, namely,

for a first offence, a fine of $1,000,

for a second offence, imprisonment for a term of 30 days, and

for each subsequent offence, imprisonment for a term of 120 days;

(b) if the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; and

(c) if the offence is punishable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day.

As you can see, the penalties are stern and certainly ones you want to keep away from. The best thing to do is to avoid drinking and driving no matter what. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in a situation where you are facing a second impaired driving offence, here is what you need to know about how your driver’s licence will be treated.

You will face an automatic suspension and driving prohibition of at least two years under the Criminal Code. Nonetheless, there are options available to have your licence reinstated sooner through the Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

How to Drive As Soon As Possible Despite Driving Prohibition

What may be of interest to you is that the MTO now, as of late, has provided a program for which second time offenders qualify to have their driver’s licence reinstated at an earlier time. This was not the case before where the Back on Track program was only available to first time offenders. This is a major change and a very positive one for second time offenders. Many rely on driving for their livelihood and for being able to meet their family obligations. Previously early re-instatement of your driver’s licence was not available to those with a second DUI conviction within 10 years. This has now changed.

More on the Ministry of Transportation’s Impaired Driving Programs

The MTO has implemented a “Back on Track Remedial Measures Program,” which allows you to have your licence be reinstated sooner but under conditions and along with associated costs. Specifically, 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.

Before you can join the Back on Track Program, you have to qualify to sign up for Ontario’s Ignition Interlock Program. Here is how you qualify.

  • You must be convicted of an impaired driving-related offence under the Criminal Code of Canada OR
  • You must be suspended three or more times within a 10-year period for any combination of:
    • driving with a BAC above zero while you are 21 years and under;
    • driving with a BAC above zero while you are a novice driver;
    • driving with a BAC above 0.05 (“warn range”);
    • driving with a BAC above 0.08 (“legal limit”);
    • failing or refusing to comply with a demand for alcohol or drug testing; and
    • driving impaired by a drug or a combination of a drug and alcohol.

How to Qualify for the Interlock Ignition Program

To qualify to use the ignition interlock in your car, you must first serve all the penalties and sanctions imposed upon you. These are serving your automatic licence suspension, paying the reinstatement fees, paying the administrative monetary penalty and finally, completing the Back on Track Program. Our office is happy to provide you with additional information and details regarding this program.

What is Stream “D” and Who Qualifies for it?

The offence date must have occurred on July 1, 2018 or thereafter for you to quality. Additionally, you must plead guilty within 89 days after the offence date. Beyond this date, the Stream D program is not available to you. It is not offered to those who pled guilty more than 89 days after the charge or to those who lost at trial.

The factors below will disqualify you from qualifying for the program so please make sure you read through them and determine whether any of them apply to you.

  • You were convicted of an offence where bodily harm or death was caused
  • You have a pre-existing lifetime driving ban
  • There were drugs involved in the circumstances of the offence
  • You were previously granted a reduction to 10 years of an indefinite licence suspension
  • you were subject to an ignition interlock licence condition on the date of the offence
  • you were convicted of a drive while disqualified offence under subsection 259(4) of the Criminal Codewithin the 10 years before your alcohol-impaired driving conviction

If you do not qualify for the program based on the above information, we can still discuss your options with you. It is important that we learn about the facts of your case so that we may provide you with a legal opinion as to how your particular matter can be best served with our assistance.

What Next?

As stated earlier, you have to make a decision within the 89-day period post-offence if you want to apply for the Back on Track Remedial Measures Program. The decision to choose this option will depend on the facts of your case and whether or not it would be best served through early resolution or trial.

Don’t see the authorities without speaking to a lawyer first.

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Yasmine Al-Zaman

Yasmine’s patience, compassion and understanding allow her to work collaboratively and effectively with her clients. She appreciates the level of fear and confusion most people feel when confronted with the legal system. With that in mind, Yasmine puts her best foot forward to offer quality legal services.

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