All roads and drivers in Canada are protected by the Highway Traffic Act. This measure was implemented in order to ensure the safety of drivers on the road, and includes a provision that imposes a limit on the amount of alcohol that drivers may have in their system before being deemed impaired.
In Canada, the terms “impaired driving”, “impaired operation”, and “impaired control” are used instead of the terms “driving while intoxicated” and “driving under the influence” commonly used in the United States. “Impairment” is defined as the condition of being unable to operate a vehicle safely because of the use of alcohol or drugs.
As in all jurisdictions that have passed impaired driving laws, impairment level in Canada is measured by the percentage of alcohol or the blood alcohol content (BAC) in the bloods of the driver. BAC is measured with a breathalyzer, which is a tube-equipped device used by law enforcement personnel. Law enforcement personnel are legally allowed to perform a breathalyzer test on anyone suspected of having operated a vehicle within the past 3 hours.
When a driver is stopped and suspected of being alcohol impaired, he is directed to blow into the tube so that his level of impairment can be determined. For drivers in Canada, the legal BAC is 0.08. If the driver’s blood alcohol exceeds this amount, he is charged with a criminal offense. This limit is imposed not only on drivers of land vehicle, but also pilots and operators of water vehicles.
Even if a particular driver’s BAC does not exceed 0.08, he may still be charged with impaired driving if he was found to have been driving recklessly under the influence of alcohol. In fact, drivers may even be charged with impaired driving even if they are merely sitting in a parked vehicle if after testing they are determined to have a BAC exceeding 0.08. Law enforcement personnel may also arrest drivers who are suspected of having committed any of these offenses within the past 3 hours.
Drivers found to have committed any of the above-mentioned offenses are subject to immediate legal action. Provincial and territorial laws allow law enforcement authorities to enforce penalties on a relatively short period of time in support of the Criminal Code, the penalties of which can take a long time to enforce. Because proceedings associated with Criminal Code violations may not even be implemented–even if the driver is charged–provincial and territorial laws serve as effective control measures for impaired driving.
One of the most common penalties is the suspension and confiscation of the license on the spot. The vehicle operated by the driver in question may also be seized and impounded immediately. Young or first time drivers are subject to impaired driving charges regardless of how much alcohol they have in their blood. Ask for a DUI lawyer Toronto for a professional consultation.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer entails its own set of legal consequences. The charge for this offense is “Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample”. The penalties for such an offense are the same as those levied on impaired driving offenders.