Is Driving Under the Influence Really a Criminal Offence? - LCP Criminal Lawyers

Is Driving Under the Influence Really a Criminal Offence?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in serious consequences, regardless of whether someone receives the penalty of a fine or imprisonment in jail.

Section 253 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to drive while impaired by alcohol or a drug, and also makes it an offence to drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration greater than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Section 254 of the Criminal Code sets out when police can obtain breath samples and blood samples to determine whether a person has drugs or alcohol in their body. Under section 255 of the Criminal Code, impaired driving and driving “over 80” can both be prosecuted as either a summary offence or as an indictable offence. A summary offence is similar to an American misdemeanor. An indictable offence is similar to an American felony.The minimum punishment for these crimes is the same whether prosecuted as a summary or an indictable offence: for a first offence, a minimum fine of $1,000.00; for a second offence, imprisonment for a minimum of 30 days; and for each subsequent offence, imprisonment for a minimum of 120 days.

One serious difference between whether the crime is prosecuted as a summary offence or an indictable offence is the maximum penalty. If the crime is prosecuted as a summary offence, the maximum punishment is imprisonment for 18 months in jail. If the crime is prosecuted as an indictable offence, the maximum punishment is imprisonment for 5 years.

Causing bodily harm to another person as a result of impaired driving or while driving equal to or over the legal limit can only be prosecuted as an indictable offence. If convicted of impaired driving causing bodily harm or driving with a blood concentration equal to or over the legal limit causing bodily harm, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 10 years.

Causing death of another person as a result of impaired driving or while driving with a blood concentration equal to or over the legal limit is also prosecuted as an indictable offence. The maximum punishment for such a conviction is life imprisonment.

These are serious matters that can affect your life and reputation for many years, whether the punishment is jail time or simply a fine. If you have been charged with impaired driving, contact Lockyer Campbell Posner for assistance.

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