Changes to the Drinking & Driving Laws
You can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if an officer believes you were driving right after (or within 2 hours) of drinking alcohol or ingesting drugs. You can also be charged for refusing to submit to the test! Plus, the penalties have increased and vary according to whether it’s your first or repeated offence, or whether your actions caused harm to someone else.
This is What You Need to Know About Ontario's DUI Laws:
If you’re stopped by cops for any reason, they can demand a test of your blood alcohol.
They can do this regardless of whether you’re behaving like you’re drunk (no reasonable suspicion required). In fact, you should submit when asked because refusal to comply with the test means you can be charged with a $2,000 fine.
The police can demand you submit to a basic drug test when you seem drunk (reasonable suspicion).
This means that if you’re agitated, have red eyes, abnormal speech patterns or muscle tremors, they can ask you for an oral fluid sample. Yes, these symptoms could be for another reason like you’re having a bad day, you’re upset at being stopped or you have a cold. Still, if they find something in the oral sample, they can ask you for a blood sample.
There is a zero tolerance for any alcohol or drugs in the blood system of the following individuals.
Any new driver (G1, G2, M1, M2); any driver under 21 years old or a commercial driver holding an A-F license. If you have a valid medical prescription to have cannabis in your system, you may be able to get away with it in so long as the cop doesn’t believe your driving was impaired (but if they’re stopping you, it’s most likely they believe you’re impaired).
What a DUI Charge Means:
If you’re charged with a DUI, it means you were impaired within 2 hours of driving, with alcohol, cannabis, any of the listed drugs, or a combination of them in your system. Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and the Criminal Code, you suffer immediate consequences, then additional penalties if you are convicted in court. If you face conviction it is absolutely life altering, seek out a lawyer for help in getting your penalties reduced.
Charges for Impaired Driving include a combination of any of the following: