Ontario Drinking and Driving Laws: Know and Follow
If you don’t know the laws regarding drinking and driving it is impossible to follow them. As a driver in Ontario you have a lot of responsibility. You need to learn and understand the driving laws so that you can be a safe driver and avoid accidents, tickets and convictions. Since drunk driving is a pretty serious conviction, it is especially important to understand the laws that apply to you and then to follow them. This little guide will help you to better understand the drinking and driving laws in Ontario.
Facts about ON Drinking and Driving Laws
Different Laws Apply to Different Drivers
Different drivers have different drinking laws that apply to them. For example learner drivers cannot have any alcohol in their blood. Other drivers can have a little alcohol in their blood as long as they have a blood alcohol level less than .05%. If you are under 21 you shouldn’t be drinking any way, so be sure never to drink and drive. Be sure that you know what laws apply to you so that you can be in accordance with them.
If Asked You Must Submit to a Breath Test
If you are driving you must consent to a breath alcohol test. If you refuse you can lose your license and face severe penalties. You can even face penalties if you aren’t intoxicated if you refuse this test. If you decide to drive you should know that you cannot ever refuse a breath test.
If You Are Intoxicated Don’t Sit in the Driver’s Seat
Your vehicle doesn’t have to be moving to get a drunk driving conviction. If you aren’t legally able to drive you shouldn’t be behind the steering wheel. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t planning on driving. If you are sitting in this seat and intoxicated you can get a drunk driving conviction. Play it safe and sit in the back seat if you have been drinking.
Alcohol and Medications Don’t Mix
If you are taking medications, whether over the counter or prescription, they can change the way that your body interacts with alcohol. This can mean that one or two drinks can severely impact your ability to drive. It can also make you feel less intoxicated than you actually are. Make sure that you know how your body will interact with various medications if you combine them with alcohol. You should also avoid driving if you are using any illegal or illicit drugs.
Food and Drink Can Also Impact Your Ability to Drive
If you drink on a full stomach alcohol will enter your system more slowly. If you drink on an empty stomach the alcohol will enter your blood more quickly. Since so many factors can impact alcohol and your intoxication level it is always best to avoid driving if you have been drinking. This way you never have to wonder if you are too drunk to drive.
You Can Face an Immediate Road Side Suspension if You Drive in the Warm Range
Blood alcohol levels higher than .08% are definitely over the legal limit. However, you can get in trouble for drunk driving with a lower blood alcohol level. Drivers that are caught driving in the warm range, blood alcohol levels between .05% and .08%, can immediately have their license suspended. The first offense carries a $150 fine and a 3 day suspension. This is in addition to other penalties that you may face. These road side suspensions are immediate, cannot be disputed and cannot be dismissed.
Drinking and Driving Can Carry Serious Financial Penalties
Drinking and driving can be expensive if you are convicted. Let’s look at a few of the fees, fines and expenses that you will face if you are convicted of drinking and driving. Court costs can range from $2,000 to as much as $10,000. If you are convicted of violating the criminal code you will have to pay a $1,000 fine. An alcohol treatment program costs more than $575 and your insurance premiums can increase $4,500 per year. These are just a few of the many fees and fines that you may face. Don’t drink and drive, it is very expensive.
Drinking and Driving Gets More Serious with Each Conviction
Any drinking and driving conviction is serious and carries very substantial penalties. However, these penalties get worse with each subsequent violation. This is true of road side suspensions as well as other fines and fees. On your first offense in the warm range you will receive a 3 day suspension and a $150 fine. On the second offense it will increase to a 7 day suspension and a $150 fine. Each additional violation can carry additional penalties, fines and punishments including ignition interlock devices, court mandated alcohol treatment programs and more.
You May Be Required to Place an Ignition Interlock Device on Your Vehicle
Some drivers that are caught drinking and driving are required to place an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. These devices cost about $1,300 to install and must be used each and every time the car is driven. This means that all drivers of the vehicle will have to use this device, regardless of whether they have this provision on their license. With an ignition interlock device you have to breathe into a breath analyzer to start the vehicle and then periodically after to keep it working properly. If you receive this provision on your license due to drinking and driving convictions you can only drive vehicles with this device. If you are caught driving other vehicles you will face a 7 day impound of the vehicle you are driving, even if it belongs to someone else.
Drinking and Driving is Dangerous
This article takes a look at many drinking and driving laws in Ontario. While the consequences to these laws are serious and should be carefully understood, they are not the only reason that you should avoid drinking and driving. One of the most important reasons to only drive sober is that it is the safest option. When you drive drunk you are putting yourself and others at serious risk for injury or death. As a responsible driver you need to make other arrangements before you start drinking. Make sure that you never drive after drinking and that you keep these important laws in mind. They will keep you safer on Ontario’s roads and will help you to keep your license.