Ontario DUI: Things (NOT) To Do
Getting a DUI is one of the worst driving nightmares for many Ontario drivers. DUIs are expensive, time consuming and serious. Of course if you want to avoid getting a DUI, there are certain steps that you must take and certain things that you must avoid doing.
Things to Know about Ontario DUI
Plain and Simple
Don’t Drink and Drive. The easiest way to avoid getting a DUI is to never drink and drive. If you are planning on drinking alcohol, even if its just one drink, the safest option is always to avoid driving. This helps you to avoid any gray areas or any potential problems. If you are going drinking with friends assign a designated driver or take a taxi. Some other ideas to consider include staying the night if you want to drink, making sure that your friends don’t drink and drive and leaving your keys with a trusted and sober friend if you are going to be drinking. If you avoid the road completely when you have been drinking you will never have to worry about getting a DUI.
Analyze Your Situation
Different situations can really impact how alcohol will interact with your body. For example if you drink on an empty stomach you will become intoxicated more quickly than if you eat first. Prescription and over the counter medications can also change how alcohol will interact with you. If you are taking medications be very careful when drinking. You need to understand how medications and alcohol will interact. In general it is always best not to mix alcohol with medications. You should also be aware that illegal drugs can also impact how your body processes alcohol.
Look Out for Your Friends
It is your responsibility to help your friends avoid drunk driving convictions as well. Work with your friends to create a plan to avoid drinking and driving. Remember that you don’t have to use the same designated driver ever time you go out drinking with friends. Rotate the responsibility so that you can all be safe and have fun as well.
If You Have Been Drinking Don’t Sit in the Driver’s Seat
Many drivers don’t realize that a vehicle doesn’t have to be moving to get a DUI. You can get a DUI for simply sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you have been drinking the back seat is the safest place for you.
If You Drink and Drive You Run the Risk of Road Side Suspension
If you are caught with a blood alcohol level greater than .05% you face the risk of an immediate road side suspension. These suspensions will vary in length based on the number of times that you have been caught drinking and driving. The first offense carries a minimum 3 day suspension, the second a 7 day suspension and the third a 30 day suspension. This suspension is in addition to a $150 fine, other fees if convicted and other penalties. You should know that it doesn’t take very much alcohol to reach a blood alcohol level of .05%. In fact depending on your body type and size you can exceed this limit with just one drink.
Learner Drivers Should Never Drink and Drive
Learner drivers have even stricter guidelines than regular drivers with a full fledged license. If you have a learner’s license or a provisional license you should never drink before driving. You are legally required to have a blood alcohol level of 0%. Any alcohol in your blood can result in a drinking and driving conviction. You should also know that your supervisory driver must also be sober. They cannot have a blood alcohol level higher than .05%. Drivers under 21 cannot have alcohol in their blood either, even if they have a full license.
If Asked You Must Submit to a Breath Test
If you are asked to take a breath alcohol test you must comply. This is a requirement for all drivers in Ontario. You should know that if you refuse this test you can lose your license and face DUI charges even if you weren’t drinking.
You May Be Required to Get an Ignition Interlock Device Installed in Your Vehicle
Ignition interlock devices are one way that Ontario is combating drinking and driving. Some drivers that are convicted of drinking and driving will be required to install a breath analysis device on any vehicle that they will drive. Typically this provision will remain on your license for a specific period of time, usually at least 6 months. These devices cost almost $1,300 to install and must be used any time the vehicle is used, even if you aren’t the one driving. If you have this provision on your license and are caught driving another vehicle, it will be impounded for 7 days.
Drinking and Driving Will Cost You
Drinking and driving will cost you a fortune if you are caught. You will face fines, penalties, increased insurance premiums and more. For example most people spend between $2,000 and $10,000 on court costs, $4,500 per year on increased auto insurance premiums, a $1,000 fine if they receive a criminal conviction and more. Alcohol treatment programs and ignition interlock devices will further add to your costs.
Drinking and Driving is Dangerous
Drinking and driving is a lot more serious than risking a few fines or spending time in court. If you get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated you are putting yourself and others at risk. When you drive impaired you are much more likely to get in an accident. Keeping drunk drivers off of the road is essential to keep Ontario’s roads safe. Make a commitment today to do your part by never drinking and driving and by encouraging your friends and family to only drive safely as well.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
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