Impaired Driving Sobriety Tests & How Automation in Law Enforcement Could Be a Huge Game Changer!

The government has tightened its rules on impaired driving in Canada, even more so after the legalization of recreational cannabis on October 17, 2018. New rules mean new sobriety tests and penalties. 

If you are stopped and asked to take a breath or saliva test on the roadside, it’s very important to know your rights. 

Charged with an impaired driving offence? Contact Erickson Law without delay. John Erickson is an affordable criminal defence lawyer in Toronto who has been successfully defending countless drivers charged with impaired driving offences for more than 20 years.  

If you are detained or arrested, it’s important to contact a qualified impaired driving lawyer immediately.  Exercise your right to silence as any information you volunteer can be used against you.  John Erickson is available to answer your questions quickly and accurately, and provide the timely legal intervention you require. 

 

Impaired Driving

What is impaired driving? Impaired driving in Canada is operating a motor vehicle while your ability to do so is impaired to any degree by a drug, alcohol or both.  Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not need to be more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood. Most toxicologists agree that your ability to operate a motor vehicle could be impaired even with much, much lower amounts of alcohol in your blood.

Similarly, if the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol; the main active ingredient in cannabis that affects the brain and nervous system) in your blood exceed 2 nanograms per millilitre of blood, you will be considered legally impiared.

 

Sobriety Tests

Police officers in Canada have been given expansive powers to compel drivers to perform sobriety tests either at the side of the road itself or at the police station. 

 

Standard Sobriety Test

If an officer has a reasonable suspicion that a driver has a drug and/or alcohol in their blood, they can demand that he/she perform a sobriety test.  Refusing to take the test will result in the same penalties as if you failed it, including an immediate license suspension and being charged with an impaired driving offence. 

 

Breath Test

If an officer has a reasonable belief that a motorist is or has been operating a motor vehicle while impaired or with an excess blood-alcohol concentration any time in the last 3 hours, they can demand that he/she provide a breath sample into an Intoxilyzer or other approved breath testing instrument to determine his/her blood alcohol concentration.  Refusing to provide a sample will result in the same penalties as if you “blew over”, including an immediate license suspension and being charged with an impaired driving offence.

 

Drug Evaluation

If an officer has a reasonable belief that the motorist is impaired by drugs or has an excess quantity of THC in their blood, they can demand that he/she undergo a drug evaluation test by a qualified officer at the station.  Refusing to take the test will result in the same penalties as if you failed it, including an immediate license suspension and being charged with an impaired driving offence.

 

Drug Screening Devices

Officers also have the right to request an oral fluid sample. Refusing to provide a sample will result in the same penalties as if you failed the test, including an immediate license suspension and being charged with an impaired driving offence.

 

Penalties

The following is a list of the minimum and maximum legal implications for impaired driving charges.

 

 

FOR ALCOHOL-IMPAIRED DRIVING

BAC at or over 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood within 2 hours of operating a vehicle

    • First offence; Mandatory minimum $1,000 fine; Maximum 10 years imprisonment
    • Second offence; Mandatory minimum 30 days jail; Maximum 10 years imprisonment 
    • Third and all subsequent offences; Mandatory minimum 120 days jail; Maximum 10 years imprisonment 

 

 

FOR DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING

THC level is 2 nanograms or over but less than 5 nanograms per millilitre of blood; Maximum fine $1,000.

 

THC level over 5 nanograms per millilitre of blood

  • First offence; Mandatory minimum $1,000 fine
  • Second offence; Mandatory minimum 30 days jail
  • Third and all following offences; Mandatory minimum 120 days jail

 

 

FOR ALCOHOL- AND DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING

2.5 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood + 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood

  • First offence; Mandatory minimum $1,000 fine
  • Second offence; Mandatory minimum 30 days jail
  • Third and all following offences; Mandatory minimum 120 days jail

 

 

Automation in Law Enforcement

Automation in law enforcement could possibly change our lives beyond recognition. News recently surfaced that research is ongoing for telematics technology; the driving behaviours of new drivers will be examined using a smart tag on their windshield that is connected to their smartphone to track their on-road actions. 

The technology is being poised to track speeding, braking patterns, distracted driving, etc. Drivers with lower risks may receive discounted insurance rates. This does raise concerns as to our privacy and whether insurers will be able to see into people’s cars.

Another initiative in the works; Robocops. The future of policing may just involve a robot that extends from a cop car to the driver’s window to give drivers tickets. This robot will be engineered with a camera, printer and HD display. As a safety tactic, the robot may be primed to deploy a row of spikes under the vehicle to thwart escape plans. 

As of right now, there is no research that suggests this technology may also make a foray into impaired driving tests.

 

 

Facing an Impaired Driving Charge? 

Turn to Erickson Law to get unparalleled legal services at an affordable fee. 

John Erickson works around the clock to ensure that your rights are protected. He uses his breadth of expertise in criminal law to elevate your chances of winning your case whether that involves impaired driving, driving over 80, or refusing to undergo a sobriety test. 

Call(416)­ 363-­3612 to schedule your free consultation.