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Drunk driving is a punishable offence under the Canadian Criminal Code. For a first impaired driving offence, different penalties may apply. These are generally determined according to the driver’s blood alcohol level.

The immediate penalty for a first drunk driving arrest

The immediate penalty for any person who has committed a criminal offence for impaired driving is a fine ranging from $1,000 for the minimum penalty to $5,000 for the maximum penalty. This fine is accompanied by a driving prohibition for at least one year. After a probationary period of 3 months, the person in question may be granted a driving licence. However, it also requires the mandatory installation of an alcohol ignition interlock device in the car. This device is installed under the supervision of the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

A separate penalty for driving with a blood alcohol level above 80 mg/100 ml

The penalty further varies when the blood alcohol level is above 80 mg/100 ml and below 160 mg/100 ml, which is considered to be twice the legal limit. When this rate is detected in a driver, the result is an automatic withdrawal of the driver’s licence for a period of 90 days. This level may result in a licence being revoked for one year. The SAAQ will be asked to conduct a brief review of the case. It will then have to analyse the risk of recidivism for the arrested person. It will also take into account the person’s likely dependence on alcohol and drugs, which can be a serious obstacle to any possibility of driving a car again.

Mandatory compliance with the Alcofrein Program

When the SAAQ issues a positive report following its summary examination, it will be decided that the individual must register in the Alcofrein Program. The objective of this program is to educate road users about the risks associated with alcohol and drug dependence. This program is designed to prevent recidivism, and its costs must be paid by the arrested individual. If the SAAQ report is negative, the person in question will have to pass another more comprehensive examination to more accurately detect the difficulty experienced by the individual. This second review will also establish a control program for the offender. This time, an alcohol ignition interlock device will be installed on the person’s car for a period of one year after the driver’s licence has been revoked and until the SAAQ’s examination is positive.

A harsher drunk driving penalty for a blood alcohol level above 160 mg/100 ml

In the case of an arrest for impaired driving, a third sanction may be imposed. This applies when the alcohol level exceeds 160 mg/100 ml or when the driver refuses to obey the police officer’s instructions to take the BAC test without reasonable cause. This refusal is an offence under section 254 of the Criminal Code. The repercussions of this situation are an automatic withdrawal of the driving licence for a period of 90 days, accompanied by a 3-year revocation of the licence. In this case, the review conducted by the SAAQ must be more thorough. The person concerned is required to keep the alcohol interlock device in his vehicle for 2 years following the cancellation of his licence and until the SAAQ examination is positive.

Use a criminal lawyer to minimize your penalties for a first-time drunk driving offence

If you are charged with a criminal offence for drinking and driving, penalties will be imposed. Using a criminal lawyer is therefore important to build a strong defence. They are in a position to assert your rights and will do their best to try to minimize your penalties.

Do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at DUI Montreal Lawyer right now for a free consultation.