Daniel A. Nugent is an Experienced DUIs and Impaired Driving Lawyer in Ottawa
While not generally advisable, drinking and driving in and of itself is not illegal in Canada. What is illegal is driving while your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol. If your blood alcohol level is more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood and you are caught driving or have care and control of a motor vehicle then you can be charged with “over eighty”.
There is no requirement that your blood alcohol level be over eighty to support a conviction of driving impaired but there is a statutory presumption that if you are over this limit your ability to drive is impaired. Driving impaired and driving over eighty are two separate offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. Often when drivers are charged they are charged with not one but both offences.
There is a mandatory minimum punishment for a conviction of either offence and that minimum punishment increases with each subsequent conviction for a related offence. For example, on conviction for a first offence there is a mandatory driving prohibition of one year (this means you can not drive anywhere in Canada) and a minimum fine of $1000.00. For a second offence there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days, for a third offence the minimum is 120 days jail.
Due to the technical nature of these offences the defense to a charge of impaired or over eighty is often complicated and requires an experienced criminal lawyer. If you have been charged call me immediately at (613) 799-5816 I can help.