Driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or even intense fatigue is a behavior that can put your safety and the safety of others at risk. For this reason, in Quebec, the Criminal Code and the Highway Safety Code impose severe penalties for such offenses.

Discover the consequences you will experience if you ever decide to drive your vehicle while impaired.

Impaired driving: the various laws applicable in Quebec

The Canadian Criminal Code

In Canada, the Criminal Code applies in all provinces and territories. This is a federal law that determines the penalties for indictable offences committed within the country’s borders.

According to this law, anyone who drives or is in possession of a motor vehicle, whether moving or not, commits an offence if his ability to drive is impaired by the effects of alcohol or a drug or if his blood alcohol level exceeds eighty milligrams per hundred milliliters of blood. Of course, a driver who refuses to cooperate with the police, undergo a physical coordination test or provide a breathalyzer sample is also likely to face even more serious charges under the Criminal Code.

The Highway Safety Code

The Highway Safety Code is a law that only applies in the province of Quebec. The measures and penalties it imposes on a person convicted of impaired driving are mostly administrative.

The different penalties applied in the case of an impaired driving arrest

Upon arrest

As soon as a person is arrested for drunk or impaired driving, they will immediately have their driver’s license suspended for a period of 90 days. Their vehicle will also be seized on the spot.

In the event of a guilty verdict

If a person charged with impaired driving is convicted, they will automatically have a criminal record and risk a fine of up to $5,000 and even imprisonment. They will also see their driver’s license revoked for a period of time that can be longer or shorter depending on whether this is the first drinking and driving offence.

Quebec authorities also use measures to prevent recidivism. This is why, in many cases, the accused will also be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle when the license suspension has expired. The offending driver can also be subject to the impaired driving risk assessment and mitigation program.

You can defend yourself against an impaired driving charge

As you can see, the consequences of impaired driving can be disastrous. However, you should know that it is possible to defend against such charges. Sometimes the sentence can be considerably reduced if certain inconsistencies are found when reviewing the file. You would therefore be wrong to think that you will automatically be found guilty if you failed a breathalyzer test.

The criminal lawyers at Riendeau Avocats will defend your interests and rights in the event of impaired driving charges. In fact, each file should be reviewed to assess your chances of acquittal. This is why you should contact one of our criminal lawyers as soon as possible if you are arrested for impaired driving.

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