The Liberal government recently announced legislation that would allow adults to legally possess, share, buy, and grow marijuana. This new legislation is scheduled to become law in July of 2018. Before this legislation comes into effect, it is important to understand how it will impact other areas of criminal law. One of the aspects of criminal law which will be most affected by this change is the law on impaired driving. In preparation for this new legislation, I will be publishing an article each week to help you understand the law on driving while impaired by drugs. 

Impaired by drug is a relatively new area of the law, and is very complex. Many people do not even realize that it is illegal to drive while impaired by drug, and think that it is only illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol. In fact, section 253(1) of the Criminal Code prohibits the operation or care or control of  a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, railway equipment while a person’s ability to do so is impaired by alcohol AND/OR drug. This is because even a small amount of a drug can affect a person’s attention, reaction time, and judgment. 

Some of the most common drugs found in drivers who have been involved in car accidents include marijuana, opioids, and amphetamines. Even prescription drugs or legal drugs can impair a person’s ability to drive. 

The consequences of being found guilty of impaired driving are very serious, as this offence carries a mandatory minimum sentence. Where it is a person’s first time being convicted of impaired driving, they will receive a minimum fine of $1,000. If it is their second time, they must be imprisoned for at least 30 days. For each additional time that they are convicted of impaired driving, they must go to prison for at least 120 days. The penalties are even more serious where the person causes bodily harm or death to another person as a result of their actions while impaired by drug, and include the potential for life imprisonment. 

If you or someone you know has been charged with operation while impaired by drug, effective legal representation is absolutely essential given the serious consequences of being convicted of the offence. Contact Matt Gould now to discuss your case.