Driving Over .08 In Winnipeg

Here in Winnipeg, there are serious consequences for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08. 

You probably already know that. What you may not know is that there are serious consequences for driving with a BAC of less than .08 – and that these consequences can include an immediate roadside sanction, including licence suspension.

In this article, we’re going to explore both the federal BAC limits and the BAC limits here in Manitoba. We’ll look at the consequences you may face if your BAC is determined to be above these limits when you’re driving. From there, we’ll give you a glimpse at some of the defences that lawyers may use to protect you if you were charged with driving over the legal limit. 

Provincial and Federal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits

Driving with a BAC at or over .08 is a criminal offence—it falls under the Criminal Code of Canada and carries with it harsh legal sanctions.

Here in Manitoba, however, there are serious consequences for driving with alcohol in your system, even if you don’t hit the .08 threshold. Let’s compare provincial and federal BAC limits. 

Provincial BAC Limits

The Manitoba Government has introduced penalties if you operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .05 or higher. When you register a blood alcohol level ranging from .05-.079—a “Warn” on an approved screening device (ASD)—you may face any of the following consequences:

  • an administrative penalty of at least $400
  • vehicle impoundment of three days
  • Immediate licence suspension (for at least 72 hours)
  • A 5-level decrease to your Driver Safety Rating (and higher insurance premiums)

With multiple offences, these consequences become more serious, with larger fines and longer suspensions. Additionally, you may be required to complete an assessment through the Impaired Driver Program if you are found to exceed these limits more than twice in 10 years.

There are, of course, even more consequences if you register at .08 or over on a breath sample—above Canada’s legal limit. These consequences include:

  • A three-month suspension
  • A 5-level decrease to your Driver Safety Rating (and higher insurance premiums)
  • Potential charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • An Ignition Interlock device installed in your vehicle
  • An  Impaired Driver Assessment at your expense

Impaired driving can land you fines, vehicle impoundment, a driving prohibition, and more—and that’s just scratching the surface. You could be criminally charged.

Federal BAC Limits

The federal blood alcohol limit is .08—meeting or exceeding that limit can lead to criminal charges. This includes a mandatory minimum $1000 fine for your first offence; the second offence carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days in prison.

These are serious consequences—and we’ll expand on them more in a bit. 

Breathalyzer Screening Requests

You must comply with breathalyzer screening requests, or you can be charged as though you’d blown over the legal limit. This is to prevent impaired drivers from trying to game the system. Refusing or failing to provide a breath sample when requested is a criminal offence.

Consequences of Driving At or Over .08 BAC

The most obvious consequence with a blood alcohol level at or over .08 is that you’re putting yourself and other motorists at risk. Impaired driving is extremely dangerous.

The legal consequences are also serious. Aside from mounting fines (depending on how high your BAC is), you can receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if you’re found guilty of impaired driving. You can learn about all of the penalties for drunk driving on Canada’s Impaired Driving Laws page. 

How We Defend DUI Charges

A criminal conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious matter. There are, however, a number of different legal defences:

  • Violation of Charter Rights (for example, not being read your rights)
  • Inaccurate ASD results (because of technical malfunctions or improper use)
  • Delays in obtaining breath samples
  • And more

You should know that a common defence, the “Bolus defence”, has fallen out of practice because of changes to Canada’s drunk driving laws. Today, “operating at or over .08 within two hours of driving” can still lead to a criminal conviction. Most lawyers agree that there are several potential ethical problems with this new law—but that’s outside the scope of this article.

In Need of a DUI Lawyer in Winnipeg?

The Crown prosecutor will do everything they can to ensure that you’re convicted of drunk driving. You’re not a lawyer—you need a defence attorney to protect you.

Matt Gould isn’t just a “driving over 08 lawyer”—he’s a DUI lawyer in Winnipeg who can help you even if you were found driving over .05 but under .08. He can also help with other impaired driving-related charges, including refusal or failure to test, driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs, and more.

You deserve a strong defence against DUI charges. Call Matt Gould.