Potential Penalties For DUI Charges

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The leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada is impaired driving. As such, Canada has strict laws surrounding impaired driving, and breaking these laws can lead to harsh penalties.

We’re going to discuss the potential penalties for DUI charges, both in Manitoba and in Canada. Before we delve into that, however, let’s take a look at what types of impairment can result in DUI charges: 

Driving under the influence: it’s more than just alcohol

When most of us think of DUIs, drunk driving is the first thing that comes to mind. But Canada’s DUI laws apply to more than just drunk driving. You can be charged with a criminal offence if, while driving (and within 2 hours of driving):

  • Your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher
  • You have over 2 ng (nanograms) of THC per ml of blood
  • Your BAC is .05 or higher, and you have over 2.5 ng of THC per ml of blood
  • There is any detectable amount of LSD, psilocybin, psilocin (“magic mushrooms”), ketamine, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine, or 6-mam in your system

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a drink after driving home from work – we may expand on the “2-hour” rule in another article (let us know if it’s something you’re interested in reading). The point here is simple: having any of the above in your system while driving can lead to DUI charges.

Manitoba’s penalties for DUI

We’ve just listed the limits at which you can be criminally charged for impaired driving – but here in Manitoba, there are penalties for impaired driving even if you don’t reach the threshold required for a criminal offence.

If you are suspected of driving while impaired by drugs, you may receive an immediate 24-hour licence suspension.

Tiered Administrative Licence Suspensions

Manitoba also uses Tiered Administrative Licence Suspensions. These may apply if:

  • You operate a vehicle with a BAC of between .05 – .079
  • You register “warn” on an approved screening device (ASD)
  • You fail a drug screening test, physical coordination test, or drug recognition evaluation

These tiered licence suspensions last for anywhere from 72 hours to 60 days. The amount of time they’ll last for depends on how many such suspensions you’ve had in a 10 year period. Each suspension also leads to a 5 level decrease in your Driver Safety Rating, which leads to higher insurance costs. 

Registering a “warn” on an ASD will also result in a $400 fine. Two or more tiered suspensions in a 10 year period will also lead to a driver needing to complete an assessment through the Impaired Driver Program at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba at their own expense. 

Three Month Administrative Licence Suspensions

Drivers who meet the threshold for criminal DUI will be subject to a three-month licence suspension, even if they are not convicted of a crime. This will also apply if the driver refuses to perform a roadside test or use an ASD, as well as if the driver blows a “fail” on an ASD.

These suspensions also lead to a 5 level decrease in your Driver Safety Rating. A licence reinstatement fee will need to be paid. In addition, you may be subject to:

  • Vehicle impoundment
  • A mandatory Impaired Driver Assessment at your expense
  • Participation in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • A $700 fine for refusing an ASD

Canada’s penalties for DUI

Manitoba’s penalties are quite strict, but they’re just the start. If you meet the federal thresholds for DUI, or you refuse roadside testing, you can be charged with a criminal offence. If you’re convicted, the penalties can be severe. From the Government of Canada’s impaired driving laws page:

Take a good look at this chart. Mandatory minimum fines of $1000 – $2000. Up to 10 years of imprisonment – and much more if bodily harm or death is caused.

And this chart only tells part of the story. Criminal records can follow you around for your whole life – and to receive a pardon, you have to wait at least 5 years (for a summary conviction) or 10 years (for an indictment) before you even apply. 

Charged with impaired driving? Call a lawyer right away

With penalties as harsh as the ones we just laid out, it’s essential that you call a lawyer right away. A good attorney will defend you against DUI charges. Need a DUI Lawyer in Winnipeg? Call us today