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07.30.2016 | AUTO

Impaired Driving Conviction & Your Insurance

According to Statistics Canada, 15,280 Ontarians were convicted of Impaired Driving 2015. Impaired Driving is the act of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and, under the Criminal Code of Canada, you may face any of the following penalties:

  • License suspension
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Administrative monetary penalty in addition to the conviction fine
  • Requirement to attend an education or treatment program
  • Requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
  • Jail time

For repeat offenders, the penalties can be even more severe and can even result a Lifetime License Suspension. It’s also important to remember that, if convicted, you will now have a Criminal Record. And, as a result, you may face other challenges unrelated to driving such as difficulty travelling internationally or finding work in the many industries where criminal record checks have become standard.

Driving with Blood-Alcohol Concentration over 0.08 is a criminal offence.

Many Ontarians are surprised to learn that they can also face similarly severe penalties for impaired driving of a snowmobile, off-road vehicle, boat and even a non-motorized vessel such as kayaks, canoes and rafts. So, whether you are planning to be on the road, trail or water, it’s important to understand the laws.

To avoid these penalties, some Ontarians choose to seek legal counsel and fight the charge. If you fight the charge, you must still adhere to any roadside penalties such as a license suspension. A roadside suspension will still appear on your driving record and may affect your insurance premium. However, you may prevent further penalties and insurance rate increases if you are successful in your case.

Important: A Warn Range Suspension may be issued if you register a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08. A Warn Range Suspension is not a criminal offense but can still have an impact on your insurance premium.

If you are convicted of Impaired Driving, you’ll be required to adhere to the penalties according to your offence. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to drive again as early as 1 year from the date of your conviction. And, if you’re eligible for the Reduced Suspension Ignition Interlock Program, you may be back on the road in as little as 3 months. However, even with a reduced suspension, the charge remains on your record and your insurance can be affected for up to 5 years from the date of your conviction.

The best way to combat high fees associated with an Impaired Driving conviction is to adhere to your court-mandated penalties and work hard to keep a clean driving record after your conviction. Most importantly, when you practice good driving habits, you’ll be helping keep you, your passengers and other drivers safe.

Tips to Avoid Impaired Driving

  • Plan responsible transportation ahead of time
  • Arrange transportation for house guests if you are serving alcohol
  • Be sure to read medication labels carefully and talk to your doctor or pharmacists about side effects that may impair your driving
  • Know the rules when it comes to Impaired Driving on the trail, road or water

To find out more about Impaired Driving in Ontario, visit the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario’s website:

Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
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