Driving While Impaired by Drugs

If the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that your ability to drive is impaired by drugs, they can demand that you proceed with them to the police station for a drug evaluation. A specially trained police officer will perform a set of physical observations and tests. If the evaluation is positive, the officer will then demand that you provide a sample of your blood, saliva or urine for a drug test. You have the right to speak to a lawyer before providing these samples.

The federal Liberal government recently released its long-awaited suite of bills that will legalize recreational marijuana consumption and sales in Canada as of July 2018, promising a "strict legal framework" for the production, sale, distribution and possession of marijuana. Included in this strict legal framework, is the Government's commitment to creating new and stronger laws to punish more severely those who drive while under the influence of drugs, including cannabis. Today, the Government has introduced legislation that would strengthen existing drug-impaired driving laws and create a regime that would be among the strongest in the world, particularly where cannabis is legal.

Here is what could happen if you are convicted of impaired driving by alcohol or drug and or refusal to provide a sample of breath or bodily substance:

Pursuant to s.253. (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

  • while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
  • having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

Pursuant to s. 254(5) Every commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand made by police office to provide a sample in the roadside screening device or the intoxilyzer.

The punishment for these offences is set out in Section 255 of the Criminal Code of Canada:

255. (1) Every one who commits an offence under section 253 or 254 is guilty of an indictable offence or an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable,

  • whether the offence is prosecuted by indictment or punishable on summary conviction, to the following minimum punishment, namely,
  • where the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and
  • if the offence is punishable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months.
  • for a first offence, a fine of not less than $1,000,
  • for a second offence, to imprisonment for not less than 30 days, and
  • for each subsequent offence, to imprisonment of no less than 120 days;

Committed to helping clients charged with impaired driving

If you were arrested for impaired driving, it is essential to have a qualified criminal defence lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to conduct a successful defence. If you are dependent on your driver’s license for your livelihood, Michel Fontaine will ensure that he utilizes every reasonable defence to avoid the loss of your driver’s license. Michel Fontaine is very knowledgeable about the impaired driving laws. He will analyze every aspect of your case — from the initial traffic stop by police, including all their obligations under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to any other relevant defence.

Michel Fontaine has taken on clients from all over Alberta and in the past has conducted many successful impaired trials in the following communities:

  • Edmonton and Surrounding Area
  • Ft. McMurray
  • Grande Prairie
  • Peace River
  • Bonnyville
  • Cold Lake
  • Lloydminster
  • Southern Alberta

To schedule a consultation, call Michel G. Fontaine at 780-424-8600 today or contact me online.