Impaired Driving Laws In Canada

Canada takes a harsh stance on impaired driving. Across the country, there are strict limitations when it comes to driving while under the influence of mind-altering substances, including alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamines, and more. 

There are federal and provincial laws about impaired driving; depending on which province you live in, you may face different consequences if you’re convicted of a DUI.

We’re going to cover the legal limits for regulated substances, and some of the consequences you may face if you are caught driving while impaired:

Federal DUI Laws

In the Criminal Code of Canada, the federal legal limit of blood-alcohol concentration (or BAC) is 0.08%. If you have 5 or more nanograms of THC per ml of blood, it is considered impaired driving. 

But what if you mixed cannabis with alcohol? In that case, you cannot exceed a BAC of 0.05% and 2.5 nanograms of THC per ml of blood. 

Types Of Impaired Driving

On the road, things can change in a matter of seconds. Drugs and alcohol can inhibit your ability to make decisions and control your motor skills. We’re going to cover a few substances that may cause impairment:

  • Alcohol: For new drivers or those who are underage, there is zero tolerance for any BAC level higher than 0%. If you’ve had your licence for several years, the legal limit in Manitoba is 0.08% BAC. 
  • Cannabis (THC): While cannabis was legalized in 2018, it’s still illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence. Even if you use cannabis for medical purposes, you are prohibited from driving while under the influence. 
  • Medication: Medications that may impair your driving ability include anti-seizure drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids, certain antihistamines, stimulants, and medications for nausea.

If you are under the influence of any drug or medication, we recommend staying out of the driver’s seat. 

Police officers can assess your level of impairment in several ways. They can perform a breath test to detect alcohol in your system. To detect THC, they may use a saliva test. Refusing to provide samples for these tests will result in a licence suspension. 

Law enforcers also use roadside tests that assess your motor ability or mental state. These include asking the driver to walk in a straight line, stand on one leg, or follow a moving object with their eyes.

Penalties For DUIs In Manitoba

If you are caught driving while impaired, the first consequence is an immediate licence suspension. 

Along with licence suspensions, you may need to pay fines or serve jail time. You could be mandated to attend a rehabilitation program. The amount and duration of these punishments will vary based on the number of offences and the severity of the crime. 

With subsequent offences, punishments become more severe. You may be required to enter the Ignition Interlock Program, where a device is installed on your vehicle that requires a breath sample before the vehicle can be used. If you blow over the pre-set BAC limit, the vehicle will not start. 

How A Criminal Lawyer Can Help

Have you been charged with an impaired driving offence? You might feel like you’re out of options, or that the evidence gathered against you is irrefutable. 

In all circumstances, you have the right to speak with a criminal lawyer. Legal representation is paramount if you are facing criminal charges of any nature. To speak with a defence lawyer today, contact Brodsky Amy & Gould | Criminal Lawyer