Law & Legal

Understanding Impaired Driving Laws in Canada

Impaired driving is a serious offence that poses a significant risk to public safety. In Canada, strict laws are in place to deter and penalize individuals who operate vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is crucial for all Canadians to have a clear understanding of these impaired driving laws to promote responsible and safe driving practices. 

This article aims to provide an informative overview of impaired driving laws in Canada, focusing on key aspects such as the legal limits, penalties, and the role of skilled defence lawyers.

Driving Laws

I. Legal Limits and Types of Impairment:

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits:

  • In Canada, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeding 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08%).
  • For novice drivers and commercial drivers, the legal limit is even lower, with a maximum BAC of 0.05% and 0.04% respectively.

Drug Impairment:

  • In addition to alcohol, operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs is also prohibited under Canadian law.
  • Drugs can include both illegal substances and certain prescription medications that impair driving abilities.

II. Penalties for Impaired Driving:

Criminal Charges and License Suspension:

  • Impaired driving offences are treated as criminal offences in Canada, which means that offenders can face severe penalties, including imprisonment.
  • Upon arrest, drivers may have their licenses suspended immediately, even before any court proceedings take place.

Mandatory Minimum Penalties:

  • Canada has implemented mandatory minimum penalties for impaired driving offences to deter potential offenders.
  • These penalties vary depending on factors such as the offender’s BAC level, prior convictions, and whether any injuries or fatalities occurred as a result of impaired driving.

Financial Consequences:

  • Impaired driving convictions can result in significant financial consequences, including fines, increased insurance premiums, and legal fees.

III. Role of Skilled Defence Lawyers:

Legal Representation:

  • When facing impaired driving charges, it is essential to seek legal representation from skilled defence lawyers who specialize in impaired driving cases.
  • Skilled defence lawyers have the expertise and knowledge to navigate the complex legal system, ensuring their clients receive fair treatment and a strong defence.

Building a Strong Defence Strategy:

  • Skilled defence lawyers thoroughly analyze the evidence and circumstances surrounding the impaired driving charge to build a robust defence strategy.
  • They may challenge the legality of the traffic stop, question the accuracy of breathalyzer tests or blood samples, or present alternative explanations for observed impairment.

Negotiating Plea Bargains:

  • In some cases, skilled defence lawyers may negotiate with prosecutors to reach a plea bargain that results in reduced charges or penalties.
  • This can be particularly valuable for first-time offenders who are willing to acknowledge their mistakes and take appropriate steps towards rehabilitation.


Remember, impaired driving has severe consequences, including criminal charges, license suspension, and financial burdens. Let us all take a stand against impaired driving and make responsible choices to keep our roads safe.

If you or someone you know is facing impaired driving charges, don’t hesitate to reach out to skilled defence lawyers who specialize in impaired driving cases. They can provide the guidance and legal representation needed to navigate the legal system effectively. Take the necessary steps to protect your rights and future.