Impaired driving, which means driving when your ability is affected by alcohol and or drugs, is a crime and you can be convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada. As a result, you may lose your licence, be fined, or spend time in jail and you will have a criminal record.

Consequences for impaired driving in Ontario/Canada are significant and include:

  • Roadside Suspension
  • Drivers with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of between .05 and .08 mg/ml are immediately suspended from driving for a period of not less than 12 hours ( G1 & G2 drivers face greater consequences).

Administrative Driver Licence Suspension

A driver charged with a drinking and driving criminal code offence ( “operating a vehicle with a BAC of over .08” or “ refusing to provide a breath sample”) is suspended from driving for 90 days, before anything else even happens.

Minimum Penalties for a First Offence Federal Consequences . Criminal record. One year driving prohibition. Minimum fine of $600

Provincial Consequences, reinstatement conditions

  • One year licence suspension. Assessment for alcohol use and Back on Track program $578 plus GST.
  • Ignition interlock device for 1 year $1500 and you may have to wait 4 months to get the device which adds to your suspension time. Licence reinstatement Fee $150

Associated Costs

  • Costs for your own legal counsel to represent you in court can range from $5000 to $15,000 depending on the lawyer you choose.
  • Increased insurance premiums of a minimum $5,000 – $10,000 annually for at least 5 years Minimum cost to a first- time offender for impaired driving is total about $20,000

Drivers who fail to comply with suspensions and restrictions face other sanctions including vehicle impoundment, fines and additional conditions.

Both the federal and provincial governments make changes to the legislation from time to time. Individuals wishing to be certain of the current consequences should check further.

Repeat offenders face greater consequences


Consequences under the Highway Traffic Act

Minimum Penalties under the Criminal Code

First Offence

  • 1 year licence suspension*
  • Remedial measures requirement
  • Minimum 1 year ignition interlock condition upon reinstatement
  • 1 year driving prohibition
  • $600 fine minium

Second Offence

  • 3-year licence suspension*
  • Remedial measures requirement
  • Minimum 3 years ignition interlock condition upon reinstatement
  • 2-year driving prohibition
  • 14-day jail sentence

Third Offence

  • Lifetime licence suspension*
    (reducible to 10 years if remedial measures requirement and other conditions met)
  • Ignition interlock condition for life if suspension reduced
  • 3-year driving prohibition
  • 90-day jail sentence

Fourth and Subsequent Offence

  • Lifetime licence suspension*
  • No possibility of reinstatement
  • Lifetime licence suspension*
  • Same as third offence