Proposed Law Would Toughen Drunk Driving Penalties

In June 2015, federal lawmakers introduced a bill that, if passed, would make several major changes to driving-related offences. The proposed law, called the “Dangerous and Impaired Driving Act,” (“the Act”) would also repeal certain sections of the Criminal Code and replace them with new provisions.

The Act’s preamble states that it seeks to “simplify the law relating to the proof of blood alcohol concentration” and to “protect the public from the dangers posed by consuming large quantities of alcohol immediately before driving.”

Increased Penalties for Impaired Motorists Who Cause Death

Under current law, motorists who cause a fatality while driving impaired face a minimum penalty of a $1,000 fine. The Act would increase the minimum penalty from a fine to a six-year prison sentence. The same provision would also apply to motorists who cause a death and refuse to submit to a breath test.

Elimination of Bolus Drinking Defence

The Act also seeks to eliminate the so-called “bolus drinking defence” by changing the offence of driving with a blood alcohol level of greater than .08 per cent. Under the proposed law, an individual could be found guilty of exceeding the legal blood alcohol limit by driving with a blood alcohol level of greater than .08 per cent “within two hours of driving.” This would effectively prohibit people from claiming they ingested a large amount of alcohol immediately before driving (the bolus effect) but were sober when operating their vehicle.

Other Provisions

If passed, the new law would also change a number of other transportation-related provisions. Proposed sections would modify offences such as dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop after a motor vehicle collision, driving while prohibited, and failure to stop for police.

Ottawa, Ontario Criminal Defence

Criminal defence lawyers Bruce Engel and Elena Davies have represented individuals and businesses charged with hundreds of different offences throughout Canada for more than two decades. From the start of a criminal investigation to the close of a trial, we will take a balanced and forceful approach to your defence. We have the experience and know-how to effectively navigate the constantly changing justice system in Canada.

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