Drinking and Driving: What You Should Know


The law is strict when it comes to drinking and driving. So learn what the law says, obey the law and share this information with your friends and family.


1 - Breath Sample Test: Refusing to take the test is a crime

It's a crime to refuse to blow into an approved screening device used by patrol officers. The punishments are the same as for impaired driving: a fine, going to jail, losing your licence and getting a criminal record.

The police can only use this test if they have reasons to think that you've been drinking, for example, if they smell alcohol on your breath.

The police can also test your physical coordination to see if you're fit to drive.

If you're arrested or detained, you have the right to speak to a lawyer and remain silent.


2 - 0.08 Is Not the Same as Impaired Driving

If you drink and drive, you could be committing several crimes including impaired driving and exceeding the legal blood-alcohol level.

It's a crime to drive with a blood-alcohol level over 0.08 grams in 100 millilitres of blood (the famous 0.08). Your blood-alcohol level is measured at the police station. If it's above the legal limit, you've committed a crime even if your reflexes and coordination are good. 

It's also a crime to drive while impaired due to alcohol, medications, drugs or a combination of these things. In this case, the crime is impaired driving. Even if your blood-alcohol level is not above the legal limit, you could still be impaired.  

Zero Tolerance for New Drivers

Drivers under 22 are not allowed to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol. The same is true for drivers with a learner's licence or a probationary licence.

They risk, among other things, having their licence suspended, getting demerit points and a fine.


3 - Only Two Beers? Not an Excuse!

You think you can drive because you had "only two beers"? Think again!

You'll have a very hard time convincing a judge with this argument if you fail the breath sample test.

You'll have to raise a reasonable doubt that the device wasn't working properly or wasn't properly used.


4 - Sobering Up in Your Car: Bad Idea!

If you're in control of a car and your blood-alcohol level is over 0.08, or you are impaired, you're committing a crime. Except in rare cases, just sitting in your car when your blood-alcohol level is over the legal limit is a crime, even if the engine isn't running.


5 - Consequences if you're found guilty

The consequences can be very serious: a fine, losing your licence, going to jail and getting a criminal record.


Read our articles on Drinking and Driving and Driving While Impaired.