Mandatory Minimum Penalties For Impaired Driving

All impaired driving charges carry the same penalties.

In other words, an Impaired Driving is no different than an Over 80 and the Care and Control Impaired is no different than your standard full Care and Control Over 80.

For the first charge, the mandatory minimum sentence is a $1000 fine, and a 1 year prohibition of driving–a license suspension.

What is significant about these things is that the $1000 fine is only the first step. In Ontario there is a defined surcharge tagged on top of that which brings you up over $1100. Your insurance premium will bring the cost up even higher because they specifically increase premiums by about three to five times for a conviction of impaired driving. When you look at that over 3 to 5 years, depending on your insurance company, the financial cost of an impaired driving charge is very high.

Often what concerns people even more is the 1-year mandatory driving suspension. In Ontario there are no exceptions for employment; there are no exceptions for certain times of the year or certain times of the week. The convicted person is stuck with that 12-month serious suspension to his or her life.

Because of the mandatory minimum in impaired driving, it is very rare that anybody says that this penalty is something they are going to be comfortable accepting. The reality is that if you take the case to trial and lose, because the mandatory minimum are so severe, it is also very unlikely that a judge will order you anything worse than that. And so that is why we tell clients on a regular basis, you have nothing to lose except for the legal fees.

There is a step-up approach when it comes to the subsequent conviction. When people are charged and convicted the second time, they start getting into some very serious mandatory minimum penalties. For example, a second time impaired driving charge contains a minimum of 30 days in jail and there is no way around that. The 3rd time carries a mandatory minimum of 120 days. Similarly the, mandatory minimum suspension periods increase along those lines as well. If you have enough history, you could lose your license for a lifetime.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Toronto,Ontario Region, contact Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman for a consultation.

This information is taken from an interview from , September 17, 2008 with Ed Prutschi, Criminal Lawyer with Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman, a Toronto Criminal Defence Law Firm. The article is provided as an information service only and should not be used as legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction so please consult with an appropriate legal professional if you are looking for help with a specific situation.