What Are the Charges for Impaired Driving in BC?

The charges for impaired driving in British Columbia depend on whether your blood alcohol content is in the ‘fail’ range or the ‘warn’ range.

If it is in the warn range, the charges depend on whether this is your first, second or third ‘warn’ reading in the past five years.

If it is in the fail range, or you refuse to provide a specimen without a reasonable excuse, the charges depend on whether you are given an immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) or charged under the Criminal Code. This will be decided by the attending police officer.

 

When will I be charged with impaired driving in BC?

To understand the penalties you could face for impaired driving in British Columbia, you need to know the difference between a ‘fail’ reading and a ‘warn’ reading.

Under Canadian federal law, you are over the legal drink drive limit if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is equal to or exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. So, if you blow into an approved screening device (ASD) and you register a reading of 0.08 or over, it is considered a ‘fail’ reading.

If you refuse to provide a specimen without a reasonable excuse, you are automatically deemed to have registered a ‘fail’ reading.

In British Columbia, there are also consequences if you have 50 milligrams of alcohol or more in 100 millilitres of blood. So, if you blow into an ASD and you register a reading of 0.05 to 0.08, it is considered a ‘warn’ reading. Due to these provincial laws, BC actually has some of the toughest drink driving laws in Canada.

 

What are the charges for impaired driving in British Columbia?

The charges for impaired driving in BC depend largely on whether you register a ‘fail’ or a ‘warn’ reading.

Warn readings

If you register a warn reading on an approved screening device, you will be given an immediate roadside prohibition (IRP). The length of the driving ban depends on how many warn readings you have registered in the past five years.

If it is your first warn reading in five years, you will be issued with a three-day IRP. This means that:

  • Your driver’s licence is immediately seized and you cannot drive for three days
  • Your vehicle may be towed and impounded for three days – you’ll have to cover the costs
  • You must pay a $200 penalty
  • You must apply to have your licence reinstated if you wish to drive again

If it is your second warn reading in five years, you will be issued with a seven-day IRP. This means that:

  • Your driver’s licence is immediately seized and you cannot drive for seven days
  • Your vehicle may be towed and impounded for seven days – you’ll have to cover the costs
  • You must pay a $300 penalty
  • You must apply to have your licence reinstated if you wish to drive again
  • You may be referred to the Responsible Driver Program

If it is your third warn reading in five years, you will be issued with a 30-day IRP. This means that:

  • Your driver’s licence is immediately seized and you cannot drive for 30 days
  • Your vehicle is towed and impounded for 30 days – you’ll have to cover the costs
  • You must pay a $400 penalty
  • You must apply to have your licence reinstated if you wish to drive again
  • You may be referred to the Responsible Driver Program
  • You may be referred to the Ignition Interlock Program

Fail readings/refuse to provide a sample

If you register a fail reading on an approved screening device, or you refuse to provide a sample, you will be issued with a 90-day IRP. This means that:

  • Your driver’s licence is immediately seized and you cannot drive for 90 days
  • Your vehicle is towed and impounded for 30 days – you’ll have to cover the costs
  • You must pay a $500 penalty
  • You must apply to have your licence reinstated if you wish to drive again
  • You may be referred to the Responsible Driver Program
  • You may be referred to the Ignition Interlock Program

Charged under the Criminal Code of Canada

Alternatively, if you register a fail reading/refuse to provide a specimen, the police may decide to charge you under the Criminal Code of Canada instead. Rather than a 90-day IRP, you will be handed a 90-day administrative driving prohibition (ADP). Your case will then be heard in court.

If the court finds you guilty of impaired driving, you may receive:

  • A minimum fine of $1,000
  • A driving ban
  • A jail sentence
  • A referral to the Responsible Driver Program
  • A referral to the Ignition Interlock Program

Graduated Licencing Program

Special rules apply to those under the Graduated Licensing Program. If you are a learner or novice driver and there is any presence of alcohol or drugs in your system, you:

  • Get an immediate 12-hour licence suspension
  • Have your driving record reviewed and may face further penalties
  • Must apply to have your driving licence reinstated
  • Have to start at the beginning of your 24-month licensing period, if you are a novice driver

 

Vancouver impaired driving lawyers

It is possible to dispute both an immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) and an administrative driving prohibition (ADP). In each case, you have just seven days in which to request a review. We can manage the review process on your behalf, working to save your licence and get your driving privileges restored.

 

 

Call a Vancouver impaired driving lawyer now – 604-688-8588

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