New impaired driving laws have come into effect across Canada today.
Some of the changes affect roadside breath samples. Police officers will now be able to demand a roadside breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver to determine whether a person has alcohol in their body without first having to suspect the motorist has been drinking. Until now, officers had to have a reasonable suspicion that a driver had alcohol in their body before demanding a sample.
The new law also bumps up the maximum penalties for many alcohol-impaired driving offences.
The new penalties are:
First offence, with blood alcohol content of 80-119 mg: mandatory minimum $1,000 fine
First offence, with blood alcohol content of 120-159 mg: mandatory minimum $1,500 fine
First offence, with blood alcohol content of 160 mg or more: mandatory minimum $2,500 fine
First offence, but refuse to be tested: mandatory minimum $2,000 fine
Second offence: mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
Third or more offence: mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
Maximum penalties for impaired driving causing no bodily harm or death: summary conviction carries two years less a day imprisonment, indictment carries 10 years imprisonment
Maximum penalties for impaired driving causing bodily harm: Summary conviction for less severe injuries carries two years less a day imprisonment, indictment carries 14 years imprisonment
Maximum penalty impaired driving causing death: life imprisonment
Changes to both drug and alcohol impaired driving come as part of the former Bill C-46.