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Know the Drunk Driving Laws in Ontario for Your Own Protection

Drunk driving laws are created to protect innocent people from drunk drivers and to protect drunk drivers from themselves. Unfortunately, some people insist on taking chances with their driving until someone finally gets hurt. To avoid that, Canada has enacted some of the most stringent drunk driving laws in the world. Here is a rundown of those laws. If you have any specific questions, then it is always best to contact a Toronto lawyer.

Let’s start by looking at the various thresholds that are used to determine whether or not you are driving while intoxicated. Every car accident lawyer knows that Canada has a zero tolerance for underage drunk driving. Any driver who is under the age of 21 and is caught with any alcohol at all in their system is immediately guilty of driving while intoxicated. There is no leeway for this, and there is no negotiation. If you are not old enough to legally drink alcohol, then the government will come down hard on you for drunk driving.

For drivers who are 21 and over, the legal threshold in the province of Ontario is .05 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). It is at that point where automatic administrative penalties apply that range from fines all the way up to a suspension of your license. The severity of the punishment depends on how many previous offenses you have had. Remember that you could be charged with other infractions as well, such as speeding or running a red light, provided that you committed those crimes while driving drunk.

If you have a .08 BAC, then you are getting into the range of criminal charges such as jail time. Once again, the province of Ontario has very strict guidelines on what punishments are handed out with each offense.

Now let’s take a look at the penalties. The minimum penalties for violating the Ontario driving under the influence (DUI) laws are:

  • First violation - $1,000 fine
  • Second violation – 30 days in jail
  • Third violation – 120 days in jail
  • Subsequent violations – 120 days in jail

The maximum penalties can range from 18 months in prison for habitual offenders to life in prison for those who cause a person’s death due to a DUI incident. If you are facing a DUI charge, then it is best to discuss your case with a lawyer and find out exactly what kind of penalty you are facing.

The smartest approach to drunk driving is to avoid it completely. Not only could you injure yourself, but you could injure an innocent person as well. Remember that it can take years for a single DUI charge to disappear from your record, and it can take years to recover from the financial and legal effects of a conviction as well.


For assistance with a personal injury and/or insurance claim, please email David Himelfarb at or call 1-855-446-7765, for a free case evaluation.

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