Impaired Driving Penalties and Consequences/Costs

The $ and ¢ of it

Have you ever questioned the true value of a cab ride or a designated driver? Here’s an example of minimum costs to a first time convicted impaired driver:

Criminal Code Fine – $1000
Payable to the Government of Canada

Remedial Measures Program – $578
Payable to Back on Track + GST

Licence Reinstatement Fee – $150
Payable to the Ministry of Finance + GST

Increase in Insurance Costs – $18,000*
Payable to your insurance company in $6,000 increments each of the next 3 years
* minimum increase based on a perfect 6-star driving record

Ignition Interlock – $1,350
+installation. Pay to interlock provider

Court Costs – $2,000 – $10,000
Payable to your legal counsel

TOTAL – $23,078 (minimum) to $31,078 (could be more)

Immediate consequences for drivers in Ontario caught with a BAC of over .08 or who refuse to provide a breath sample include an immediate administrative 90-day licence suspension and seven day vehicle impoundment.

Minimum consequences for drivers convicted of: impaired driving, operating a vehicle with a BAC of over .08, or refusing to provide a breath sample are:

One-year driver licence suspension (reducible to three months under certain circumstances)

  • One-year ignition interlock condition upon reinstatement (up to three years for repeat offenders)
  • Back on Track program (alcohol assessment and education)
  • Minimum fine paid as part of federal consequences
  • Licence reinstatement fee
  • Increased insurance premiums ($6,000 annually for minimum three years)
  • Legal costs (if retained; paid to your own legal counsel)
  • Criminal Record

Since 2009 consequences for drivers in the warn range (.05 to .08) have increased and now include: immediate suspensions of 3, 7 and 30 days; education and treatment for alcohol use; and six month ignition interlock licence restrictions. The increased sanctions are for “repeat offenders”.

Drivers aged 21 and under and novice drivers must have a zero BAC and zero cannabis when driving. Otherwise they face:

  • an immediate 24-hour licence suspension, or
  • a 30-day suspension and up to $500 in fines

Repeat offenders face greater consequences and longer licence suspensions.

Impaired boaters face the same consequences as impaired drivers.