As vaccination numbers rise and things slowly start opening up again, one of the first things a lot of us will want to do is go out and celebrate with friends over a few drinks. After so many months of lockdown after lockdown, it’s finally time to blow off some steam!
But in your rush to get out of the house, don’t forget to plan your ride home — impaired driving has serious consequences that can affect your life for years.
If you have been charged with impaired driving of any kind, consider contacting Jeff Reisman Law for a free consultation. They have expert understanding and years of experience in helping clients fight this type of charge.
A common misconception around impaired driving is that as long as you stay below .08 blood alcohol you’re fine. But this isn’t actually true: young drivers under the age of 22 and new drivers (for example, if you’ve moved to Canada recently, you’re a new driver) are not permitted to drive with any alcohol in their system at all. This applies to cannabis as well — new drivers cannot have any THC in their system.
Even if you are an experienced driver, you can be penalized below the .08 level. Depending on where you live, between .05 and .08 police can impound your vehicle, suspend your license, and/or issue a fine, all of which can be a major inconvenience and (again, depending on where you live) can also appear on your permanent insurance record. For THC, the equivalent is between 2-5ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter of blood).
But what if you do blow over that .08 line, or over the 5ng/ml for THC? What are the potential impaired driving consequences?
In Canada, DUI convictions can result in up to 18 months in prison. That’s a year and a half away from family, not earning an income, and being unable to live a fulfilling life.
Even for a first-time offence, you will be unable to drive for a full year. If you have previous DUI convictions, you can lose your license for much longer — a second conviction will result in a 2-5 year suspension and a third conviction can be anywhere from 3 years to life. This is more than just an inconvenience; depending on where you live, losing the ability to drive can prevent you from finding work.
Insuring a vehicle isn’t cheap at the best of times. With a DUI conviction under your belt, your premiums will skyrocket, and it can take years of incidence-free driving to bring those premiums back down. This can end up costing you thousands of dollars even beyond all of the other fines and costs associated with a conviction.
A DUI conviction will become part of your permanent criminal record. Having a record can cause serious problems, especially when it comes to work — in some industries, you will simply be ineligible for a job. Even if your work isn’t impacted, you may have difficulties when travelling, or volunteering for your child’s sports team or school trip.
Impaired driving is not something a lot of people do intentionally: after one too many drinks, it can seem easier to simply get behind the wheel than to go to the trouble of calling a cab or getting a friend to drive you home.
But a little bit of caution and forethought can save you years of difficulty, shame, and embarrassment, so if you’re drinking this summer, make sure you have a plan for how to get home.