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drunk driving, Drunk Driving

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The expression "Drunk Driving" or "Drunken Driving" is used both in Canada and the United States

The words "drunk driving" and "drunken driving" are used by governments, lobby groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), media reports about drunk driving, and some members of the public to describe the operation of a motor vehicle while in a state of incapacity to drive due to alcoholic or drug intoxication. The consumption of alcohol or a drug can result in reduced vision, perception, reaction, and competence. Drunk driving is a completely different concept than "drinking and driving". The expression "drunk driving" is not found in the Criminal Code of Canada. Canada has two main substantive drunk driving criminal offences of impaired operation or care or control and over 80 operation or care or control:

253. Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person's ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or

(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person's blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

Impaired operation or care or control in Canada includes operation or care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft while one's ability to operate is impaired by alcohol or a drug to any degree of impairment. This drunk driving offence is proven by evidence of bad driving and various indicia of impairment observed such as slurred speech, difficulty with standing walking turning, red glassy glossy bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, odor odour of an alcoholic beverage, complexion flushed face, and performance on physical tests.

The drunk driving offence of excess blood alcohol or over 80 is usually proven by breath tests that determine blood alcohol concentration using and approved instrument such as a Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer. Blood tests are used in drunk driving cases where breath tests are not practical.

The usual penalty for a first Drunk Driving offence in Canada is a fine. The minimum second Drunk Driving offence penalty is 30 days in jail. The minimum penalty for a third Drunk Driving offence is 120 days in jail. There is always a drunk driving prohibition on driving and the local province will suspend a drunk driving offender's driver's licence.

If a US citizen or other non-Canadian citizen is convicted of a drunk driving offence in the USA or a drunk driving offence in any country other than Canada, the drunk driving offender will be inadmissible to Canada on grounds of criminality, unless rehabilitated, because the drunk driving offence is deemed to be a Canadian drunk driving offence and all Canadian drunk driving offences are deemed indictable (similar to a US felony - see above) unless the Crown has elected to proceed with the drunk driving offence by summary conviction (which will never have happened because the drunk driving offense occurred outside Canada. The situation will be different if the drunk driving offence occurs in Canada and the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction which they normally do.

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Drunk Driving or drunken driving is an important concept used in the United States.





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Copyright 2018 Stephen Biss



Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor

470 Hensall Circle, Suite 303
Mississauga, Ontario
L5A 3V4

905-273-3322  or 1-877-273-3322


Advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the Province of Ontario, Canada only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult a lawyer, solicitor, or attorney in your own jurisdiction. WARNING: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein.