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Ontario dui laws, DUI laws in Ontario, Canada, Ontario D.U.I.: driving under the influence laws in Ontario, Canada


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The words dui laws, DUI law, D.U.I, and "driving under the influence", are used by DUI lawyers and DUI attorneys in  United  States DUI Law. The expression "DUI" is not found in the Criminal Code of Canada. In Ontario, Canada we use terminology other than DUI or "driving under the influence". We use the words "impaired driving" or "impaired operation", or "impaired care or control" but not "driving under the influence" or "driving under impairment". In Ontario, Canada it is any impairment by alcohol or a drug of one's ability to operate a motor vehicle combined with operation that is forbidden, not "driving under impairment" or "driving under the influence" (DUI). It is also a "DUI" criminal offence in Ontario, Canada to drive having more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 mls of blood whether one's ability to drive is "influenced" (DUI) or not . 

Canada has two main substantive DUI law criminal offences:

  1. impaired operation or care or control,

  2. over 80 operation or care or control

Section 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 Ontario, 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 DUI 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 DUI 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 900 900A or Intoxilyzer 5000C. Blood tests are used in DUI cases where breath tests are not practical to provide evidence of blood alcohol concentration.

Both Canadian DUI offences are federal criminal law offences. The Crown in Ontario, Canada can prosecute a DUI in either of two ways. DUI offences are hybrid offences in Canada. The Crown may prosecute a DUI offence by indictment (roughly similar to a US felony DUI) or they may prosecute a DUI offence by summary conviction (roughly similar to a US misdemeanor). The local Ontario Crown Attorney must elect whether to proceed with the D.U.I. by indictment or by summary conviction. Until he or she elects, the DUI offence is deemed to be prosecuted by indictment. Most Canadian DUI offences are prosecuted by summary conviction.

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

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



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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.