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The Cost of Impaired Driving

We all know that impaired driving has a huge cost on our society, with the loss of lives, injuries and damage to property. But it also has a direct financial cost on those who are charged with the offence. Here is what you could expect to pay should you be charged or convicted of impaired driving in Ontario. 

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Administrative Licence Suspension: Upon arrest, an individual's licence is suspended for 90 days and the vehicle impounded for 7 days. There is a $180 administrative penalty.

Legal fees: In order to avoid any other fees, a person would need to be found not guilty after a trial. Legal fees for that could range from $5000 to $10000 or more, depending on the complexity of the case and the length of the trial.

Should a person be convicted of impaired driving, then they can expect following costs:

Fine: There is a mandatory sentence of a minimum $1000 fine and a one year driving prohibition for first time offenders. The fine can be more depending on if there are elevated breath test readings or bad driving, including an accident.

Interlock Ignition: An individual can reduce the length of the driving prohibition by participating in the Interlock Ignition program. If one is found guilty within 3 months of the arrest, they are eligible to drive after 3 months of the conviction and then use the interlock system for 9 months. After three months, the individual can wait 6 months and then use the interlock system for 12 months. The monthly cost of an interlock device is about $124 to $128 a month, and then there is a removal fee of $56.50. (These are based on numbers from A 1 Lifesaver of Canada and Alcolock Canada Inc.)

If a person chooses not to partake in the interlock program, then they are not able to drive for the full driving prohition (1 year) and then the following licence suspension (1 year) for a total of 2 years.

Back on Track: There is a mandatory alcohol education program which must be completed before an individual can have their licence fully reinstated. The program costs $634 for assessment, education/treatment and follow-up.

Licence re-instatement fee: It costs another $180 to have your licence re-instated after completing the licence suspension.

Insurance: an impaired driving conviction will affect an individual's insurance premiums, which can cost up to a few thousand dollars a year.

To recap: If a person is convicted of an impaired driving charge, aside from legal fees, they could expect to pay the following: (Keep in mind that this is a conservative estimate of Interlock and the minimum fine.)

$180 Administrative fee

$1000 Fine

$1548.10 interlock (if Stream B; $1175.20 if Stream A)

$634 Back on Track

$150 Licence Re-instatement fee

Grand total: $3542.10

This of course does not include legal fees, a rise in insurance premiums and the possible effects of a criminal record on employment. The numbers certainly make the price of a cab or Uber pale in comparison.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday!

*The information contained in this blog post, as with all the blog post, is legal information and not legal advice. You can find more information at the Ministry of Transportation's website: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/impaired-driving.shtml

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