New Interlock Laws for Drinking and Driving Charges


Until recently, an Ontario drunk-driving conviction meant one year of no driving, followed by another year of driving with an interlock ignition device – a machine that prevents impaired vehicle operation.

Effective August 1, the Criminal Code of Canada has been reworked to give first-time impaired driving offenders an alternative to a 12-month driving suspension.

There are now two types of rehabilitative programs offered to first-time offenders:

Stream A

  • Available to those who plead guilty to impaired driving within 90 days of being charged with the offence.
  • Minimum of three months’ driving suspension, followed by nine months of leasing and using the interlock ignition device
  • Offender must also complete an assessment program through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Stream B

  • Available to those who are found guilty at trial, or who plead guilty more than 90 days after the date of the offence.
  • Minimum of six months of driving suspension, followed by 12 months of leasing and using an ignition interlock device.

More detailed information on these two programs can be found at the MTO’s helpful web page entitled Ontario’s Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program.

These programs are not a privilege available to anyone. In order to qualify, you must have been convicted after August 3, 2010. If your offence involved drug use, or caused bodily harm, you are not eligible for either program.

Ignition interlock devices are an effective rehabilitation tool, but they’re expensive for the drivers who have to use them. Installing the unit costs $200, and it costs about $150 per month to keep using it.

If you’re charged with an impaired driving offence, you may be able to win your case and avoid driving suspensions as well as the costs associated with an interlock device. It’s best to seek advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone (613) 233-4529.

Quebec Seeks Dangerous Offender Status for Impaired Driver

It’s a legal provision generally reserved for the very worst criminals.

A Quebec prosecutor has applied to designate a repeat impaired driver who killed a 47 year old woman last year a dangerous offender.  Although it is unlikely that this application will succeed, it sends a message that Quebec Crown attorneys are getting tougher on impaired driving, over 80 driving and related criminal charges.

If you have been charged with impaired driving, driving over 80, dui or any related criminal charge, get the expert advice you require.  For a free consultation with an experienced Ottawa impaired driving lawyer, click here.