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Drug-Impaired Driving: What You Need to Know

Criminal Charges
Jason Baxter
Operating a conveyance after you have consumed drugs, whether prescription or recreational, can be considered impaired driving. Drugs can affect a driver’s motor skills, reaction time, concentration, and ability to make decisions. All of these can lead to collisions causing harm to drivers, their passengers and other road users. In 2018, the Criminal Code changed adding specific limits for certain drugs, much like alcohol, a person can have in their body while operating a motor vehicle.
Here is what you need to know about driving on drugs.


If you are suspected of operating a conveyance such as a vehicle or even a vessel such as a boat or canoe while your ability to do so is impaired by drugs a police officer has a number of options which can immediately impact you, such as:
• Immediate license suspension
• Fines
• Vehicle impoundment
• Custody – whether in jail or house arrest
• Criminal record
It is important to know the penalties for drug-impaired driving are very similar, and in some ways more severe, than alcohol-impaired driving.  In many circumstances, the measurable amount of drugs in your body is either zero or is such a small amount that you may not even realize you are over the legally prescribed level while you are operating a conveyance (including boats, ATVs, trucks, snowmobiles, and any off-roading vehicles) and this includes medical cannabis another prescription drugs.

Medicinal Marijuana Users

Even if you are using drugs, like marijuana, for medical reasons, you will not be exempt from the penalties. If your ability to drive has been compromised, then you are considered an impaired driver. For medicinal marijuana users, you should have an alternative transportation method in place if your medicine may lead to you becoming impaired or under the influence and you have the need to travel.

How To Avoid Impaired Driving

If you know you will be consuming drugs, plan ahead so you will not be tempted to operate a vehicle. The impairing effects of drugs can last many hours and the measurable amount may be in your system for days for experienced users or users who have consumed a large quantity of drugs. Make other transportation arrangements or find a sober driver who can safely bring you home. The best way to avoid driving impaired is simply not to take the chance.
If you have any questions or are charged with operating a vehicle while impaired by drug please give the lawyers at X-Copper Law Firm a call, we have many experienced lawyers who specialize in these offences.  While each case is different we can potentially have your criminal charge withdrawn, lessened to another offence, or assist you in defending the matter at trial.
If you liked this blog, check out this one on, “The Rules for Driving in an HOV Lane.”


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