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Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm: Sentence & Charges

Criminal Charges
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

There are many misconceptions about impaired driving causing bodily harm sentences and charges.

One of the biggest is that you must have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 (80 milligrams) or over to be charged with impaired driving. Unfortunately, this can lead people to presume, because they have not had “too many”, they cannot be charged with impaired driving. 

According to the provisions of the “Operation While Impaired” offence under paragraph 253 of the Criminal Code of Canada:

253 (1) 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.

In other words, under the law, you can be considered “impaired” while driving a motor vehicle even if your BAC is below 80 milligrams.

Maximum sentences for impaired driving (DWI) convictions are identical to those of driving under the influence (DUI – over 80 milligrams BAC) convictions.

Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm Sentences

Canada recently introduced new, more stringent impaired driving laws and they are now among the toughest in the world. 

While the maximum penalty for summary convictions of DWI and DUI are 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fines, impaired driving causing bodily harm is a more serious, indictable offence and liable for a maximum penalty of imprisonment for a term of 10 years. In addition to fines and being liable to imprisonment, sentencing penalties can include driving prohibitions for many years following conviction.

Considering the potential severity of sentencing, you should get the legal advice of a criminal lawyer with experience and expertise in defending against impaired driving causing bodily harm charges to ensure your full rights are protected.
If you found this article helpful, check out our post “First Offence Dui: 4 Things You Should Know”.

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