There are too many changes to outline all of them here. It is important that you speak to a lawyer to understand the full impact these changes may have on you or someone you care about. Here, however, are some of the highlights:

The section numbers of the offences in the Criminal Code all changed (see below).

The nature of the offences has changed:

  • Impaired driving (s. 253(1)(a)) became operating a conveyance while the ability to do so is impaired by alcohol (s. 320.14(1)(a)).
  • Driving with a blood alcohol level over 80 mg% (s. 253(1)(b)) became operating a conveyance within two hours of having a blood alcohol level at or exceeding the limit of 80 mg% (s. 320.14(1)(b)).

The penalties have changed. These may or may not apply to you. Make sure to speak to a lawyer before making any use of the following information.

  • With respect to fines, there used to be a mandatory minimum $1000.00 fine for impaired driving-related offences. After December 18, 2018, the minimum fines depend on the results of the breath tests. Refusals or failures to comply with demands for breath, bodily substances or sobriety tests, will result in a minimum $2000.00 fine (s. 320.19).
  • With respect to the driving disqualification period, the mandatory minimum remains a one year driving prohibition. However, before December 18, 2018, a person convicted would have to wait three months before being able to access Ignition Interlock which would allow the person to drive for the remaining nine months. After December 18, 2018, a Court may allow a convicted person access to Ignition Interlock without any mandatory wait period, allowing the person to drive for the 12 month prohibition (S. 320.24).

An officer who has a screening device in his or her possession may stop a vehicle for a sobriety or document check and require the driver to blow into the device without having grounds even to suspect that there has been consumption of alcohol.