The real toll of an impaired driving offence

Every year, tens of thousands of Canadians are involved in a drunk or drugged driving incident, and many more people are stopped before they get into an accident.

Because these offences are fairly common, people tend to underplay the consequences of a charge. However, the fact is that impaired driving charges can take a surprisingly tremendous toll on a person’s life. 

Loss of driving privileges

A driver’s license is suspended for 90 days after they test above the legal limit for alcohol or after a drug evaluation determines a driver is impaired. Upon conviction, provincial laws extend this suspension to one year. This period is lengthier for subsequent offences.

Not having your license can be inconvenient and frustrating. You have to find alternative modes of transportation to work, social events and court appearances. And while you may be able to rely on friends or family for many trips, no one wants to be asking others for rides for a year.

Financial demands

An impaired driving offence results in expenses most people would rather avoid. There are costs associated with:

  • Missing work for court
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Legal expense
  • Job loss stemming from incarceration or license suspension
  • Fines, fees and penalties

These costs add up quite quickly, and they only get higher in the event of a conviction.

Personal and professional impact

If you are facing impaired driving allegations, you could be embarrassed. You could be experiencing strain in your personal relationships when loved ones are disappointed or angry with you, and they could be worried about substance abuse issues.

Further, a criminal charge could stain your professional reputation, and your employment status could be in jeopardy.

Legal repercussions

The consequences people are often most fearful of are of a legal nature. Depending on the details of a specific case, an alleged drunk or drugged driver could face:

  • Jail or prison time
  • Orders to complete a treatment program
  • Mandatory education programs
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

The repercussions of an impaired driving charge can be devastating and highly disruptive. Therefore, defending yourself will be crucial to protecting your livelihood, your reputation and your future.


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