Once we hit the month of December all the Christmas parties and festive holiday partying begins with a cheer, a toast or an all-out party that goes all day with food and lots of booze.
You start off with saying to yourself that you will only have one drink and before you know it you are up to several drinks and by the time you have to leave, you have lost count.
STOP…at this time, if you get into your car and drive this is what may happen to you.
Starting this week, the R.I.D.E. program kicks into effect.
R.I.D.E. stands for reduced impaired driving everywhere. It is an Ontario sobriety program that was established in 1977 with the purpose of reducing the number of tragic accidents and injuries resulting from impaired driving. This program has a narrow and specific mandate, which is to detect and deter drunk drivers. Conversely, this program cannot be a tool for arbitrarily detaining individuals without reasonable grounds and in violation of their rights under the Charter. In fact, there have been many instances of criminal proceedings where charges were dismissed because officers over-stepped their legal mandate in the course of administering a R.I.D.E. check.
The R.I.D.E. program provides police officers with the legal right to perform planned roadside checks to identify and charge drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of this program as a justification for stopping and checking drivers. In this regard, R.I.D.E. is unique as it gives officers the right to briefly detain and question driver even if there are no grounds or probable cause for believing that a driver is over the legal blood alcohol limit, impaired or has committed any offence. However, while executing this program, police are not authorized to perform other criminal investigations or searches, unconnected with the purpose of R.I.D.E.
If you are charged with drinking under the influence and plead or are found guilty, you will probably face a monetary penalty. The fine for a first-time conviction of impaired driving in Canada and the US is usually $1000. But it will ultimately depend on your case and the circumstances. This fine does not include fees for required treatment programs, impound and towing fees, license reinstatement fees and many more.
The suspension of your driver’s license is one of the most common things you should expect if convicted. Your license will be suspended for at least one year. You will need to meet certain conditions before the judge can return your license. For first-time convictions, you can have your license suspension reduced under the Ignition Interlock Program.
If you are convicted, a criminal charge will be put to your name and that is certainly not pleasant or convenient, especially when applying for jobs or when a background check is being performed. In Canada, when a DUI conviction produces a criminal record, it will show up in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and police databases.
Higher insurance rates are an automatic, a criminal conviction, from that moment on all insurance companies both in Canada and the US will consider you a high-risk driver and you will always face higher insurance rates.
If you do decide to drive during the holidays, please take note of the following spot checks that the Toronto Police usually set up throughout the city.
…Bathurst just north of St. Clair usually at the end of the bridge
…Caledonia Road just north of Davenport Road
…Hwy 400 just off the Steeles ramp going north bound
…Bloor street via duct, just before you get onto the Don Valley
…Eglinton Avenue at Victoria Park
Clearly, drinking and driving can have tragic consequences in term of injury and loss of life.
Taking advantage of other options for getting home, such as calling a cab or a designated driver is the safest choice when we have been drinking and the best way to avoid a drunk driving offence.
Drive safe and always look out for the other person.