Canadian penal infractions are divided into two broad categories: statutory infractions and criminal infractions.
In this first category, the Canadian provinces (for example Quebec) have the ability to impose sanctions for minor penal violations. The most common provincial law that imposes these types of sanction is the Highway Safety Code.
The sanction imposed by said law can vary, i.e., it can be a monetary penalty, such as a fine, or an administrative sanction, such as the suspension of your driver’s license. However, although it is uncommon for the courts to impose jail time in these situations, since these infractions are not considered criminal offenses, the Canadian administration can impose such a sentence for alcohol related offenses through the Criminal Code of Canada.
Statutory impacts for alcohol related infractions in the province of Quebec:
One of the most important restrictions imposed by the province of Quebec is the article 202.2 of the Highway Safety Code, which states that:
The following persons may not drive or have the care or control of a road vehicle if any alcohol is present in their bodies:
- the holder of a learner’s license or probationary license who has never held a driver’s license other than a license authorizing the driving only of a moped or authorizing the driving only of a farm tractor;
- the holder of a moped or farm tractor license only who has held that license for less than five years and is 22 years of age or older;
- the holder of a restricted license issued under section 118 following the cancellation of a probationary license, and the holder of a license issued under the fourth paragraph of section 73 or under any of sections 76.1.1, 76.1.3, 76.1.5, 76.1.6, 76.1.8, 76.1.11 and 76.1.12;
- the holder of a driver’s license who is 21 years of age or younger.
The prohibition set out in the first paragraph also applies to a person who, without ever having held a driver’s license other than a license authorizing the driving only of a moped or authorizing the driving only of a farm tractor, drives or has the care or control of a road vehicle.
This article limits the quantity of alcohol that can be consumed by a person aged 21 and under or who has a probationary or temporary license to zero milligrams of alcohol.
The article also limits the consumption of alcohol in specific situations, such as licenses for farm tractor or scooter licenses. The fine could range from 300$ to 600$.
As this infraction is not included in the reciprocal agreement, Regulation Respecting the Reciprocal Agreement between the State of New York and Québec Concerning Drivers’ Licences and Traffic Offense, between New York and Quebec, the initial 4 demerit points that are attached to the infraction would not be transferred to a person holding a New York driver’s license.
However, you may have to appear at a DMV hearing and could face up to 6 months of suspension in regards to your driver’s license. Nevertheless, this particular infraction does remain a statement of offense and will not bring about any criminal consequences for the individual, unless that individual has a blood alcohol level of 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters or higher.
The Canadian government considers that driving while impaired is a very serious social problem and takes all judicial means in order to prevent it. One of these means is the suspension of certain rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, such as the suspension of your right to a lawyer before taking the Breathalyzer test on the side of the road, also referred as the ADA (appareil de detection approuvé or breath screening device).
Criminal impacts for driving under influence of alcohol in Canada:
The Criminal Code of Canada also prohibits particular situations that can have major consequences for New Yorkers; said situations involve driving after consuming alcohol.
There are two types of behaviors prohibited by the Code, namely:
- Driving while capacities are impaired by alcohol or drugs;
- Driving with a blood level that exceeds 80 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
The first situation sanctions an individual driving with symptoms of impairment (such as the smell of alcohol in the breath, red eyes, difficulty to talk, slow movement, sporadic driving etc.), while the second situation sanctions the actual quantity of alcohol in the blood. However, these two infractions result in very similar consequences.
A New Yorker charged with one of these infractions could face a minimum fine of 1000$ for a first infraction depending on the consequences (for example an accident) and up to five years of imprisonment depending on the numbers of past infractions and the method of prosecution chosen.
An individual can also be sentenced to imprisonment of up to 10 years if the behavior caused bodily harm or perpetuity if the behavior cause death.
Administrative impacts for a New Yorker sentenced for driving under influence of alcohol in Quebec:
The administrative sanctions would be handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in New York and can range from a 90-day to a year suspension of the driver’s license, depending on the level of alcohol in the blood. For a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 to 0.07, the charge of driving with alcohol impairment can be a suspension of 90 days of the driver’s license. For a level of 0.08 mg to 0.17, which is an infraction of driving while intoxicated, the revocation of the driver’s license can rise to 6 months. When the level of alcohol content is over 0.18; the revocation can rise to one year.
Other consequences for New Yorkers accused of driving under the influence in Quebec:
Another consequence that can result from a conviction of driving while impaired is the obtainment of a criminal record. This can have serious impacts on the entry into Canada and employment opportunities. Furthermore, another consequence is the increase in auto and home insurance rates that could dramatically go up depending on your specific situation.
What to do when facing charges of driving while impaired in Quebec
If you face a criminal charge of DUI, you should contact a lawyer from Solution Ticket and Fortin et Associés, Avocats immediately. Our lawyers are qualified to defend you and strive to minimize the impact of the charges. Essentially, our attorneys are skilled at analyzing the evidence held against you and finding all the small details that can make an important difference in Court. Their main focus is to do everything it takes to get you acquitted of the infraction.
For your traffic tickets or criminal charges in Quebec, you can trust Solution Ticket (solutionticket.com) and Fortin et Associés, Avocats (sfortinetassocies.com) to get you the best possible results.