Penalties for Impaired Driving

The Province of Ontario has enacted some of the toughest penalties for Impaired drivers in North America including:

  • Immediate Licence Suspensions
  • stiff fines
  • longer suspension periods
  • mandatory alcohol education and treatment programs
  • vehicle impoundment
  • ignition interlock program.

Drivers with a Blood Alcohol Count (BAC) over .08 or who refuse to provide a breath sample will have their licence suspended immediately for 90 days. This is not including any charges for impaired driving that the driver may face. These drivers will also have the vehicle they are driving impounded for seven days.

When you drink and drive you are gambling not only with your life but with the lives of others, it is also an expensive Gamble from a Financial Point of view.

  • Legal Costs (estimated Range) $2,000 to $10,000
  • Criminal Code Fine $1,00.00 
  • Back on track program $578.00
  • Licence Reinstatement Fee $150.00
  • Increase Insurance (estimated) $15,000
  • Ignition Interlock $1,800

Estimated Minimal Cost $18,500.00.

Upon conviction for a Criminal Code Impaired Driving Offence face high fines under the HTA

  • $5,000 to $25,000 for a first conviction
  • $10,000 - $50,000 for subsequent offences

New drivers in the Graduated Licence category must maintain a zero Blood Alcohol Concentration while driving, if they do not adhere to this stipulation and get caught they face a 30 day-licence suspension and a fine.

Persons convicted of a Drinking & Driving offence must successfully complete all three components of Ontario’s back on track alcohol education and treatment program before their licence can be reinstated. The program can take as long as 11 months to complete.

Part 1 -  Assessment - determines the extent of the drinking and driving problem

Part 2 - Education or Treatment - program aimed at preventing drinking and driving

Part 3 - Follow up Interview - takes place 6 months after the education/treatment program is complete to revisit the skills obtained and goals set.

Failure to complete all three components before the end of their suspension will not get their licence back. Program completion must be complete before the licence is reinstated.

Once the licence has been reinstated an “I” condition will appear. This is the Ignition Interlock Condition.

After serving the required sanctions an ignition interlock device will be installed in all motor vehicles that the offending driver operates. An ignition interlock is an in-car alcohol breath-screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol on the breath of the operator.

Once the minimum interlock period has expired the offending driver must apply to the Ministry of Transportation to have the condition removed from their licence.

Minimum Penalties

  • 1 year suspension
  • Remedial measures program
  • 1 year ignition interlock
  • Fine $1,000.00
  • 3 year licence suspension
  • Remedial measures program
  • Minimum 3yr Ignition interlock device
  • 30 day jail sentence
  • Fine:  Judge's direction
  • Lifetime licence suspension (Can be reduced to 10yrs)
  • Remedial measures program
  • Ignition interlock for life
  • 120 day jail sentence
  • Fine:  Judge's direction

Impaired by Drug

The Hamilton Police Service wanted to remind you that drugs are also an impairment while driving. This includes both prescription and non-prescription.

Currently, the penalties upon conviction of driving while impaired by drug are:

  • Criminal Code Fine $1000.00
  • 1 year licence suspension

Impaired Driving


For more information on IMPAIRED DRIVING, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Website.