Impaired By Drug

Driving under the influence of drugs or narcotics.

These charges have become more common since the police powers were expanded to demand physical coordination tests and use trained drug recognition officers. Since this area of the law is new and expanding, mistakes are common. Despite the fact that more people appear to be charged with this offence, prosecution is difficult, and convictions (if you have an advocate who knows what they are doing!) are rare.

The Law

Similar to impairment by alcohol, an impaired by drug charge only requires proof of a slight degree of impairment of the ability to drive.

Proof of impairment by drug is difficult. There is little science that explains which drugs, and how much is required, to impair the ability to drive. The presumption of innocence requires the prosecution to prove these facts beyond a reasonable doubt. Since there are varying opinions about which drugs cause impairment, and how much is required, establishing guilt at trial is difficult.

If an accident occurred with any degree of bodily harm , a jail sentence is certain if convicted. There are steps that can be taken to minimize the impact, negotiate with the prosecution, and prepare to dispute the charge. Speaking to someone quickly to properly prepare from the start is an important first step.

What It Means For You

A charge will result in an immediate licence suspension. An appeal of this suspension is restricted to 30 days.

A conviction means a minimum punishment of a $1000 fine and a 1 year driving suspension. Prior convictions will increase the punishment, and usually involve a jail sentence.

Other potential consequences include:

  • loss of employment, restriction on future employment;
  • restriction on the ability to travel;
  • increased insurance premiums;
  • required interlock participation;
  • mandatory driver education programs;
  • longer provincial licence suspensions;
  • Criminal Record;

The consequences for a charge or conviction go beyond what happens in court. Make sure you understand all consequences and are in a position to make an informed decision on how to proceed.

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