The Canadian government is going to increase fines for criminal DUIs and making a move to codify aggravating factors that are usually left for a judge to decide on.
Fines to Change
The omnibus Bill C-46 brought on the changes related to drinking-driving offences, even changing the designations for DUI now having DUI over 0.12 and DUI over 0.16.
Different punishments will be meted for different blood-alcohol concentration in the new proposed law. If it pushes through, a person with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.12 will face a minimum fine of $1,500 and a person with a BAC of 0.16 will face a $2,000 fine. The fine to be paid is on top of facing a criminal conviction, needing to attend remedial programs, and having a 1-year driving prohibition.
The new fines are a bit hefty compared to what judges usually order particularly for first time offenders. However, to be fair, a lot of impaired driving cases do involve people driving around with a BAC 0.12. The fact that the difference between a 0.11 and a 0.12 can be chucked to a breathalyzer error or some other factor has been considered but wasn’t given much weight.
Judges No Longer Have a Say on Aggravating Factors
Getting fined $2,000 because you resisted arrest, have a BAC of 0.25, and tried to flee an accident site is fair but under the new law, a person simply driving with a BAC 0.16 will be fined the same. This may raise your eyebrows and you won’t be alone in thinking something isn’t adding up. However, the new law will have to be observed and implemented whether people agree with it or not.
It is clear that bill C-46 aims to create a mandatory list of minimum fines for different BAC of those caught committing a DUI. This change means that further evaluation of the case and circumstances will no longer have a bearing on the fine. It is now only a matter of months before the bill becomes an actual law.
New Punishments for DUI Offences
Minimum punishment will be comprised of paying a fine of $1,000 for first offence, an additional of 30 days imprisonment for second offence,, and imprisonment of 120 days for the third offence and above. Imprisonment of no more than 10 years will be meted if the offence is prosecuted by indictment. For offence that is punishable on summary conviction, punishment will be an imprisonment of not more than 2 years minus a day. Paying a fine of $1,500 for a BAC of 0.12 and paying $2,000 for a BAC of 0.16 goes on top of previously mentioned punishments
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