Underage drivers and drivers who have just newly acquired their licenses face tougher DUI-related restrictions as well as additional penalties if they were charged with driving under the influence in Ontario. Drivers under 21 and newly licensed drivers with M1, M2, G1, and G2 graduated licenses cannot have any alcohol in their system when driving. Minor drivers and young drivers face penalties and charges for any signs of impairment while fully licensed and older drivers can usually avoid arrest when they have some minor drugs or low alcohol level in their blood.
Zero BAC or Zero Tolerance Rule
Ontario uses a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to underage DUI. This approach imposes additional penalties to the long list of penalties for anyone charged with a DUI. In addition, novice drivers or underage drivers will face the same consequences as fully licensed drivers if they were convicted or if they were found to have a higher than standard blood alcohol level and/or noticeable drug impairment.
The strictness of the law regarding underage DUI is because young drivers in Canada have higher rates of traffic injury and deaths due to injury among all age groups as shared by MADD Canada statistics. According to the statistics, 33% of all impairment-related motor vehicle accidents belong to the Canadian youth ages 16 to 25 even though they only make up 13.6% of the Canadian population. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for the youth demographic. 55% resulted in fatal accidents and were found to be related to drug and/or alcohol impairment.
Harsh Criminal Penalties for DUI in Ontario
All drivers regardless of age will face standard criminal DUI charges if they are arrested because of high blood alcohol levels in Ontario. The same applies if they refuse to comply with drug or alcohol screening and other DUI offences. Once charged, they need to go the court to plead guilty or challenge the charges. If they are convicted, then they can potentially face the following consequences:
- Having a permanent criminal record
- Losing driving privileges
- Facing extensive fines and other fees
- Needing to attend mandatory treatment or educational programs
- Meeting to install mandatory ignition interlock once driver’s license has been reinstated
- Paying higher insurance premiums
- Having their vehicle impounded
Warning Range Penalties and Zero Tolerance Penalties
The penalties received by novice and young drivers who were charged with DUI or drug impairment below the standard impairment threshold are the same penalties imposed on experienced adult drivers who received warning range penalties. Note that zero tolerance penalties are not categorized as a criminal offence just like warning range DUI penalties. They are both considered administrative charges. Both warning range penalties and zero tolerance penalties can vary based on how many previous offences are on record. With this said, zero tolerance penalties are generally more severe.
Challenge Your Zero Tolerance Case with A Toronto DUI Lawyer
Challenging your zero-tolerance case can lead to mitigated penalties, withdrawn charges, dismissal or acquittal, or perhaps reduced charges. An experienced DUI lawyer can strategize a defence that can lead to more favourable outcomes. Your lawyer will help prove if there is any doubt about you being impaired by drugs or alcohol. In the worst-case scenario, your DUI lawyer can help negotiate a plea bargain for you. If you’re looking for a DUI lawyer in Toronto who can help you with zero tolerance charges, do not hesitate to contact Calvin Barry Law.