Police throughout Ontario will kick off the 2019 holiday RIDE program on Saturday, November 23, 2019, and will continue until January 2, 2020. The program is a series of checkpoints that are set up throughout the province, including here in Toronto.
The program aims at keeping drivers under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs from getting behind the wheel. Being charged with a DUI related offence is considered a serious criminal offence. The police have been given upgraded tools and equipment to detect and identify impaired drivers.
There are tools to detect impairment by alcohol, as well as marijuana and cocaine this year. Plus, there have been new impaired driving laws that have taken effect since last year. One of the new laws allows police to demand a sample from a driver who has been stopped during a lawful traffic stop or at a RIDE checkpoint.
The police no longer need reasonable suspicion that alcohol or drugs have been consumed by the driver. If a sample is requested and the driver refuses, they can be charged with “refusing to provide a sample” offense, which holds the same penalties and consequences if found guilty, as a DUI offence.
Additionally, commercial vehicle drivers and drivers who are age 21 and under are not permitted to have any amount of alcohol or drugs in their system while driving. There will be zerotolerance for these drivers. If they are found to be under the influence, they will face serious criminal charges.
Last year, Toronto police arrested 1,032 people for drinking and driving. They also charged 74 people with drug-related impairment offences. In Durham, 117 people were charged with DUIs and another 27 people were charged with violations of the Cannabis Act. In York, the police arrested and charged 22 people with DUIs between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
Under the new legislation, first-time offenders with a BAC (blood alcohol content) between 80 and 119 milligrams will face a mandatory $1,000 fine. If a first-time driver has a blood alcohol level that is higher, they could face up to a mandatory $2,000 fine. Repeat offenders will not only be looking at larger fines, but also new mandatory jail sentences.
If you do plan on drinking or using marijuana recreationally this holiday season, avoid getting a DUI by not driving. None of what is written here is intended to act as legal advice. It is not legal advice. If you are charged this holiday season with a DUI, it is highly recommended you contact Toronto DUI criminal defence lawyer, Brian Ross immediately by calling (416) 658-5855 to receive legal advice.