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Provincial Impaired Driving Information

British Columbia Impaired Driving Consequences

British Columbia has some of Canada's strictest driving impaired laws with consequences for a BAC above 0.05, and increased consequences for a BAC above 0.08

License Suspensions

Rules differ depending on driving experience. Any novice driver with a graduated license may not drive with any alcohol in their body. If you are a new driver and are pulled over on suspicion of driving while impaired, the following consequences apply if your BAC is between 0.00 and 0.04:

  • Immediate 12 hour license suspension
  • You must restart the current stage of your graduated license
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The consequences for having a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 are the same for all drivers:

  • First Offense: Immediate 3 day license suspension, 3 day vehicle impoundment, a $200 fine
  • Second Offense: Immediate 7 day license suspension, 7 day vehicle impoundment, a $300 fine
  • Third Offense: Immediate 30 day license suspension, 30 day vehicle impoundment, a $400 fine, mandatory Responsible Driver Program course, enrollment in ignition interlock program
  • If your BAC is over 0.08 while operating or suspected of operating a vehicle, the following consequences apply before any conviction is made:

    • Immediate 90 day license suspension, 30 day vehicle impoundment, a $500 fine, mandatory enrollment in Responsible Driver Program, enrollment in ignition interlock program

    Refusal to give a breath sample results in the same consequences as blowing above 0.08, and police officers may still charge you with impaired driving.

    Vehicles are seized immediately, and drivers must pay for all towing and impoundment fees to retrieve the vehicle. Drivers must also pay a fee to have their license reinstated. Drivers are also responsible for paying for educational courses and ignition interlock.

    If you are not currently operating a vehicle but an officer suspects that you have in the previous three hours and are also impaired, the officer may ask you to provide a breath sample. If above the legal limit of 0.08, you will receive an administrative driving prohibition, which is a 90 day license suspension, and you can be charged with and convicted of impaired driving. You will also be required to complete the Responsible Driver Program.

    Alcohol Education or Additional Programs

    Drivers who are required to enroll in the Responsible Driver Program must pay a $880 registration fee. You may be required to participate in this program if:

    • You are convicted of driving while impaired
    • You have been issued an administrative driving prohibition
    • You have been issued a 30 or 90 day license suspension
    • You have been issued 3 or more 24 hour suspensions within a 5 year period
    • Three of any of the following suspensions: 24 hour, 3 day or 7 day

    After paying the program fee, the enrollee is given an assessment interview. Based on responses to questions about their alcohol and drug use, drivers are enrolled in one of two programs:

    • an 8 hour alcohol education class
    • 16 hours of group counseling over a three month period
    • .

    Jail Time

    Jail time is issued only when a driver has been convicted of driving while impaired more than once. The minimum sentences for impaired driving are:

    • First Offense: no jail time
    • Second Offense: minimum 30 day imprisonment
    • Third Offense: minimum 120 days imprisonment

    Fines, Vehicle Impounding and Additional Conditions

    Upon conviction of driving while impaired, drivers must pay a fine of $1,000 and purchase the driver risk premium to maintain their car insurance. Insurance costs depends on the driver's previous driving record but begin at a minimum of $905 a year for criminal offenders. The criminal conviction stays on record for ten years.

    Towing and impoundment fees are around $150 for three days, $230 for seven days and $680 for 30 days. All license reinstatement fees are $250.

    Ignition interlock is a breathalyzer mounted in your vehicle which will not allow the vehicle to start until a breath sample free of alcohol has been provided. In addition to the above mentioned consequences, a court can order you to enroll in ignition interlock if:

    • you have had 3 or more license suspensions in the past 5 years
    • you have had 2 or more 90 day suspensions in the past 5 years

    The driver must pay for installation, training, monthly monitoring and maintenance for a total cost of more than $1,700.