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Provincial Impaired Driving Information

DUI/Impaired Driving in Newfoundland

In 2007, impaired drivers cost 18 people their lives and seriously injured 29 others in Newfoundland. To combat the problem, the government of Newfoundland has adopted their own provincial administrative penalties for driving with a BAC above 0.05. Any driver whose BAC is within 0.05 to 0.08 can have their licenses suspended for 24 hours for a first offence and longer for subsequent offences. While the suspension does not get recorded on a criminal record, violation of the suspension will result in criminal charges and your vehicle can be towed and impounded for 30 days.

Police offers use a handheld breath-sample device to test for BAC. If asked, suspected offenders must blow into a tube on the device which measures their BAC. Never refuse to submit a breath sample; insubordination results in the same consequences at blowing above 0.05.

License Suspension

In Newfoundland, new drivers enrolled in the Graduated Drivers License program are prohibited from driving after consuming any alcohol. If you have a GDL and are caught driving with a BAC above 0.00, you will be subject to the following consequences:

  • First offence: two month license suspension
  • Second offence: four month license suspension, mandatory Think First alcohol education program
  • Third offence: six month license suspension, mandatory assessment for alcohol or drug dependency
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If you blow above 0.05 while pulled over, the following consequences apply:

  • First and second offence: 24 hour license suspension
  • Third offence: two month license suspension
  • Fourth offence: four month license suspension
  • Fifth or greater offence: six month license suspension

If caught driving with a BAC higher than 0.08, you face criminal charges in addition to:

  • 24 hour license suspension
  • An addition 90 day license suspension beginning 14 days after arrest

If convicted with the criminal offence of driving while impaired in Newfoundland, the following applies:

  • First offence: prohibition from driving for one full year, minimum $600 fine, mandatory Think First alcohol education program
  • Second offence: prohibition from driving for three full years, minimum 14 days jail time, mandatory alcohol and drug dependency screening
  • Third offence: minimum 10 year driving prohibition, minimum 90 days imprisonment, mandatory alcohol and drug dependency screening

Drivers must pay a fee to have their suspended license reinstated. Driving while your license is suspend will result in seizure of the vehicle you are driving and impoundment for 30 days. You must pay for towing and impoundment fees.

Jail Time

A first driving while impaired offence does not usually carry jail time, but multiple offences result in the following:

  • Second offence: at least 14 days imprisonment
  • Third or greater offence: at least 90 days imprisonment

Harsher penalties, such a greater jail time and permanent license revocation, will be issued if an impaired driver hurts or kills another person.

Alcohol Education

As a condition of reinstating their driving privileges, impaired driving offenders must complete the Think First program. The four-hour session costs $160 and focuses on the dangerous effects of drinking and driving. If you have offended more than once, you must undergo an assessment for alcohol and drug addiction. If the assessment reveals an addiction, you must complete a drug habilitation program to restore your license.

Additional Fines and Fees

On top of the minimum $600 fine, the $160 Think First fee, license reinstatement fees and towing and impoundment expenses, drivers convicted of impaired driving will see an increase in their insurance premiums.

Newfoundland allows those who have had their licenses suspended an opportunity to start driving again sooner by enrolling in the ignition interlock program. Enrollees must have a breath-sample device installed in the interior of their vehicle. The driver must blow into the tube and register a BAC of 0.00 before the engine will start. Tampering with the device can lead to a fine of up to $20,000.

To enroll in the program, applicants must front the cost of installing and removing the device in addition to paying a monthly monitoring fee. Persons who pursue this option must use ignition interlock for the following durations:

  • First offence: 9 months
  • Second or greater offence: 30 months