Legal Guide

Most Common Penalties for Driving High in Canada

We all know the dangers of driving while impaired by alcohol, but are you aware of the dangers of driving high? In Canada, it's illegal to drive with more than 2.5 nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood, however, your ability to drive high is not as clear cut as your BAC level and can be hard to gauge. This makes it even more important to understand the potential penalties if you're caught driving high in Canada so that you know what to expect if you are pulled over on suspicion of driving high.

1) A Hefty Fine

The first and most obvious penalty is a fine. In Canada, the minimum fine for driving high is $1000. This is a significant amount of money, and it's important to remember that it's not worth risking your life or the lives of others by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you're charged with this offence, you will also have to pay court costs. These are additional fees paid to the government when a criminal charge is laid against someone. Court costs can range from $150-$450, depending on where you live in Canada. But with the help of a DUI lawyer, impaired drivers may be able to get their charges reduced or dropped. It may be possible to a plea bargain if they can show they had no intention of hurting anyone while they were intoxicated. You should always speak to an experienced lawyer before making any decisions about pleading guilty or not guilty.

2) Demerit Points

In Canada, if you are caught driving high, you will receive demerit points. The number of points you receive depends on the province in which you were caught, but it is typically between two and eight points. These points stay on your record for a certain period, and if you accumulate too many points, you could lose your license. You may also be required to take a drug education course or be assigned to community service. A criminal conviction may also result from being caught with THC in your system while driving, so you want to avoid this at all costs.

3) Driver's License Suspension

One of the most common penalties for driving high is a driver's license suspension. This means that your license will be temporarily taken away and you will not be able to drive. Depending on the severity of the offence, this suspension could last for a few months or even a year. If you are caught driving high with a suspended license, you could be facing even more serious penalties, including jail time. If you seek the help of a criminal defence lawyer, you can find out about your options for getting back on the road as soon as possible. For those who have been charged with a DUI, there are often many steps involved before being cleared to get back behind the wheel again. First, it is important to understand what type of charge you were given.

4) Impoundment

If you are caught driving high with cannabis in your system, your vehicle may be impounded on the spot. The length of time your vehicle is impounded will depend on the province or territory you are in, but can range from 7 days to 90 days. In addition to impounding your vehicle, you may also face a fine. The amount of the fine will also depend on the province or territory you are in, but can range from $200 to $2000. Normally, fines are calculated based on how much cannabis was found in your blood. Additionally, if you get charged and convicted of an impaired driving offence while under the influence of marijuana or any other drug, you could lose your driver's license for at least one year.

5) Imprisonment

If you are caught driving high in Canada, you could be facing some serious penalties. The most serious of these is imprisonment. Depending on the severity of the offence, you could be looking at anywhere from a few days to several years behind bars. This is not a risk worth taking. For example, if your blood level has anything over two nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) of THC or its metabolites, it's considered too high to drive. Furthermore, even with just one ng/ml of THC in your system, if you are found guilty of impaired driving due to drugs then you will likely lose your license for up to three years.

Not Worth the Risk

If you're not careful, you could end up with a criminal record. Even worse, you could be charged with impaired driving and lose your license for at least a year. You can also get a minimum $1,000 fine if convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The most severe penalties are reserved for drivers who injure or kill someone while driving high on drugs or alcohol.


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