Understanding the Over 80 Rule and Impaired Driving in Ontario

August 30, 2022

impaired-drivingThe Criminal Code of Canada sets the legal limit for alcohol in your body while driving at 80 mgs per 100 of blood. This means that you have alcohol in your systems that is at or exceeds 80 mg per 100 ml of blood when tested by the police, you can face a charge of Over 80.  The impact of an Over 80 charge are immediate and severe, including:
  • The impounding of your vehicle
  • The immediate 90 day license suspension (ADLS)
  • The payment of license reinstatement fee to get your license back.
You must know Ontario’s legal blood alcohol limit for driving so you won’t face serious consequences. 

What Does it Mean to Be Over 80 mg?

The law limits you to 80 mg of alcohol per gram when driving. This means that as few as two drinks could put you over the legal limit—depending on weight and what type of drink it is. The following chart should help explain what one drink looks like depending on weight:
Weight (in lbs) Over 80 mg Number of Drinks
120   2-3
140 3-4
160 4-5
180 5-6
200  6-7
Women have a lower body fat percentage than men, so it’s easier to reach .08 with just one drink. The average woman needs between 2-3 alcoholic beverages before her blood contains enough alcohol that she could be charged as being over the 80 mg of alcohol limit – but this will vary depending on weight and gender! For example, women who weigh 57 kg or less will reach the limit in just two drinks, and others weighing 57kg and 80 kg may reach the limit in three alcoholic beverages. Women have comparatively lesser tolerance for alcohol than men and can drink more before reaching the over 80 rule. Yet same as women, this varies based on the person’s weight. Also Read: How Does Bail Work In Ontario? Ontario’s Bail System Men weighing 68 kg or less may reach the limit in 3 drinks, and those who weigh from 68 kg to 91 kg can be impaired in 4 drinks.  

Impaired Driving in Ontario

Impaired driving is a severe crime keeping yourself and others at risk. If you are caught impaired driving in Ontario, you will face severe consequences, including:
  • a fine of up to $50,000
  • 10 years of a jail sentence
  • a driver’s license suspension of up to 10 years
Aside from being cautious on the road and limiting your alcohol intake, it’s also important to note that “motor vehicles” mean more than just cars. Motorized driving is over 80, and you could be ticketed for impaired driving. The following vehicles are all considered motorized: A) Motorcycles – Have two or three wheels and an engine with between fifty-five horsepower (usually on motorcycles) 1) On-road motorcycles 2) Off-road motorcycles, such as dirt bikes 3) Mopeds and scooters 4) Segways 5) Electric bicycles (e-bikes), which are becoming more popular B) Cars and trucks – Many people think they can only be charged with impaired driving if caught operating a car or truck over the legal limit. 1) Cars – This includes any passenger vehicle that is designed to seat up to ten people, including the driver. Examples of cars include sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, SUVs, crossovers, minivans, and even full-size vans. 2) Trucks – This includes vehicles designed to transport goods or materials, usually more significant than a car. Examples include pick-up trucks, panel trucks, box trucks, cargo vans, and even full-size vans (depending on their intended use). C) Commercial vehicles – A commercial vehicle is any vehicle used for business purposes and requires a special license. Examples of commercial vehicles include buses, taxi cabs, delivery trucks, and dump trucks. D) Farm equipment – Many people don’t realize that farm equipment is also considered a motor vehicle. Farm equipment includes tractors, combine harvesters, and hay balers. E) Snowmobiles – Snowmobiles are considered motor vehicles in most jurisdictions and, therefore, subject to the same impaired driving laws as other vehicles. If the police caught you while driving one of these vehicles, they have every right to ask for your consent and perform sobriety tests to identify whether or not you have violated the over 80 rule.

When You Get Pulled Over Drinking and Driving

When pulled over for drinking and driving, you should cooperate with the officer as much as possible. This will almost certainly involve answering questions- so make sure that any false answers are not communicated to protect yourself from anything negative happening down the line if this goes before a judge. Sobriety tests and breathalyzers are standard during traffic stops, but they aren’t always enough. Suppose you exhibit suspicious behavior, or the police officer determines that your speech and movements seem inconsistent with sober conduct, like dizziness. In that case, it’s possible this could lead them to ask for more detailed examinations. A police officer is likely to conduct a sobriety test or breathalyzer test if:
  • The officer believes you’re under the influence of alcohol
  • You don’t want to cooperate.
  • An open alcohol container is seen in your car
  •  If you have admitted to drinking alcohol before driving
  • If you have exhibited a loss of control while driving
So, to avoid getting arrested, one is to be cooperative. If you are not resisting arrest, the police officer will have less excuse for planting evidence or using excessive force during an interaction with them. The officer will make a judgment call on whether you’re sober and able to care for yourself.

How does a Police Officer decide if You are Over 80 mg?

So while a police officer stops a driver believed to be under the influence of alcohol, the suspect will be escorted to the police station for breathalyzer tests. The breathalyzer samples will be taken each at 15 minutes intervals, meaning someone drunk can be found not guilty of violating the over 80 rule if he were cautious and waited some time before getting into his car. In this case, time would be an essential factor in determining whether or not the person is over 80 mg of alcohol.

Consequences of an Over 80 mg Charge

A conviction for Over 80 will result in sever penalties, including 
  • A minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence
  • Criminal Record, which will impact your ability to secure employment and travel
  • An order that you be prohibited to driving for one year for a first offence, subject to the Reduced Suspension with Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program
  • The completion of Back on Track (a remedial education program)
  • An ignition Interlock device installed inside your vehicle if you wish drive once your license is reinstated
  • Significant increases in the cost of insurance
For those convicted of multiple offences, the penalties are even more strict:
  •  30-days imprisonment for a second offence; 120-days for a third offence, and with maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison
  • The suspension of your driver’s license pursuant the High Traffic Act. 

Why Do You Need Professional Representation in Court?

If you are facing a charge of Over 80, seek out an experienced impaired driving lawyer like Richard Fedorowicz as soon as possible.  As soon as possible, and write down everything that happened from your perspective. Take extra care to mention any unusual interactions with the arresting officer or anything suspicious when being brought in. We must remember these moments so there are no discrepancies between our accounts of what happened (which will be compared against theirs), most likely during questioning at police headquarters. A lawyer is best to represent your interests if you are facing the possibility of being charged with drinking and driving. They will know how questions should be answered during this process so as not to give unnecessary information or reply. With Richard by your side, you’ll have the confidence to know everything is going well and nothing can go wrong. A reasonable defense attorney like him will ask all those critical questions that could save you from criminal charges! Here’s what an impaired driving lawyer can help your case: 
  •  Advice about what suits best on your needs
  • Cooperate by giving answers to asked questions and help put your mind at ease
  • Gather proofs and build a strong defense on your behalf
  •  Fight in court on behalf of you
  • Guiding and supporting throughout the entire process
  • Provide a thorough understanding of the DUI laws in your state
  •  Navigate the legal system on your behalf
When you receive a DUI charge, it is essential to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney soon after receiving the notice so that they can advise on how best to proceed. Even if your case seems cut-and-dried, there might still be ways for them to find evidence or approach questions from officers to reduce charges against their clients and ensure long-term consequences don’t ruin lives. Suppose you’re facing criminal charges for drinking and driving. In that case, scheduling an appointment with Richard will help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible–and maybe even save some money in court fees along the way. Hiring the right lawyer can make all of your worries disappear.

What to Do After Receiving a Drinking and Driving Charge?

If you’ve been charged with drinking and driving, taking charge seriously and understanding the potential consequences is essential. After studying this case, you could face a misdemeanor or felony charge, hefty fines, jail time, and a suspension of your driver’s license. After being charged, the best thing to do is consult with an experienced DUI attorney in your area. An attorney will see your case, review your case, and advise you of your legal options. If you plead guilty, an attorney can also help negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor. In addition to hiring an attorney, you should do a few other things after being charged with drinking and driving. First, make sure you comply with all court orders and deadlines. This includes attending scheduled court hearings and not driving without a valid license. Second, start gathering evidence that could help your defense. This may include witness statements, photos of the scene of the accident, and your medical records. Third, avoid discussing your case with anyone except your attorney. Anything you say could be used against you in court. Fourth, take steps to improve your chances of success at trial. This may include attending alcohol education classes or treatment and refraining from drinking alcohol altogether.

How Can an Impaired Driving Lawyer Help You?

Over 80 charges in Ontario are severe and can significantly impact your life. If you are facing DUI charges, securing legal representation as soon as possible is essential. Once you are caught with a DUI in Toronto, our team at Richard Fedorowicz Law can help. Richard has been an impaired driving lawyer for years, and he can help you by negotiating a plea bargain or representing you in court if your case goes to trial. In some cases, he may be able to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed.  At Richard Fedorowicz Law, we don’t want you to face these charges alone, so we will be there at every step. Let us help, and let’s discuss your case. Get our free initial consultations. Give us a call at 249-266-4222 to get started!