Impaired Driving / Drunk Driving / DUI
Before you get behind the wheel of a car in Manitoba, you should know there is a maximum legal amount of alcohol that you can drink before you are considered legally intoxicated. Law enforcement determines who is legally intoxicated is by using a measurement called Blood-Alcohol Concentration, or BAC.
In Manitoba, any driver who is found to have a BAC level of 0.08% or more is over the legal limit of alcohol consumption and is subject to arrest. Driving while impaired doesn’t just include automobiles. Those who drink and drive boats, railway equipment, and aircrafts are also subject to the same legal BAC limits for operation.
If you are suspected of drinking and driving, the officer who pulls you over has the right to ask you to take a breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer is a small mobile device; once you breathe into it, it can give law enforcement a readout of what your blood alcohol level is, which determines grounds for your arrest. Although those who have a BAC of 0.08% or more are considered legally intoxicated, if you have a concentration that is 0.05% or greater, then there might be grounds for your license to be suspended if you fail other types of tests, like a physical coordination test, administered at the scene.
What happens if you are arrested for driving while impaired?
If you are found to be driving while impaired, you can face some very stiff penalties, fines, license suspension, and in some instances, jail time. If your BAC is over 0.08%, then you will face an automatic suspension of your driving privileges for three months.
What happens if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test in Manitoba?
If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test, the physical coordination test, or deny a blood sample test, then you can be subjected to an immediate three-month suspension of your driver’s license, even if you are not legally intoxicated. In addition, your car can be impounded immediately. So before you refuse a breathalyzer test, it is best to make sure that you understand the repercussions of doing so.
Fines, additional conditions and vehicle impounding
If it is your first offense, then you will be charged a minimum of $1000. Once the term of your license suspension has ended, you will have an ignition interlock device placed on your car for at least a year. An ignition interlock device prohibits the driver from starting their car until they breathe into it to verify that there is no alcohol in their system. If someone is convicted of DUI and is found driving in another vehicle without the ignition interlock device, then they can face a jail sentence and a fine of up to $5000.
When you are charged with a DUI, your car is immediately impounded. You are responsible for paying not just to get the car out of impound, but also for towing costs. The average fee for impoundment for the three-month license suspension is about $450, and about $900 for a 90-day period.
Being charged with a DUI can come with some significant penalties and hardships. If you have been arrested for a DUI, a seasoned criminal defense attorney can help navigate the waters of the legal system.