Cannabis Impaired Driving

Now recreational cannabis use has been legalized in Ontario, police will be monitoring the roads to ensure the safety of other drivers. There are serious penalties associated with being charged with driving while impaired by cannabis and some of these penalties can include:

  • License suspension;
  • Tickets and other fines;
  • A criminal record;
  • and Jail time.

Police are trained to detect when a driver is under the influence of a drug and will enforce drug-impaired laws through Standard Field Sobriety Testing (“SFST”) and Drug Recognition Experts (“DRE”). New legislation further allows police to use approved drug screening devices that assist in detecting the recent presence of drugs that includes THC from cannabis as well as cocaine and other drugs.

Where an officer has “reasonable grounds” and suspects you are operating a motor vehicle and have been under the influence of cannabis, they can demand that a driver provide a saliva sample. A positive reading to the saliva sample can lead to further testing to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed. Smelling the odour of marijuana, strange behavior, erratic driving, blood shot eyes and slurred speech are all reasons for a police officer to have the required reasonable suspicion and can result in further testing and having the accused taken into custody to see an evaluating officer.

The Province of Ontario is committed to creating and enforcing stricter laws to punish drivers caught while driving under the influence of drugs. There are three drug-related charges that have been recently enacted for drivers caught to have consumed drugs 2 hours prior to driving. If a driver is found to have 2 and under 5 nanograms of THC per millimetre of blood, it is punishable by way of a summary offence carrying a maximum fine of up to $1,000.00. Drivers having more than 5 nanograms of THC or having both alcohol (50mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood) and marijuana in their system, will face a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.00 and jail time under the new hybrid offence. Whether or not the accused has been previously convicted of driving under the influence of drugs will impact the severity of the charges against them.

The maximum penalty for a summary conviction for drug-impaired driving that does not cause bodily harm or death is up to an 18-month imprisonment. The maximum penalties for offenders charged by way of indictment is 5 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment for drug-impaired driving causing death. It goes without saying, being convicted of drug impaired driving can have a serious impact on your life and future.

At Chand Snider LLP our lawyers have handled countless impaired driving charges and we know exactly what to look for to ensure that your rights are protected. One of our Partners is a former drug prosecutor and our other lawyers spend a great deal of time dealing with criminal matters throughout the Ontario courts.

With the recent crackdowns and tougher sentences being imposed on impaired drivers in Ontario, along with the legalization of the use of recreational marijuana, if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, you need to immediately retain the representation of Chand Snider LLP to protect your rights.

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