How to Avoid Impaired Driving Offences this Holiday Season

With the holidays just right around the corner, you will soon start receiving invites to all sorts of parties and events from friends and family members, as well as corporate/business events. All of these events can be fun and exciting to attend. However, one of the biggest mistakes people can make is thinking that law enforcement is going to let things slide, just because it's the holidays.

You would be surprised by how many people think being slightly intoxicated and getting behind the wheel is okay at the holidays. They are under the misconception, should they get stopped, as long as they have not had too much to drink, they will be let off with a simple warning and sent on their way.

However, if you are stopped at a RIDE Program checkpoint or get pulled over by a law enforcement officer and are asked to take a breathalyzer test, and blow over the legal limit for impaired or "over 80," you will be charged with an impaired driving criminal offence. Even if you are just slightly impaired, but not necessary "over 80," the police have a responsibility to ensure you remain off the road and not endanger other motorists. You will be transported to the local police department, arrested, and charged.

The best way to avoid impaired driving offences is to not drive whenever you drink, including the holidays. There are several options for transport throughout Ottawa, including public transportation services, taxis, and private car services when you do not have someone available to be your designated driver.

For corporate or other special events, where it is being held in or near a hotel, consider booking a room and staying the night, rather than driving home. Some hotels may even offer a discounted room rate for these types of events, as long as you mention it when booking. It will cost you significantly less to spend the money to stay a night in a hotel, where you can get a decent night's rest, and ensure the alcohol has passed out of your system before driving home.

Did you know, if you are charged and convicted for a first-time impaired driving offence, the minimum fine is $1,000? This does not include your criminal defence lawyer's fees, court costs, increased insurance rates, and other costs you could incur.

Another way to avoid impaired driving is to stay at home and not go out. Hosting a small party at your home can be fun for everyone. Just mind the noise levels if you live in an apartment or condo. As the party's host, you should request that anyone who is drinking surrender their keys and plan on spending the night. That way, not only do you avoid being charged with impaired driving offences, but also help your friends avoid being stopped and charged.

DISCLAIMER: Please remember, the information presented here is for educational purposes only and should never be viewed as actual legal advice. If you have been charged with an impaired driving offence, please call Ottawa criminal defence lawyer, Celine Dostaler at 613.695.8595 today for a free 30-minute consultation.


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If this is urgent, call Céline Dostaler at 613-863-8595.