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The RIDE Program Is Back for the 2015 Holiday Season

The Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) program has officially kicked off for this holiday season. The program is designed to help reduce the number of impaired and drunk drivers on the road. With all of your holiday parties, shopping, and other events this holiday season, remember if you do decide to drink, do not drive.

With the RIDE program, it is easy to get caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if you only have had a few drinks, it is best to avoid driving. Plan ahead if you intend to drink and ask someone to be your designated driver or leave your car at home and take a taxi or hire a car service to do the driving for you. RIDE program check points are strategic placed throughout Ottawa and elsewhere in Ontario, so it is difficult to avoid them and not get stopped.

What Occurs at RIDE Program Check Points?

Each driver that passes through one of the RIDE program check points is questioned as to whether they have consumed any alcoholic beverages. If the police officer has reasonable suspicion you have been drinking, they can require you to provide a breath sample and blow into a breathalyzer device. Reasonable suspicion that someone has been drinking could be determined by any of the following:

  • Stating you have consumed alcoholic beverages.
  • The smell of alcohol on your breath or within the vehicle.
  • The location where the check point is located, like near a club or bar.
  • Red, bloodshot, or watery eyes.
  • Problems speaking, forming sentences, or slurred speech.

At this point the officer should advise you of your legal rights, and if you refuse to provide a breath sample, it can have the same legal consequences as being charged with impaired driving. Samples will be collected at the check points, as the officers will have screening devices on hand.

What Happens If I am Asked to Provide a Breath Sample?

One of four possible things can occur after the officer demands you provide a sample.

  1. You blow into the device and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is below the legal limit and you pass. The officer will allow you to continue on your way and will typically remind you of the consequences of impaired and drunk driving.
  2. You blow into the device and your BAC is between 0.50 and 0.80. You will immediately be charged with a “warn range” driving offence. This offence results in the immediate suspension of your driver license and mandatory fees of $150 per offence. In addition, the length of the suspension and other penalties increase in severity upon subsequent offences and remain on your driving record for five years. “Warn range” offences are considered Provincial Offences and the penalties are immediate without any option to appeal the charges.
  3. You blow over 0.80. The officer will arrest you and take you to the police station where you will be required to submit to two additional samples. If both samples show over 0.80, then you are formally charged with Driving Over 80. In addition to facing this criminal offence and the consequences, should you be found guilty of the charges, your vehicle will be impounded and held for a seven day period.
  4. You refuse to provide a breath sample. You will be arrested, charged with impaired driving, and your vehicle will be impounded. As mentioned previously, if you are found guilty of this charge, the penalties are the same as being found guilty of impaired driving.

Rather than risk being charged with a drinking and driving Provincial or criminal offence, it is better to avoid driving this holiday season, if you plan on drinking. Should you be charged with Driving Over 80 or Refusal to Provide a Sample, you need to contact an Ottawa DUI lawyer immediately. There are several defences that might be able to be used to fight the charges. To learn more about your legal rights or to discuss you DUI charges, please feel free to contact Céline Dostaler at Impaired Law Desk today by calling 613-695-8595.

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