There are two ways you can receive an administrative licence suspension for having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.05 but less than 0.08. First if an officer makes a demand that you provide a sample into an approved screening device (ASD), you might blow a “warn.” This indicates that your BAC is over .05. You will be asked to surrender your licence immediately.
If you were to blow a ‘fail’ into the ASD, the police would have grounds to arrest you for driving with a BAC over 0.08. Once they take you down to the station, a demand would be made for you to provide a sample into an approved instrument. If your sample comes back under 0.08 but over 0.05, you will not be charged with a criminal offence. However you would receive an administrative licence suspension. There are some serious consequences that flow from that suspension.
For a first suspension, the length of the suspension is three days. A second suspension is seven days, and any further suspensions are for 30 days. Any previous suspensions do not count if they are over five years old. On the third suspension you may be required to complete the ignition-interlock program for six months in order to get your licence back.
There is also an administrative penalty that must be paid before you can get your licence back. The costs increased on January 1, 2019. The new administrative penalty will depend if it’s a first suspension ($250), a second suspension ($350), or a third one ($450). You cannot get your licence. back until the penalty is paid.
If you are caught driving before you get your licence back, you will be charged with driving while suspended. Upon conviction for that there is a mandatory minimum fine of $1000 for a first offence. Any conviction will result in an automatic six month licence suspension. Further convictions for driving while suspended will eventually lead to jail time.
Your driving record will show that you received a licence suspension. You can expect that your insurances rate will increase once your insurance company finds out about the suspension.
There is no automatic vehicle seizure under this administrative suspension. However if your vehicle is in a place (i.e. side of the road) that the police determine it should not be, they have the power to have the vehicle towed to an impound lot. If there is someone else in the vehicle who can drive, the police officer can allow them to drive the vehicle away. You will have to pay the cost of towing and storing your vehicle.
You have the right under the Highway Traffic Act to request a second analysis of your breath if you blow a ‘warn’. This must be done immediately after the officer requests that you surrender your licence. The police most likely will not advise you of this option.
A second analysis must be done with a different ASD or with an approved instrument. Most likely the officer will have to radio for another officer to bring a second ASD to the scene or may bring you to the police station to blow into an approved instrument. It is the second sample that the police must rely on.
Unless the police have a second ASD with them on the scene, there will be a passage of time until you give your second sample. This might be enough time that the alcohol in your system will lower and you’ll blow a ‘pass’ on the second sample. But at the same time there is the possibility that you will blow a ‘fail’ especially if you consumed a lot just before driving.
Impaired Driving Lawyer
There are consequences to when you blow a ‘warn’. You were very close to being charged with impaired driving. If you have been charged with impaired driving, it is important to hire a lawyer that understands both impaired driving law and the consequences to your driver’s licence. Give Drexler Law a call at (519) 804-1799 or inquire by email for a free consultation.