Impaired Driving Offences

  • Impaired Driving
  • Driving While Over 80
  • Refusal to Provide Breath Sample
  • Manitoba Ignition Interlock Program

Impaired Driving / Driving Under The Influence


Impaired driving requires proof that a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of driving or the time of being in care and control of a motor vehicle. Even slight impairment can support an impaired driving charge. The manner of driving and state of sobriety can be proven through the police officer’s testimony. Police lay the charge of impaired driving as a backup to obtain a conviction, in the event that the evidence of the breathalyzer charge is deemed inadmissible.



Driving while over 80


A person commits an “over 80” offence when they are either operating a motor vehicle, or are in care and control of a motor vehicle with over 80mg of alcohol in 100mL of blood. The analysis of blood alcohol level is made through either breath or blood samples. Typically, defence counsel will argue to have the samples excluded from the court’s consideration, or challenge the accuracy of the findings. Defending these cases requires skill and experience to navigate this complex and technical area of the law. If the police don’t fully comply with their professional and procedural obligations, you may have a defence that an experienced criminal lawyer can successfully argue at trial. Just because you have been charged with blowing over the legal limit, you are not automatically guilty of this offence.





Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample


Unless there is a reasonable excuse, you are legally obligated to provide samples of your breath when given a valid demand to provide a suitable sample. The first step in defending a charge of refusing or failing to provide a breath sample is for defence counsel to evaluate whether the demand was “valid.” Further, whether there are other defences to the charge.




Penalties for Conviction of Impaired / Driving Over .08 / Refusal Offences


There are minimum penalties contained in the Criminal Code for impaired driving:


Fine/Jail Canada Wide Driving Prohibition
1st offence $1,000 1 – 3-year driving prohibition
2nd offence 30 days jail 2 – 5-year driving prohibition
3rd offence 120 days jail not less than 3 year driving prohibition





Manitoba Ignition Interlock Program


The Criminal Code allows for a shorter period of prohibition in Manitoba via the Ignition Interlock Program. You must apply for and be granted permission to participate in this program. An ignition interlock is an alcohol sensing device installed in the applicant’s vehicle which requires random samples of breath from the driver to continue the vehicle’s operation. If an alcohol level above a certain minimal level is detected the vehicle will automatically shut off .


You must apply in writing to the Licence Suspension Appeal Board to be eligible for this program. You will then be given an in person hearing where you will have an opportunity to persuade a panel of three board members that you qualify for the program.


You have the right to have a lawyer present at your hearing to help you with your application, contact Mr. Wolson for further information.

If you have been charged with any driving related offences, please contact Daniel A. Wolson to set up a free consultation.