The Sault Ste. Marie detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind motorists that police officers are now able to demand a roadside breath sample from any lawfully stopped driver to determine whether a person has alcohol in their body without first having to suspect the motorist has been drinking.
Prior to December 18, 2018, officers had to have reasonable suspicion that a driver had alcohol in their body before demanding a breath sample. With the implementation of Bill C-46, the OPP began to exercise this new authority for investigating alcohol-related driving offences on Ontario roads.
Drivers need to be aware that it is mandatory for them to comply with this demand and that those who do not can be charged with failing or refusing to provide a breath sample.
Under this legislation, drivers impaired by alcohol will also face higher mandatory minimum fines and some higher maximum penalties. (See penalties below)
“The Mandatory Alcohol Screening (MAS) is a useful tool which our members utilize to ensure the safety of the motoring public” says Detachment Commander Acting Staff Sergeant Ken Spahr.
Penalties for impaired driving as of December 18, 2018
Alcohol-Impaired driving that does not cause bodily harm or death-mandatory minimum penalties:
- First Offence + blood alcohol content (BAC) of 80-119 mg: mandatory minimum $1000 fine
- First Offence + BAC of 120-159 mg: mandatory minimum fine $1,500 fine
- First Offence of refusal to be tested: mandatory minimum $2000 fine
- First offence + BAC of 160 mg or more: mandatory minimum $2,000 fine
- Second offence: mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
- Third and subsequent offences: mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
An officer can also demand that a driver submit a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Evaluation. SFST-trained officers and DREs have the expertise to detect impairment by alcohol, drugs or both in a driver.
Young, novice and commercial drivers are reminded that OPP enforces the zero-tolerance sanctions that apply to these driver classes.
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