Understanding the Over 80 Rule and Impaired Driving in Ontario

The Ontario government has an elementary rule – if you have alcohol in your systems and exceed 80 mg per 100 ml of blood when tested after driving, you could be fined, charged with impaired driving, or even go to prison if caught.

You must know Ontario’s legal blood alcohol limit for driving so you won’t face serious consequences. 

What Does it Mean to Be Over 80 mg?

The law limits you to 80 mg of alcohol per gram when driving. This means that as few as two drinks could put you over the DUI limit—depending on weight and what type of drink it is.

The following chart should help explain what one drink looks like depending on weight:

Weight (in lbs) Over 80 mgNumber of Drinks
120  2-3
180 5-6
200 6-7

Women have a lower body fat percentage than men, so it’s easier to reach .08 with just one drink. The average woman needs between 2-3 alcoholic beverages before her blood contains enough alcohol that she could be charged as being over the 80 mg of alcohol limit – but this will vary depending on weight and gender!

For example, women who weigh 57 kg or less will reach the limit in just two drinks, and others weighing 57kg and 80 kg may reach the limit in three alcoholic beverages.

Women have comparatively lesser tolerance for alcohol than men and can drink more before reaching the over 80 rule. Yet same as women, this varies based on the person’s weight.

Men weighing 68 kg or less may reach the limit in 3 drinks, and those who weigh from 68 kg to 91 kg can be impaired in 4 drinks.

Aside from weight and gender, several other factors come into play when discussing the over 80 charges in Ontario.

Don’t Rely on Impaired Judgment

A little can go a long way! Knowing how much you can drink before going over 80 is essential for making good decisions. When alcohol is consumed, the brain’s judgment is affected, leading to poor choices even after just one drink. This means that it’s essential for you to know approximately how much beer or wine you can take before reaching the limit.

You may think that drinking just one drink will not affect your judgment, but the truth of how alcohol affects our brains is something you should be aware of. Even with regular drinking, there are still effects on our body and mind that could lead us into trouble when behind the wheel. And the worst is that you may be charged with impaired driving without feeling drunk.

Driving while impaired is a serious risk to yourself and others on the road. It’s essential to plan if you’re drinking, so you don’t end up behind the wheel.

Be responsible for your own safety! If you’re hosting a party, ensure your guests have a safe way to get home. Also, if there are open bars at an event and alcohol seems accessible, make sure that your body has time to sober up before getting in a car or taking public transport home – it’s better safe than sorry.

stop drunk driving ontario

Impaired Driving in Ontario

Impaired driving is a severe crime keeping yourself and others at risk. If you are caught impaired driving in Ontario, you will face severe consequences, including:

  • a fine of up to $50,000
  • 10 years of a jail sentence
  • a driver’s license suspension of up to 10 years

Aside from being cautious on the road and limiting your alcohol intake, it’s also important to note that “motor vehicles” mean more than just cars. Motorized driving is over 80, and you could be ticketed for impaired driving.

The following vehicles are all considered motorized:

A) Motorcycles – Have two or three wheels and an engine with between fifty-five horsepower (usually on motorcycles)

1) On-road motorcycles

2) Off-road motorcycles, such as dirt bikes

3) Mopeds and scooters

4) Segways

5) Electric bicycles (e-bikes), which are becoming more popular

B) Cars and trucks – Many people think they can only be charged with impaired driving if caught operating a car or truck over the legal limit.

1) Cars – This includes any passenger vehicle that is designed to seat up to ten people, including the driver. Examples of cars include sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, SUVs, crossovers, minivans, and even full-size vans.

2) Trucks – This includes vehicles designed to transport goods or materials, usually more significant than a car. Examples include pick-up trucks, panel trucks, box trucks, cargo vans, and even full-size vans (depending on their intended use).

C) Commercial vehicles – A commercial vehicle is any vehicle used for business purposes and requires a special license. Examples of commercial vehicles include buses, taxi cabs, delivery trucks, and dump trucks.

D) Farm equipment – Many people don’t realize that farm equipment is also considered a motor vehicle. Farm equipment includes tractors, combine harvesters, and hay balers.

E) Snowmobiles – Snowmobiles are considered motor vehicles in most jurisdictions and, therefore, subject to the same impaired driving laws as other vehicles.

If the police caught you while driving one of these vehicles, they have every right to ask for your consent and perform sobriety tests to identify whether or not you have violated the over 80 rule.

When You Get Pulled Over Drinking and Driving

When pulled over for drinking and driving, you should cooperate with the officer as much as possible. This will almost certainly involve answering questions- so make sure that any false answers are not communicated to protect yourself from anything negative happening down the line if this goes before a judge.

Sobriety tests and breathalyzers are standard during traffic stops, but they aren’t always enough. Suppose you exhibit suspicious behavior, or the police officer determines that your speech and movements seem inconsistent with sober conduct, like dizziness. In that case, it’s possible this could lead them to ask for more detailed examinations.

A police officer is likely to conduct a sobriety test or breathalyzer test if:

  • The officer believes you’re under the influence of alcohol
  • You don’t want to cooperate.
  • An open alcohol container is seen in your car
  •  If you have admitted to drinking alcohol before driving
  • If you have exhibited a loss of control while driving

So, to avoid getting arrested, one is to be cooperative. If you are not resisting arrest, the police officer will have less excuse for planting evidence or using excessive force during an interaction with them. The officer will make a judgment call on whether you’re sober and able to care for yourself.

How does a Police Officer decide if You are Over 80 mg?

So while a police officer stops a driver believed to be under the influence of alcohol, the suspect will be escorted to the police station for breathalyzer tests. The breathalyzer samples will be taken each at 15 minutes intervals, meaning someone drunk can be found not guilty of violating the over 80 rule if he were cautious and waited some time before getting into his car.

In this case, time would be an essential factor in determining whether or not the person is over 80 mg of alcohol.

Consequences of an Over 80 mg Charge

You must face severe penalties if caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 80 mg in Ontario. For first-time offenders, the punishment may include a license suspension, fines, etc., such as detailed below:

  • 1 year of license suspension 
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  •  Imprisonment for up to 6 months
  • Vehicle impoundment for up to 3 months

Ensure you are not a repeat offender or your BAC is exceptionally high cause it will lead you to even harsher penalties, including:

  •  suspension of the license for three years
  •  a fine of up to $5,000
  • imprisonment for up to 1 year
  •  vehicle impoundment for up to 6 months
  • 30-day imprisonment
  • Needed ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

If you commit even more severe violations, you can expect a mandatory sentence of at least 120 days behind bars, with the potential for much longer penalties while undergoing alcohol education and treatment programs. Your driver’s license might also get taken away – not just temporarily but indefinitely too!

Why Do You Need Professional Representation in Court?

When you’re pulled over for a violation, be sure you know where to help from. Seek out an experienced impaired driving lawyer like Richard Fedorowicz as soon as possible and write down everything that happened from your perspective.

Take extra care to mention any unusual interactions with the arresting officer or anything suspicious when being brought in. We must remember these moments so there are no discrepancies between our accounts of what happened (which will be compared against theirs), most likely during questioning at police headquarters.

A lawyer is best to represent your interests if you are facing the possibility of being charged with drinking and driving. They will know how questions should be answered during this process so as not to give unnecessary information or reply.

With Richard by your side, you’ll have the confidence to know everything is going well and nothing can go wrong. A reasonable defense attorney like him will ask all those critical questions that could save you from criminal charges!

Here’s what an impaired driving lawyer can help your case: 

  •  Advice about what suits best on your needs
  • Cooperate by giving answers to asked questions and help put your mind at ease
  • Gather proofs and build a strong defense on your behalf
  •  Fight in court on behalf of you
  • Guiding and supporting throughout the entire process
  • Provide a thorough understanding of the DUI laws in your state
  •  Navigate the legal system on your behalf

When you receive a DUI charge, it is essential to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney soon after receiving the notice so that they can advise on how best to proceed. Even if your case seems cut-and-dried, there might still be ways for them to find evidence or approach questions from officers to reduce charges against their clients and ensure long-term consequences don’t ruin lives.

Suppose you’re facing criminal charges for drinking and driving. In that case, scheduling an appointment with Richard will help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible–and maybe even save some money in court fees along the way. Hiring the right lawyer can make all of your worries disappear.

What to Do After Receiving a Drinking and Driving Charge?

If you’ve been charged with drinking and driving, taking charge seriously and understanding the potential consequences is essential. After studying this case, you could face a misdemeanor or felony charge, hefty fines, jail time, and a suspension of your driver’s license.

After being charged, the best thing to do is consult with an experienced DUI attorney in your area. An attorney will see your case, review your case, and advise you of your legal options. If you plead guilty, an attorney can also help negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor.

In addition to hiring an attorney, you should do a few other things after being charged with drinking and driving. First, make sure you comply with all court orders and deadlines. This includes attending scheduled court hearings and not driving without a valid license.

Second, start gathering evidence that could help your defense. This may include witness statements, photos of the scene of the accident, and your medical records.

Third, avoid discussing your case with anyone except your attorney. Anything you say could be used against you in court.

Fourth, take steps to improve your chances of success at trial. This may include attending alcohol education classes or treatment and refraining from drinking alcohol altogether.

How Can an Impaired Driving Lawyer Help You?

Over 80 charges in Ontario are severe and can significantly impact your life. If you are facing DUI charges, securing legal representation as soon as possible is essential.

Once you are caught with a DUI in Toronto, our team at Richard Fedorowicz Law can help. Richard has been an impaired driving lawyer for years, and he can help you by negotiating a plea bargain or representing you in court if your case goes to trial. In some cases, he may be able to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. 

At Richard Fedorowicz Law, we don’t want you to face these charges alone, so we will be there at every step. Let us help, and let’s discuss your case. Get our free initial consultations. Give us a call at 249-266-4222 to get started!

Read More

How do I bail someone out? 12 Questions Answered

A surety is someone approved by the court to supervise an accused in the community pending the resolution of their criminal charges.

5 Keys to a Successful Bail Hearing

Be prepared, plan and know the plan of release, ask questions before the hearing, tips surety while testifying testimony, and don't rush!

The Firearm Bail Hearing

While the right to be released on bail applies to all criminal charges (meaning no offence, no matter how serious, is excluded), the practical reality is that being released on bail is much more difficult when you are facing firearm related charges.

24/7 Service

Richard Fedorowicz is a Criminal Lawyer Serving Toronto, Brampton, Newmarket, Hamilton, and Oshawa