Police Say They Are Using New Power To Demand Breath Samples
Police say that with Bill C-46 coming into effect last week, they are begining to exercise new authority for investigating impaired drivers on Ontario roads.
Police officers will now be 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. Until now, officers had to have a reasonable suspicion that a driver had alcohol in their body before demanding a sample.
Police say that 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 the new legislation, drivers impaired by alcohol will also face higher mandatory minimum fines and some higher maximum penalties. (See penalties below).
The OPP has laid more than 7,300 impaired driving charges across the province between January 1 and mid-November.
Penalties for impaired driving that does not cause bodily harm or death range from $1000 for a first offence, increasing with the level of impairment, to $2000. Second and subsequent offences include mandatory jail time.