Impaired Operation of a Conveyance, also known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Impaired (DWI),  Operating Over .08, or Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample (or Refusal to Blow), can affect your family, job and ultimately your livelihood. In most cases, many people find it easier to plead guilty to quickly put the situation behind them. However, by doing so they will have negative and lasting consequences on their future through a criminal record. This will impact personal and employment opportunities, travel restrictions and significantly higher insurance rates.

Under the Criminal Code, the term “operation” now includes having care or control over a ‘conveyance’.  A ‘conveyance’ can be any type of machine not operated by human power alone, so it includes not only all cars, trucks and motorcycles, but also mopeds, powered bicycles and scooters. It also includes boats and trains.

The government has now established rules for determining if a person has consumed too much marijuana to operate a conveyance as well.  No amount of any other illegal drug is acceptable under the Criminal Code while operating a conveyance.


The most common charges in this area are:

  • Impaired Operation – Criminal Code s. 320.14(1)(a)
  • Operating Over the Legal Limit – Alcohol – Criminal Code s. 320.14(1)(b)
  • Operating Over the Legal Limit – Drug – Criminal Code s. 320.14(1)(c)
  • Refusing a Breath Demand – Criminal Code s. 320.15

The Penalties

For a first offence:
  • Criminal Record
  • A minimum fine of $1,000, minimum $2000 for refusal
  • A minimum one-year operating prohibition; (you may be able to drive if you install an alcohol ignition-interlock device)
  • Significantly higher insurance rates
For a second offence:
  • A minimum jail sentence of 30 days
  • A minimum operating prohibition of two years
For a third offence:
  • A minimum jail sentence of 120 days
  • A operating prohibition of at least three years


If the Impaired Operation/ Operating over .08/ Refusal involves bodily harm or death, the penalties are greater (contact Mike for details)

Common Questions

Can I beat these charges?

There are many possible defenses to this type of charge, however every case is different. Once an experienced lawyer like Mike has gone through the details and understands your case, he can give you an honest opinion of your chances.

How long will I be suspended from driving?

If you are convicted or plead guilty, on your first offence you will received a minimum of a one year suspension from the day you go to court.

Are there other consequences to think about?

On top of the driving suspension, you will face a minimum of a $1000 fine plus a surcharge for your first offence. Further, you will have to reapply to get your licence and follow several conditions including taking courses and possibly having an Ignition Interlock (blow-box) installed in your vehicle. Once you have your licence back, you will then face several years of drastically increased insurance premiums.

Can I get my licence back sooner?

Yes, there are some possibilities. In Alberta, there is a possibility of getting the Ignition Interlock (blow-box) installed in your vehicle even after being sentenced in court to a an operating prohibition. Mike will explain your options based on your situation.

What if I have a prior conviction?

The Criminal Code of Canada sets a mandatory minimum 30 day jail sentence for a second offence, and a minimum 120 day sentence for a third or greater. It is extremely important to talk to get in touch with a lawyer as versed as Mike before you go to court!