Quebec repeat DUI offenders to face lifetime ignition interlock penalty
Quebec drivers are about to be subjected to one of the toughest drunk driving penalties in North America, as the government prepares to implement a stricter measure for repeat offenders.
The new law—which is slated to take effect before the year runs out—would mean that drivers who have more than one DUI conviction will risk facing a lifetime penalty which involves installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in all their vehicles. This device is a breathalyzer that mandates the driver to blow air into it before starting the ignition, however, the device has a technology that ensures that the engine remains switched off once it detects a very high blood alcohol level.
Currently, the province already has a law that places a lifetime IID usage on drivers who have three or more DUI convictions within the space of 10 years, but with the introduction of this new law, it would increase the level of punishment for drunk driving at any time.
According to Quebec’s Highway Safety Code, DUI offenders can be pardoned and get their ignition interlock removed but only after a 10-year period—and proving in court that they’d never drive drunk again.
Nonetheless, the best way to ensure that you stay protected against harsh penalties is to hire an experienced DUI defence lawyer who has a solid knowledge of DUI laws and can mount a successful defense for you in court.
Any driver who has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more at the time they are stoppedis liable to face serious criminal charges, according to Canadian driving laws. In some other provinces—excluding Quebec—additional cashpenalties are demanded from drivers who have a BAC of 0.05 per cent or more.
The dangers of drunk driving cannot be over-exaggerated, and an ignition interlock device is just one of the expensive consequences of driving under the influence. However, Quebec has recently just made the car technology cheaper, but with monthly rental, service charges and installation fees part of the recurring cost, it can easily become very expensive. According to Jacques Bergeron, professor at the University of Montreal, the average cost of an ignition interlock device to a lifetime offender is $30,000.
Despite their cost, ignition interlock devices have been very effective in lowering the rate of drunk driving in the province. Since their introduction as a DUI penalty, there has been a 50% per cent reduction in the number of repeat offenders between 2013 and 2017. Also, the discovered that the rate of recidivism increased after the IID devices were removed, causing the government to embrace the new, tougher lifetime penalty.
Provincial officials have hinted that the new law for ignition interlock devices would be wrapped up and launched later this year—just in the nick of time for significant anti-DUI campaigns by the authorities.
Having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle is just one of the numerous other penalties DUI offenders face. The most popular penalty for DUI offenders is getting a driver’s license suspension—which could either be temporary or permanent depending on the outcome of the case. While first-time offenders might be able to convince the court to offer them a light suspension, repeat offenders might not enjoy the same privileges.
DUI offenders are also likely to be slammed with a heavy fine as a penalty for breaking driving laws. This fine could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars and can be either a substitute or done in conjunction with another penalty. For example, if convicted of a DUI offense, the court can mandate you to pay the sum of $2,000 in addition to having a lifetime ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
While first time DUI offenders would most likely avoid jail, repeat offenders are at risk of prison time for a period of almost six months. It gets even worse in the event that your drunk driving led to severe damage to either lives or properties. In this case, except your lawyer mounts a good defense for you in court and gets you a probation sentence, you would most likely spend time in jail.
Whatever the case may be, a DUI charge can be both expensive and damaging to any individual—especially since once found guilty, you would now have a criminal record despite serving your sentence.