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Impaired Driving and Driving Offences

The consequences of a conviction for a driving offence like Operating a Motor Vehicle While Impaired and Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample can include a fine or a prison sentence, as well as a lengthy suspension or permanent disqualification of your drivers licence.

It is important that you get legal advice immediately to limit the negative impact a driving related charge can have on you or your family’s lives. You need to know what to say and do while in police custody, and how and when you can get your drivers licence and vehicle back, as well as other important information. Only a lawyer can provide you with the proper legal advice when confronted with a criminal charge, so do not hesitate to contact us.


Minimum Sentences for Impaired Driving and Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample

There are minimum sentences for driving impaired type charges in Canada. The rules depend on the charge, and your record for similar offences. For a person without no criminal record convicted of Driving while Impaired, the minimum sentence is a $1000.00 fine and a 1 year driving prohibition. Generally the fine will start at more than $1000, and will increase depending on the circumstances of your particular case.

There have been cases in Manitoba where a person with no record was sentenced to jail for driving while impaired. Click here to read more.

In cases where the accused person has been convicted of one driving related offence previously, the prosecution can give notice that they are proceeding as a Second Offence, causing the minimum sentence to be 30 days of custody and a two (2) year driving prohibition.

Finally, in cases where the accused person has multiple convictions for driving related offences, the prosecutor can give notice they are proceeding by Subsequent Offence. In these cases, the minimum sentence is 120 days in custody and a three (3) year driving prohibition.

If you have been convicted of refusing to provide a breath sample, the minimum sentences follow the same system as above, only it is considered aggravating by the court if you refused rather than provided the breath samples. Also, driving prohibitions tend to be longer for refusal charges.

The Province of Manitoba also suspends drivers who have been convicted of driving while impaired or a related offence. These driving suspensions act independent of the court system, and are imposed by the Province upon conviction. As well, your vehicle can be impounded for 30 days or more (click here for more about vehicle impounding).

See section 264(1) of the Highway Traffic Act for more information about automatic suspensions (click here)


Rees & Dyck Criminal Defence lawyers have experience dealing with the issues arising from impaired driving charges. Call for a free consultation – 204.415.5544.


To read more about the different offences related to impaired driving, click here.


To read more about Dangerous Driving and Dangerous Driving Causing Death, click here.


*Note: The information on this page is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have been charged, seek legal advice.