Drug-impaired driving is when someone operates a motorized vehicle (cars, trucks, boats, off-roading toys such as snowmobiles, four wheelers, dirt bikes, etc.) while under the influence of drugs including marijuana, prescription drugs or illegal substances.
There are several tools that police officers can use to determine if a person is driving under the influence of drugs. If you are lawfully stopped by a police officer and they have reason to suspect you are (or were) driving impaired they have a right to ask for the following:
If a police officer suspects that you are impaired, they can demand you participate in a Standardized Field Sobriety Test, which are usually done on the roadside. This test consists of a series of tasks such as walking toe-to-toe in a straight line (walk and turn test), standing on one leg, and an eye test that consists of following a pen or flashlight horizontally.
If police suspect that a driver is impaired by drugs, they can require a saliva sample for testing using approved drug screening devices if available. According to Canada’s Criminal Code, approved devices under section 320.11 of the Criminal Code include: the Dräger DrugTest® 5000 and a Dräger DrugTest® 5000 STK-CA, when used together; and the SoToxa™, an Abbott SoToxa™ Test Cartridge and an Abbott SoToxa™ Oral Fluid Collection Device, when used together.
If you are suspected of being drug-impaired while driving, police officers can bring you to a station to conduct a drug recognition evaluation. This evaluation is performed by qualified police officers that have been trained to detect if a person is impaired and include tests such as blood pressure, pupil size/reaction, body temperature, pulse rate, etc. If this test is failed, drivers are required to submit to additional samples such as blood, urine and/or saliva. Failure of any of the mentioned tests or refusal to participate will result in being charged under the Criminal Code, with the same, or greater implications that are attached to impaired driving.
Anyone at or under the age of 21, or any driver that is not fully licensed (G1, G2, M1, M2) are prohibited from having any trace of alcohol or drugs in their system while driving. This is considered the zero-tolerance policy, any trace of impairment will cause police officers to charge the driver under the Criminal Code. This zero-tolerance rule is also applied to commercially licensed drivers.
For fully licensed drivers that are deemed to be impaired under one of the following drugs categories (Cocaine, LSD, Ketamine, Heroin, PCP, Magic Mushrooms, Methamphetamine and more) can be charged if there is an “any detectable level” or impairment.
However, when it comes to cannabis there is a range in place similar to detection of BAC, called blood drug concentration and the immediate penalties in addition to impaired driving charges are as follows:
Between 2-5 nanograms of THC per ml of blood (summary conviction offence)
5+ nanograms of THC per ml of blood (drug alone hybrid offence)
2.5+ ng of THC/ml of blood plus 50mg alcohol/100ml of blood (drug-alcohol hybrid offence)
If you have been charged with impaired driving, of any substance, you should immediately contact an experienced Impaired Driving Lawyer. Here at What The Law, our criminal defence lawyers have extensive experience in representing defendants who have been charged with Drug-Impaired Driving. Contact our team today so we can explore your options and work towards having your charges lowered or dismissed.
If you are charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle, you should use your right to remain silent and then contact a criminal lawyer. You should not make a statement to the police. If you have already done so, the experienced lawyers at What The Law may be able to get your statement excluded from court. The earlier you contact us, the better.
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