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New laws for those caught driving under the influence coming soon

The laws governing impaired driving in Ontario are about to change. Driving under the influence does not currently carry the same penalty for drug use as it does for alcohol. As of Oct. 2, 2016, the playing field will be more level.

Ontario drivers who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol will not only face criminal charges, but they will also have their licences suspended. As the law stands currently, men and women impaired by drugs behind the wheel face criminal prosecution, but they do not lose their licences. Under the newly revised law, high drivers will now have their driving privileges taken away, just the same as drunk drivers.

Police report that the number of Toronto drivers caught driving while impaired by drugs in 2016 has nearly tripled compared to the same time last year. There is some belief that this may be due to substance users switching to drugs from alcohol, as drug impairment is more difficult to ascertain. Officers will need to be trained to recognize the signs of a drug-impaired driver using what is known as a Standard Field Sobriety Test. Suspected drugged drivers will be evaluated by an officer who is certified by the RCMP as a Drug Recognition Expert. Anyone reasonably suspected of being on drugs while driving will be immediately removed from the road.

New laws that help make everyone safer on Ontario roads are most welcome. However, enforcing these laws will sometimes rely on judgement calls owing to the lack of accurate detection methods. Anyone who has been charged with driving under the influence could benefit from consulting with a criminal defense lawyer who understands the new laws and how they are enforced. 

Source: 680 NEWS, "New legislation arrives October to target drivers impaired by drugs", Carl Hanstke, Sept. 16, 2016

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