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Drinking & Driving Laws in Canada

Boats: The drinking laws below apply to any motorized boat. You can drink alcohol on the houseboats because there is a washroom, which officially makes it accommodations. The boat needs to be moored for the night before any alcohol can be opened. You cannot have any open alcohol on the boat under any other circumstances.

Ontario has among the most strict drinking and driving laws in the world. The legal limit in Ontario is .08 ml of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. That equates to a 200-pound man having three 5% beers. Drinking one beer per hour after that will maintain the above .08 level. It's not very much and 95% of people who are charged think they are 100% sober.

Driving in a boat while over .08 is the same charge as being in a car. If you are over .08, you can be charged for just sitting in the front seat of your car or having your keys with you while in the back seat.

If you are an American and have been charged with a blood alcohol level over.08 in your state, Ontario considers you a criminal even if it's not a criminal offense in your state. You will be refused entry into Ontario or told pay a $250 fine, which is just a government money grab and has nothing to do with safety. It will be up to the discretion of the customs officer which one he or she chooses. You can also hire a lawyer to get a pardon in your own state or you can contact the American Embassy in Ottawa and ask them to get special permission for you to enter.

New for 2009 If you are over 0.05, first offense is 3 day suspension and a $150 fine. Your car gets impounded for 3 days.

There are four levels of Over 0.08 offenses:

Over .08: Over .08 is a criminal offense in Ontario. First offense is a minimum $1000 fine, automatic 3-month driver's license suspension from the Ministry of Transportation and an additional 12-month suspension by the courts. After the suspension is a $150 reinstatement fee, minimum 1 year ignition interlock condition upon reinstatement, which cost $1300 and you have to take the remedial driver safety course, which cost $475. You also get a criminal record. People charged with drinking and driving do not qualify for legal aid. If you blow over .08 on the first breath sample and then blow under .08 on your second breath sample, the officer has the choice whether to charge you with impaired or give you a 12 hour suspension. Charged with a 12-hour suspension means your car gets towed and is impounded for 24 hours. The storage fees and towing fees will be astronomical because the government has contracted towing companies and their impoundment lots could be 100 miles away from where you are charged.

Misconception: How drunk you feel is dictated by the speed your liver metabolizes alcohol, not the amount of alcohol in your blood. A teenager with a perfectly healthy liver can be way under 0.08 and be drunk as a skunk while an older person who has been drinking for years can be way over 0.08 and feel stone cold sober. Feeling sober, tipsy or drunk has nothing to do with the over-0.08 charge. It is the main factor in the Impaired charge. More details below.

Penalties for repeat offences is charted below

Trophy Bass Photos

Trophy Bass Photos

Impaired Driving: Impaired means you are operating a motor vehicle and show signs of mental or physical impairment. You do not have to be over .08 to be charged with impaired. It's up to the discretion of the officer. Basically this law exist to charge people who do not cooperate with the police officer or drug use, which there is no convenient roadside test for.

Impaired Causing Bodily Harm: If you are over .08 or show signs of mental or physical impairment and get into an accident, you can lose your license for up to 5 years and be charged with up to $10,000. You may also face up to 2 years in jail for your first offense.

Impaired Causing Death: If you get into an accident while drinking and someone is killed, you will be charged with vehicular manslaughter. That's up to 25 years in prison.

More detailed legal information at www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/impaired/penalties.shtml

What makes you drunk:

Alcohol dulls nerve endings, dulls hearing, dulls motor skills and slows down reaction time. There is a long list of things alcohol does to your body before your brain even realizes it. That's why we have an Over 0.08 law.

As we said before, how drunk you feel is dictated by the speed your liver metabolizes alcohol, not the amount of alcohol in your blood. When your liver metabolizes alcohol it produces massive amounts of endorphins. That's why the first few drinks seem to be the best. Endorphins start stimulating the pleasure center of your brain before it starts noticeably impeding your body's motor functions.

To counteract the massive amount of endorphins being produced, your brain produces massive amounts of ceritonan. This battle between the liver's endorphins and the brain's ceritonan shuts down neural pathways in parts of the brain. This is what makes you feel drunk. Your body may become controlled by parts of the brain that should not be controlling your actions, which explains why people can get violent and out of control when they drink alcohol.

The biggest mistake people make:

As we said before, a teenager with a perfectly healthy liver can be way under 0.08 and be drunk as a skunk while an older person who has been drinking for years can be way over 0.08 and feel stone cold sober. The biggest mistake people make is to eat food and drink coffee to sober up. When you eat food and drink coffee your liver has more to metabolize thus it's trying to process your food and alcohol at the same time. This is actually slowing down the alcohol metabolism process thus less endorphins are being produced thus your brain stops producing ceritonan. As a result, your chemical balances in the brain are restored and you feel sober but in actual fact, the same amount of alcohol is still in your blood and the alcohol will stay in your system longer.

Did you even wonder why police have spot checks early in the morning when people are driving to work. Heavy drinkers drink the night before and then have their dinner before going to bed so they don't wake up with a hangover. Eating slowed down the alcohol metabolism process and when they get up in the morning these people drive to work and they are still over 0.08. This is why 95% of people that get charged with over 0.08 feel 100% sober and in many cases have not had anything to drink for hours. Feeling sober, tipsy or drunk has nothing to do with the over-0.08 charge.

People do not appreciate how important transportation is to our lives. When you lose your license, it's a snowball at the top of the hill, which will grow and crush you. Without your license, you lose your lob, lose your house, ruin your marriage etc…etc…etc...

Be safe and smart and consider your future and consider the safety of other people as well as yourself.. Don't drive if you have had anything to drink within 24 hours.

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