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OPERATION WHILE IMPAIRED

253. (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,


(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or


(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.


For greater certainty


(2) For greater certainty, the reference to impairment by alcohol or a drug in paragraph (1)(a) includes impairment by a combination of alcohol and a drug.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 253; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 36, c. 32 (4th Supp.), s. 59; 2008, c. 6, s. 18.


Punishment


255. (1) Every one who commits an offence under section 253 or 254 is guilty of an indictable offence or an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable,


(a) whether the offence is prosecuted by indictment or punishable on summary conviction, to the following minimum punishment, namely,


(i) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000,

(ii) for a second offence, to imprisonment for not less than 30 days, and

(iii) for each subsequent offence, to imprisonment for not less than 120 days;

(b) where the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and


(c) if the offence is punishable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months.


Impaired driving causing bodily harm


(2) Everyone who commits an offence under paragraph 253(1)(a) and causes bodily harm to another person as a result is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.

Blood alcohol level over legal limit — bodily harm


(2.1) Everyone who, while committing an offence under paragraph 253(1)(b), causes an accident resulting in bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.

Failure or refusal to provide sample — bodily harm


(2.2) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection 254(5) and, at the time of committing the offence, knows or ought to know that their operation of the motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, their assistance in the operation of the aircraft or railway equipment or their care or control of the motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment caused an accident resulting in bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.

Impaired driving causing death


(3) Everyone who commits an offence under paragraph 253(1)(a) and causes the death of another person as a result is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

Blood alcohol level over legal limit — death


(3.1) Everyone who, while committing an offence under paragraph 253(1)(b), causes an accident resulting in the death of another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

Failure or refusal to provide sample — death


(3.2) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection 254(5) and, at the time of committing the offence, knows or ought to know that their operation of the motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, their assistance in the operation of the aircraft or railway equipment or their care or control of the motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment caused an accident resulting in the death of another person, or in bodily harm to another person whose death ensues, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

Interpretation


(3.3) For greater certainty, everyone who is liable to the punishment described in any of subsections (2) to (3.2) is also liable to the minimum punishment described in paragraph (1)(a).

Previous convictions


(4) A person who is convicted of an offence committed under section 253 or subsection 254(5) is, for the purposes of this Act, deemed to be convicted for a second or subsequent offence, as the case may be, if they have previously been convicted of

(a) an offence committed under either of those provisions;


(b) an offence under subsection (2) or (3); or


(c) an offence under section 250, 251, 252, 253, 259 or 260 or subsection 258(4) of this Act as this Act read immediately before the coming into force of this subsection.


Conditional discharge


*(5) Notwithstanding subsection 730(1), a court may, instead of convicting a person of an offence committed under section 253, after hearing medical or other evidence, if it considers that the person is in need of curative treatment in relation to his consumption of alcohol or drugs and that it would not be contrary to the public interest, by order direct that the person be discharged under section 730 on the conditions prescribed in a probation order, including a condition respecting the person’s attendance for curative treatment in relation to that consumption of alcohol or drugs.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 255; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 36; R.S., 1985, c. 1 (4th Supp.), s. 18(F); 1995, c. 22, s. 18; 1999, c. 32, s. 3(Preamble); 2000, c. 25, s. 2; 2008, c. 6, s. 21, c. 18, ss. 7, 45.2.

* [Note: In force in the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Alberta and in the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, see SI/85-211 and SI/88-24.]

Aggravating circumstances for sentencing purposes


255.1 Without limiting the generality of section 718.2, where a court imposes a sentence for an offence committed under this Act by means of a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft or of railway equipment, evidence that the concentration of alcohol in the blood of the offender at the time when the offence was committed exceeded one hundred and sixty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood shall be deemed to be aggravating circumstances relating to the offence that the court shall consider under paragraph 718.2(a).


1999, c. 32, s. 4(Preamble).


...


Mandatory order of prohibition


259. (1) When an offender is convicted of an offence committed under section 253 or 254 or this section or discharged under section 730 of an offence committed under section 253 and, at the time the offence was committed or, in the case of an offence committed under section 254, within the three hours preceding that time, was operating or had the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft or of railway equipment or was assisting in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment, the court that sentences the offender shall, in addition to any other punishment that may be imposed for that offence, make an order prohibiting the offender from operating a motor vehicle on any street, road, highway or other public place, or from operating a vessel or an aircraft or railway equipment, as the case may be,

(a) for a first offence, during a period of not more than three years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, and not less than one year;

(b) for a second offence, during a period of not more than five years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, and not less than two years; and

(c) for each subsequent offence, during a period of not less than three years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment.

Alcohol ignition interlock device program


(1.1) If the offender is registered in an alcohol ignition interlock device program established under the law of the province in which the offender resides and complies with the conditions of the program, the offender may, subject to subsection (1.2), operate a motor vehicle equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device during the prohibition period, unless the court orders otherwise.

Minimum absolute prohibition period


(1.2) An offender who is registered in a program referred to in subsection (1.1) may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device until

(a) the expiry of a period of

(i) for a first offence, 3 months after the day on which sentence is imposed,

(ii) for a second offence, 6 months after the day on which sentence is imposed, and

(iii) for each subsequent offence, 12 months after the day on which sentence is imposed; or

(b) the expiry of any period that may be fixed by order of the court that is greater than a period referred to in paragraph (a).

(1.3) and (1.4) [Repealed, 2008, c. 18, s. 8]

Discretionary order of prohibition


(2) If an offender is convicted or discharged under section 730 of an offence under section 220, 221, 236, 249, 249.1, 250, 251 or 252 or any of subsections 255(2) to (3.2) committed by means of a motor vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment, the court that sentences the offender may, in addition to any other punishment that may be imposed for that offence, make an order prohibiting the offender from operating a motor vehicle on any street, road, highway or other public place, or from operating a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment, as the case may be,

(a) during any period that the court considers proper, if the offender is sentenced to imprisonment for life in respect of that offence;

(a.1) during any period that the court considers proper, plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, if the offender is liable to imprisonment for life in respect of that offence and if the sentence imposed is other than imprisonment for life;

(b) during any period not exceeding ten years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, if the offender is liable to imprisonment for more than five years but less than life in respect of that offence; and

(c) during any period not exceeding three years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, in any other case.

Consecutive prohibition periods


(2.1) The court may, when it makes an order under this section prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment, as the case may be, order that the time served under that order be served consecutively to the time served under any other order made under this section that prohibits the operation of the same means of transport and that is in force.

Jim O'Neil, LL.B.

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