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New bill to increase maximum penalties for impaired driving

A new bill dealing with impaired driving was recently introduced. Bill C-73, Dangerous and Impaired Driving Act, in an attempt to change driving-related criminal offences. The bill proposes to change both how impaired driving charges are defended - making it more difficult to do so - and to increase minimum penalties.

The bill proposes to change the definition of impaired driving to now read as "has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood alcohol concentration that is equal to or exceeds 80 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood." The effect of this change is to attempt to remove defences that demonstrate that while the accused may have had that much alcohol in their blood when given the breathalyzer, they were not yet impaired when driving. 

The bill proposes to change  the offence of failing to stop for police. The driver's failure to stop would not have to be the current "evade the peace officer." It would be changed to be an offence if someone didn't stop "without reasonable excuse," as soon as is it "reasonable in the circumstances." 

As for penalties, the minimum penalty, for impaired driving causing death, would be increased from a $1,000 fine to six years in prison. The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing bodily harm, increase from 10 years imprisonment to 14 years. The maximum penalty for driving-related offences without bodily harm would increase from five years imprisonment to 10 years.

information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill

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