Many in Quebec, including criminal defence lawyers ,will be shocked to learn of new provincial laws dealing with drinking and driving which have been in effect since December 2009. These measures are in force by virtue of the province’s jurisdiction to regulate highway traffic and vehicle licencing and exist in conjunction with the criminal laws enacted by the federal government. Drivers who register blood alcohol levels above 160mg. or who refuse a breathalyzer or sobriety test will have their car impounded immediately for 30 days . In addition to the immediate loss of driver’s licence for 90 days their driver’s licence will be suspended for three years if convicted of the applicable criminal charge and following this suspension they will be required to have an alcohol interlock ignition device installed for a period of two years. Similar penalties are in effect for those who register alcohol levels between 80mg and 160mg for the second time.
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