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What Happens to Drunk Drivers

The summer months are the worst time of the year for impaired driving - worse than the winter holiday season. With outdoor terraces, festivals and golf, people consume more alcohol in public places in the summer. In addition, barbecues and vacation activities often mean a drink or two. However, good weather and good times don’t give anyone a licence to drink and drive. 

One way to keep drunk drivers off the road is to have more police patrols and roadside checks. Certainty of being caught is more likely to prevent people from taking the wheel after drinking than harsh penalties when they don’t believe they will be caught. That’s not to say the penalties are not’t harsh. They are. But most people don’t know what will happen to them if they are convicted of impaired driving.

Don’t think driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over .08 can be taken lightly. Impaired driving is taken very seriously by police, the justice system and society at large. In 1996 there were a staggering 87,337 cases of impaired driving over .08, or 13 percent of all criminal charges in this country. These charges resulted in 14,118 prison sentences, of a median 21 days.

A conviction could ruin your life. Here are some of the possible consequences:

A criminal record will follow you for the rest of your life. Employers (and potential employers), police, insurance agents and customs agents can access this information. Your insurance premiums will skyrocket. That is, if your insurance company renews your policy at all.

Other drivers in your household could be subject to similar increases, and any injuries you sustained or damage to your vehicle in the incident will not be covered. You will lose your freedom. Your driver’s licence will be suspended for a minimum of three months, and likely a year.

You will likely go to prison if it’s not your first offense. You may be refused entry to other countries due to your criminal record. It will cost you a lot. An average fine of between $1,000 and $2,000 to start. Plus lawyer’s fees that could go over $10,000 depending on the circumstances.

Your employment opportunities will be limited. A criminal record can prevent you from obtaining certain positions. If you drove on your job you may have to look for another job. If you kill or injure someone, the penalties compound - up to 14 years in prison for impaired driving causing death. You could also be open to a negligence lawsuit.

The defense is simple. If you drink, don’t drive; and if you know that you are going to drive, don’t drink.
We also urges friends and family members to prevent their guests, acquaintances and loved ones from driving after drinking. The reality is that if someone consumes alcohol and then gets behind the wheel of a car, it becomes everyone’s problem.
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