Understanding Your Rights
It you drive past a RIDE sobriety check-point, it is important to know your rights. RIDE Programs allow the police to make a quick determination of whether or not you have been drinking. If you have been drinking, the police will investigate whether you are a) driving impaired by alcohol, or b) over the legal limit (80 mg/ 100 ml of blood alcohol level).
Admitting to Alcohol Consumption
If you admit to consuming alcohol, the officer can demand a roadside test. You are not required to respond to questions by the police, failing to do so may lead the police to suspect you have consumed alcohol. Officers will often look for other signs of impairment. Such indicia include but are not limited to 1) odour of alcohol, 2) glassy eyes, 3) slurred speech, 4) fumbling of documents, 5) poor coordination or delayed responses.
If you are asked by an officer to blow in a roadside screening device, there are four possible results: 1) pass , 2) fail, 3) warning, 4) error.
A pass sign indicates that you are less than 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
First Occurrence: The police can immediately suspend your licence for three days for registering a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 and 0.08 (50 – 80 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood) for a first occurrence.
Second Occurrence: Your licence can be suspended for seven days for a second occurrence and you must undergo an alcohol education or treatment program.
Third Occurrence: Your licence can be suspended for 30 days for a third or subsequent occurrence. You will face a mandatory alcohol education or treatment program and an ignition interlock condition will be placed on your licence for six months.
A fail sign means that your sample registered as having an alcohol content over 80 mg per 100 ml of blood.
An error sign means that you have provided an unsuitable sample. This may be the result of a defective device. In such circumstances, the officer will ask you to blow again or will use another device.
You’ve Failed the Test. Now What?
The officer will place you are under arrest.
What You Should Know
The approved screening device is not evidence against you.
However, it does provide the officer with reasonable and probable grounds to believe that you are driving under the influence and that your blood alcohol level is over 80.
What Will Happen to You
What will happen next is likely the following:
- The officer will demand two suitable breath samples from you.
- You will then be taken to the station.
- It is very important here to speak to a lawyer right away.
- A blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08 is a criminal offence and will result in an immediate 90-day roadside suspension and your vehicle will be impounded for seven days.
- If convicted, you will receive a lengthy licence suspension, a criminal record, usually a fine, and mandatory alcohol education or treatment and an ignition interlock condition.
What can you do
- If the machine registered a fail, you must call a lawyer immediately.
- Do not make any admissions.
- It is worth remembering that everything you say can be recorded and used against you.
- The officer is listening to your every word and observing your every action. Do not say more than you need to (namely identifying yourself by name and address).
How About “Not-blowing”? Should You Refuse to Blow?
- If the police believe that you are not providing a suitable sample deliberately, they will charge you with refuse to provide a sample.
- This offence holds the exact penalty as being convicted with impaired driving.
- That said, if you are unable to provide a suitable breath sample (due to medical reasons), the officer may demand a blood sample from you.