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By Elizabeth Murphy
Having an impaired driving conviction in Canada carries some very stiff consequences that are difficult to overcome. First of all, it is a very embarrassing thing when everyone knows what you have done and that it is a criminal offense. Even people who have never been in any kind of trouble suddenly turns into a convicted criminal because of their impaired driving conviction. Another consequence is the increase in car insurance rates, which can be rather steep and rough on the wallet.
Someone who has a blood alcohol level above 80 milligrams and is operating a motor vehicle has committed a very serious criminal offense, and this offense can become even worse if the impaired fails to comply with the demands of the police officer to submit to roadside analysis for intoxication. Either way, the damage is done, so it is in the best interest of the offender to comply in order to avoid further embarrassment, although it will do nothing for their car insurance rates.
Once the offense has been committed, the driver is considered a ‘high risk’ driver, which results in an increase of the car insurance rates called the ‘Facility rating.’ Many insurance companies will go ahead and cancel the policy of the convicted driver, but when the driver is placed within the facility rating, they are looking at insurance premiums upward of $10,000 per year for at least five years. The insurance company will also refuse to pay for any damages incurred to the offending driver’s vehicle.
Basically, all insurance policies and accident claims will be void if the vehicle of the accused is found to be involved in impaired driving or any illegal act. This can result in the insurance company suing the accused for any claims made for the damages imposed on another person’s vehicle.
For a teenager who is convicted of impaired driving, the laws are a little bit different in that their car insurance rates will be returned to normal rates when they are twenty-one years of age. This does have organizations such as MADD in a frenzy because they believe this is not a good example for young drivers because, although they do face consequences of high interest rates for a number of years it is not the usual 5 years that drivers 18 and up have to face.
Something else that needs to be taken into consideration in regards to an impaired driving conviction is that the license of the offender, no matter their age, will be suspended and that suspension may lead to an insurance surcharge. If the accused successfully defends the charge that resulted in the suspension, can provide a certified copy of the information to the insurance company, the surcharge should be removed upon renewal of the policy.
The penalties are rough, but most certainly deserved by anyone who decides to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when they are impaired. With a $10,000 per year insurance bill, that should be enough to deter anyone from driving under the influence, but there are still those who do not believe that they will get caught because they don’t feel like they are as impaired as what they actually are. It is when they get caught and are stuck with not having a license, have a criminal conviction under their belt, and five years of astronomical car insurance rates that they will regret and wish they could go back in time to do that day all over again and make the right decision regarding operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way, so the consequences must be paid.
About the Author: Owning and driving a car is a privilege. Be sure to maintain your
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by obeying the rules of the road.