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What does "impaired driving" mean?
Impaired driving refers to a person driving a car, truck, snowmobile, boat, aircraft, train or other motor vehicle when his or her ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or drugs.
An individual can be convicted of the criminal offence of impaired driving when there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the person's impaired nature. Evidence might show that the person was driving very slowly or too quickly, was not driving in a straight line or under control, could not manage simple physical tasks, had slurred speech or bloodshot eyes or had breath that smelled of alcohol. A person who is impaired by alcohol can be convicted of impaired driving, whether or not the person's blood alcohol content was over the "legal limit."
What is the "legal limit"?
When the alcohol content in an individual's blood is more than 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood, the person can be convicted of being "over the legal limit" (being "over 80"). In most cases, a breath test is used to determine the blood alcohol concentration. In some situations, a blood test is used to determine the level of intoxication.
A person whose blood alcohol content is above the legal limit could be convicted even if the person didn't act drunk or seem to be impaired. The punishment for this criminal offence is the same as the punishment for driving while impaired.