DUI Penalties

There are some pretty large penalties for Drinking & Driving or impaired driving (DUI) in Vancouver.

If you are caught driving under the influence you will probably be charged with two (2) criminal offences. The first offense you can be charged with is Impaired driving, the second one can be for driving while having a blood/alcohol level of over 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood (driving "over 80"). If you are convicted by either or both of these charges you punishment will be the same.

There are usually one or two ways a police officer can charge you with impaired driving. The most common situation can occur when you are pulled over by a police who is carrying out a spot check program. The second most common way to get charged for impaired driving is when a police officer observes your driving and pulls you over as a result of your poor driving. In the latter situation the officer has a more solid case because they can use your driving as evidence to convict you of drunk driving.


Many people wonder why they should try and defend the charges. The reason why is because the consequences of an impaired driving conviction are very substantial. In addition to receiving a criminal conviction, criminal record, possible problems with employment and travel, if you are convicted you are subject to the following penalties.

First Conviction Min. $600.00
Second Conviction Min. 14 Days in Custody
Third Conviction Min. 90 Days in Custody
First Conviction Min. One(1) Year
Second Conviction Min. Two(2) Years
Third Conviction Min. Three(3) Years
The above penalties are minimum penalties and are thus subject to increase depending on the particular circumstances of your case.

Provincial Legislation - Motor Vehicle Act RSBC 1996 Chapter 318

In addition to the penalties above there are more penalties you can receive if you are convicted of impaired driving, blowing over 80, and failing to provide a breath sample (refusal). These additional penalties fall under the Motor Vehicle Act of British Columbia. You should particular keep in mind that upon third conviction for impaired driving (if the two convictions were within the last 10 years) you are subject to an indefinite driving prohibition.

First Conviction One (1) Year
Second Conviction Three (3) Years*
Second Subsequent Conviction Indefinite**
*The first conviction must be within five (5) years of the legislation coming into force and be within 10 years of the current convictions.
**The first and subsequent conviction must be within 10 years of the current conviction.

Driving While Disqualified / Prohibited

Driving During Pre-Trial Prohibition Period

If you are convicted of driving during the pre-trial driving prohibition period you will receive a fine of $500.00 to a maximum of $2000.00. If you receive a second offence you will receive the same range of fine but will also be incarcerated for at least 14 days.

You will also receive an additional 12 month driving prohibition for driving during this prohibited period.

Driving During Post-Trial Prohibition Period

Criminal Code

If you are charged under the Criminal Code with driving while disqualified, you will face a further fine and an additional discretionary order of prohibition.

Motor Vehicle Act of British Columbia

If you are convicted of driving during the post conviction Motor Vehicle Act prohibition period contrary to the Motor Vehicle Act, you will face in the amount of $500.00 to $2,000.00 for a first offence and a fine in the amount of $500.00 to $2,000.00 for a subsequent offence and a minimum jail sentence of 14 days. Additionally, you will receive a significant further discretionary prohibition.

The penalties set out above are minimum penalties and are thus subject to increase depending on the particular circumstances of the case.

Curative Discharge

Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a curative discharge. If such a disposition is granted, it would avoid a criminal conviction and possibly a jail sentence. Curative discharges are not common.

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