Drinking and driving is dangerous and it's a crime. Upon conviction of impaired driving, the person will have a criminal record. Charges are laid under the federal Criminal Code of Canada. The penalties for impaired driving can vary within the Justice Department's fine schedule and is normally at the descretion of the Crown Prosecutor and the Judge. Currently, for first offences, the fines in Manitoba can range from $1,000 to $2,000 and in additions, sanctions and conditions are added to each conviction. The Government of Manitoba has jurisdiction over road safety and has the power to impose sanctions for impaired driving, like driver's licence suspensions, vehicle impoundment, and conditions for regaining a driver's licence after the drunk driving conviction. These sanctions are under the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act (HTA) the following are a list of applicable sanctions for impaired driving offences in Manitoba: - 24 hour licence suspension for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .05 or refusing a breath or blood test. - Driver's with two or more .05 incidents in three years must complete the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) program in order to regain their driver's licence. - Vehicle impoundment and immediate three month licence suspension for over .08 or refusing a breath or blood test. - If the driver's BAC is under .16, the vehicle impoundment period is 30 days for the first offence and 90 days for repeat offenders. - If the driver's BAC is over .16, the vehicle impoundment period is 60 days for a first offence and 180 days for repeat offenders. - Licence suspension upon conviction of impaired driving over .08 or driving while disqualified is 1 year for a first offence and up to five years for repeat offenders. - Licence suspension upon conviction for refusing a breath or blood test is two years for a first offence and up to seven years for repeat offenders. - Suspended drivers cannot legally drive again without completing an AFM alcohol/drug assessment and intervention programs (if required). - The criterion for determining a repeat offender for the purpose of licence suspensions upon convictions is having two or more convictions within five years. - Vehicle impoundment for driving while disqualified is 30 days for a first offence and 90 days for repeat offenders. The cost for a first offence of impaired driving in Manitoba can be very costly, both financially and inconvenience. Financially, typically, upon conviction, the impaired driver's court fine could be $600 minimum, and $350 for relicencing fee, $270 for AFM fees and $130 Licence Suspension Appeal Board fee, resulting in a total relicencing cost of $1,350 for a typical nine month conditional licence period. Costs escalate with repeat offences. In addition, the Manitoba Government is considering several new countermeasures to strenghten the approach toward reducing impaired driving offences in Manitoba. Vehicle forfeiture laws are under consideration. This law will require that vehicles driven by repeat impaired driving offenders can be sold by the province with proceed of sale forfeited to the government. Alcohol ignition interlock devices. This law will require that convicted impaired drivers can be ordered by the courts to install these interlocking devices into their vehicles, at their own expense, for a set duration. The device will serve as a breathalizer unit that will prevent the vehicle from being started until the driver provides a breath sample into the unit. A set level of .02 may be established and any reading higher than .02 will not allow the activation of the vehicle ignition system. Lifetime Driver's Licence suspensions is also under consideration. Several provinces in Canada have this law in place where a lifetime or indefinite driver's licence suspension for persons who accumulate three or more impaired driving offences within five years. Also under consideration is whether this law will also include lifetime or indefinite driver's licence suspensions for driver's convicted of impaired driving causing bodily harm or death. Impaired driving convictions can be easily prevented. If you are going to use your vehicle and intend to drink, make alternate plans before drinking. Don't take a chance that you will get home safely. Do you really want a criminal record?