Impaired driving convictions are different in Canada. These convictions will haunt you for years!
"Where do laws come from?"
“Where do laws come from?”
This is one of the questions that I’m fond of asking students. Many people haven't given it a great deal of thought about where laws come from, but they have a great deal of impact on your daily life.
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Laws and particularly traffic laws and where those laws come from. Many people don't give it a great deal of thought that the members of parliament are the people who create laws and then the laws are formulated and put into legislation. Legislation and laws are one in the same thing. If you want to get specific in a court of law, there's two kinds of law:
1) Black Letter Law and
2) Case law.
Black letters law is what is written down in the legislation and Case Law, simplistically speaking, is the interpretation of that legislation in a courtroom. For drivers, most drivers in Canada are legislated by the provinces. In other words, it is the provinces that are responsible for the Highway Traffic Acts. And most people who are charged with an offense that relates to driving are charged under the Highway Traffic Act. For example, if you get a speeding ticket, you’re charged under the Highway Traffic Act, depending on which province you’re in. If you're in Ontario, you’ll get charged under the Highway Traffic Act.
Impact of a Impaired Driving Charge
Now… the wrinkle in Canada is that drink driving is charged of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The Criminal Code of Canada is not provincial. It is federal, and what a lot of drivers don't realize until later in life and they try and go to another country, try to get a passport, is that if they're charged for drink-driving under the Criminal Code of Canada you are now a criminal and cannot travel to another country. For many drivers trying to upgrade their license to a commercial drivers [licence], the better money as a bus driver or a truck driver is operating a commercial vehicle into the United States. The problem is if you’ve had a drink-driving charge 10 or 15 years previous I can't go into the United States because you are a criminal under the Criminal Code of Canada.
Canada is Different
Canada is one of the few countries in the world that charges drink-driving under the criminal code. Most countries— Australia, the United States, and other European countries—charge under their Highway Traffic Acts. They don't charge for drink-driving under the Criminal Code. So Canada is one of the few countries in the world that actually does this and it has a great impact on drivers. So if you get a drink-driving charge, your upgrading your license to a commercial driver or you want to travel to another country and you want a passport, the only way around that is to get a pardon. And there are several companies offering pardons and will help you to get a pardon, so that you can travel to these other countries or make better money as a commercial driver.
In Canada most traffic offenses—speeding, negligent driving, not wearing your seatbelt—are all charged under the Highway Traffic Act. It is provincial legislation - there are three levels of government:
Traffic is charged under the Highway Traffic Act of that province. The Criminal Code of Canada is federal legislation and if you’re caught, charged, prosecuted, and convicted for drink-driving you were charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, and are a “quote-unquote” criminal. You cannot travel to the United States of America and if you're upgrading your license to a commercial license you will have to get a pardon.