Penalties of Driving While High

Posted by Daniel K. Topp on 23 January 2019
Penalties of Driving While High


RIDE stops this year will be extra diligent due to the recent legalization of marijuana in Canada. Driving while high in Ontario and across Canada is a very serious offence, and a conviction could change your life forever.

That's why you need be aware of the laws around driving while high in your region, to ensure that you aren't the first Canadian to spend Christmas in the joint for smoking a joint behind the wheel.

Drug Impaired Driving in Canada: Rules and Restrictions

Regulations around drug-impaired driving in Canada vary between provinces, but driving while high in Ontario is absolutely prohibited. If a roadside drug test finds that you have been impaired by cannabis use, you could face a battery of penalties ranging from an immediate license suspension to fines in the thousands of dollars, to jail time.

In particular, Ontario has a zero tolerance policy in place for commercial drivers, young drivers, and those without fully graduated licensing. So, if you have a G1 or G2, don't even go near marijuana before driving!

Can You Drive High with a Medical Card in Canada?

If you are an authorized user of medical cannabis, you won't be held subject to Ontario's zero tolerance policy for young/novice/commercial drivers, however, you can still get booked if the presiding police officer deems that cannabis use has impaired your driving ability.

So, if you're wondering, "can you drive high with a medical card in Canada?" the answer is a resounding "No!"

Mandatory Sentences for Driving While High

If you're caught driving while high, you will be subject to the official penalties for impaired driving, which get more severe if you offend multiple times within a 5-year period. They are as follows:

First offence

  • 3-day license suspension. This cannot be appealed.
  • $250 penalty (begins January 2019)

Second offence within 5 years

  • 7-day license suspension (3-day suspension for commercial drivers). This cannot be appealed.
  • $350 penalty (begins January 2019)
  • You must attend a mandatory education program 9for a second occurrence within 10 years)

Third and subsequent offences within 5 years

  • 30-day license suspension (3-day suspension for commercial drivers). This cannot be appealed.
  • $450 penalty (begins January 2019)
  • You must attend a mandatory treatment program (for third and subsequent offence within 10 years)
  • You will need to undergo a mandatory medical evaluation to determine whether you meet the requirements for driving in Ontario (for fourth and subsequent offence within 10 years).

In addition to the penalties above, you will also face a $198 license reinstatement fee each time your license is suspended. You may also be charged under the Highway Traffic Act and if convicted, you will face an additional suspension and fine.

Penalties for a BAC Over the Legal Limit, Refuse Testing or Impairment

If you refuse to take a drug or alcohol test, register a BAC over 0.08, or if a drug recognition evaluator determines that you are impaired, you will face:

  • 90-day licence suspension
  • 7-day vehicle impoundment
  • $550 penalty (begins January 2019)
  • $198 licence reinstatement fee
  • You must attend mandatory education or treatment program (for second and subsequent occurrences within 10 years)
  • You will be required to use an ignition interlock device for at least 6 months (for third and subsequent occurrences within 10 years)


Were you caught driving while high? Fight a drug-impaired driving charge in Canada with the help of Daniel K. Topp. Contact us today.


Driving High: Marijuana Legalization and Vehicle Operation

Posted by Daniel K. Topp on 19 December 2018
Driving High: Marijuana Legalization and Vehicle Operation

Elements of Canada's Cannabis Act have been under continuous scrutiny since the drug's legalization in October. While there are still a few kinks to be worked out in regards to the distribution, accessibility, and purchase, there are things set in stone regarding road safety and driving.

Here's what you need to know about marijuana and driving laws in Ontario:

Can I drive under the influence of cannabis?

Driving high is against the law in Ontario. You may face license suspensions, fines, criminal charges and even jail time if you are found to be driving under the influence of drugs.

How much marijuana can I consume and drive?

Though impairment may vary from person to person based on consumption method, quantity, and varying THC levels in the product, there are currently no guidelines on acceptable consumption limits for Ontario drivers. Any amount over 2 mg/ml may face criminal charges and/or fines.

Be advised that as per the Canadian government, until the science improves, Canada takes a zero-tolerance approach to drug impaired driving.

Does cannabis affect my driving abilities?

Cannabis in any quantity has the potential to affect your:

  • Motor Skills
  • Reaction Time
  • Decision Making
  • Concentration and Memory

Each of the above in any combination or singularly can impact your driving and reaction time in case of unexpected events.

How is cannabis tested for and enforced on the roads?

Canada is continuing to invest in SFST (standardized field sobriety test) and DRE (drug recognition expert) training to increase safety on our roads. These specialists in drug and alcohol impairment are trained to use a variety of methods to recognize the state of a driver including breathalysers, toxicological exams and interviews.  For a full breakdown of road enforcement, visit the RCMP website.

What is Bill C-46?

Bill C-46 is a two-part bill that's an amendment to the Criminal Code dealing with offences and procedures relating to drug- and alcohol-impaired driving. This bill provides police officers enhanced powers to determine field sobriety, allowing them to demand a breath sample from any driver that is lawfully stopped.

Bill C-46 Part I : THC Concentration Limits

Part I of Bill C-46 introduced three new offences related to drug-impaired motorists based on the concentration of THC in the bloodstream measured in nanograms per mililitre (ng/ml).

  • Low-Level THC (2ng/ml - <5ng/ml) will face a $1,000 fine
  • Higher-Level THC (>5ng/ml) will face a fine of $1,000 to 120 days in jail
  • Combined effects of THC and alcohol consumption (50 mg/100ml + >2.5ng/ml) will face a fine of $1,000 to 120 days in jail

Individual provinces may add additional penalties on top of the above.


Have you been charged with driving high? Protect your rights and reputation by contacting Topp Law for consultation, and to help you through the complicated process.




What You Need to Know About Marijuana Legalization in Canada

Posted by Daniel K. Topp on 26 November 2018
What You Need to Know About Marijuana Legalization in Canada

Marijuana legalization in Canada has brought with it a slew of social and legal changes the courts and law professionals are still navigating through. However, there are some key points you need to be aware of before you can enjoy a good puff of that sweet, sweet Hindu Kush.

Where You Can Buy Weed in Canada

While you can now buy weed in Canada legally, specific distribution channels and restrictions vary on a province-by-province basis. While some will allow you to buy weed in Canada from private stores and online sites, others will restrict sale to government-run stores and sites. In Ontario, the only way to buy weed legally is from the Ontario Cannabis Store website.

To learn about weed vendors and restrictions in your jurisdiction, please click here.

You Can Have 4 Plants per Household in Canada

While marijuana is available in legal dispensaries or online sites across the country, Canadians can also grow their own marijuana plants for personal use. People are allowed 4 plants per household in Canada; however, Quebec and Manitoba may introduce provincial legislation to prevent residences from growing their own marijuana plants, even for recreational use.

Additionally, some municipalities across the country are restricting public weed smoking, so be aware of where you light up!

Can You Drive High with a Medical Card in Canada?

Under no circumstances are you allowed to drive while under the influence of marijuana in Canada. Driving while high is an indictable offense that can yield hundreds of dollars in fines and up to 10 years in prison.

Roadside drug testing in Ontario involves the administration of a saliva test that analyzes the amount of THC in the driver's system. If you have 1-5 nanograms of THC in your blood, you could face a fine up to $1,000, as well as suspension of driving privileges.

However, if roadside drug testing in Ontario finds more than five nanograms, you could be convicted and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, if you don't have a dependable defence attorney on your side. So, no, you can't drive high with a medical card in Canada.

Were you caught driving while high? Avoid fines and potential prison time with the help of Windsor's Topp lawyer! Contact Daniel K. Topp today at 519-254-0500.


Daniel Topp -- Criminal Lawyer Windsor

Posted on 20 June 2018
Daniel Topp -- Criminal Lawyer Windsor

In The News 

I have been featured by the media not only for cases I have fought and won but as an expert in criminal law. Some of the cases below also help to understand when it is best to plead guilty as an accused in order to receive a favourable sentence. These cases are just some examples of my work as a criminal lawyer in Windsor, Ontario. Please feel free to contact me to discuss any of these cases or your current situation.  

From CBC News Canada 

Rachel Notley: pipelines, robbery jail sentence

From the National Post 

Ontario man who carried out 'bizarre robbery attempt' because he would rather live in jail gets four years

From the Windsor Star

Dreams of sex crime not enough to convict magician judge

Drunk driver who called police on himself, says that decision has turned his life around

Fraudster Bishop gets three years for trail of 'malice and deceit'

Man sentenced to four years for 'bizarre' bank robbery attempt

If you need assistance in any criminal matter, contact my office today. 


Feature photo credited to Windsor Star.


New policy for bail that everybody needs to know about

Posted by Daniel K. Topp on 26 September 2017

everybody needs to know about this if you ever have to worry about bail - please read



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