Impaired Driving
DON'T CROSS THE LINE...


Manitoba's Tough Stance on Impaired Driving -

What Does it Mean to You?


Impaired Driving is a Crime

Impaired driving is dangerous and it's a crime. Manitoba takes a tough stand against impaired driving any kind of vehicle, on or off the road.

Protect the safety of your family, friends and neighbours. Be road wise - make the right choice - don't drive impaired!

Note - Fees and charges referred to below are subject to change.

Immediate Consequences under The Highway Traffic Act

If you are operating or have care or control of a motor vehicle, boat, aircraft or railway equipment and you are stopped by the police, your motor vehicle driver's licence can be suspended immediately if:

  • The officer believes that you are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle due to being under the influence of a drug;
  • You fail an oral fluid drug screening device test or register a “warn” or a “fail” on a breath screening device;
  • You have a blood alcohol concentration equal to or over .05;
  • You fail a physical coordination test. Trained officers have the authority to administer a series of physical coordination tests to assess whether a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs; or
  • The officer believes that you are too impaired to perform a physical coordination test or to comply with a demand to supply a breath, oral fluid, or blood sample.

If the officer believes that you are too impaired to perform a physical coordination test or to comply with a demand to supply a breath, oral fluid, or blood sample, or that you are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle due to being under the influence of a drug:

  • Your motor vehicle driver’s licence will be immediately suspended for 24 hours.

If you register a “warn” on a breath screening device, are found to have a blood alcohol concentration of between .05 and .079, fail a physical coordination test, fail a drug screening test, or fail a drug recognition evaluation test, or you will receive an immediate tiered driver's licence suspension:

  • If it is your first time, you will receive an immediate 3 day driver’s licence suspension. The driver’s licence suspension will be 7 days if there is a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the incident;
  • Upon your second time within 10 years, you will receive an immediate 15-day driver’s licence suspension;
  • Upon your third time within 10 years, you will receive an immediate 30-day driver’s licence suspension; and
  • Four or more times within 10 years results in an immediate 60-day driver’s licence suspension.

If you fail a physical coordination test or register a “fail” on a breath screening device you can be asked to take a breathalyzer test or provide a blood sample, or if you fail a physical coordination test or an oral fluid drug screening test you can be asked to provide a blood sample. The breathalyzer test or blood sample test, could lead to more significant sanctions. Your motor vehicle driver's licence can be suspended for 3 months if you:

  • Refuse to provide a breath, oral fluid, or blood sample;
  • Refuse to participate in a physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation test;
  • Fail to follow the officer's instructions regarding the, breath, oral fluid, blood, physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation test; or
  • Register a blood alcohol concentration equal to or over .08 or have blood test results that exceed the legal blood/drug level.

When your driver’s licence is suspended:

  • You are disqualified from driving any type of vehicle on or off the road for the duration of the suspension;
  • Your vehicle may be removed, confiscated by the officer and stored at your expense;
  • You are subject to a $50 licence reinstatement charge;
  • If you receive a combination of any two tiered driver's licence suspensions in a ten-year period, or one or more 3-month suspensions, you will be required to attend a mandatory impaired driver's assessment at your own expense. The assessment is conducted by the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM), and the cost is $625.

If you are operating or have care or control of a motor vehicle and you are stopped by the police, your motor vehicle can be impounded at your expense:

  • If your blood alcohol concentration is at or over .08 or your blood test results exceed the legal blood/drug level, your vehicle can be impounded for at least 30 days. You may be subject to longer vehicle impoundment for repeat offences or for higher blood alcohol levels;
  • If you refuse to provide a breath, oral fluid, or blood sample, refuse to participate in a physical coordination test or drug recognition evaluation test, or fail to follow the officer's instructions regarding the test, your vehicle will be impounded for at least 60 days.

Criminal Charges and Consequences upon Conviction

In addition to the immediate consequences listed above for impaired driving, you can also be charged with criminal offences such as:

  • Driving while Impaired by Drugs or Alcohol
  • Driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) equal to or over .08
  • Driving with a Blood Drug Concentration over the legal limits
  • Refusing to Provide a Breath, Oral Fluid or Blood Sample to Police upon Request
  • Refusing to participate in a Physical Coordination Test or Drug Recognition Evaluation Test
  • Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death

Persons convicted of drive impaired, drive with a blood alcohol concentration equal to or over .08 or refuse breath/blood sample may receive the following penalties:

  • A minimum fine of $1000 for a first conviction, which can increase to a minimum of $1,500 if the driver has a BAC at or between .12 and .16, or to a minimum of $2,000 if the driver has a BAC of .16 or higher or refused to provide a breath or blood sample.
  • A mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days for a second conviction or 120 days for subsequent convictions.
  • A minimum one year driving prohibition for a first conviction, a minimum 2 year driving prohibition for a second conviction and a minimum 3 year driving prohibition for subsequent convictions.

Manitobans convicted of one the above Criminal Code charges face the following suspensions under The Highway Traffic Act:

  • Drive Impaired or Drive at or over .08 - 1 year suspension for first conviction, 5 year suspension for second conviction, 10 year suspension for third conviction and lifetime suspension for four or more convictions within 10 years.
  • Refusal to Provide Breath or Blood Sample - 2 year suspension for first conviction, 7 year suspension for second conviction,10 year suspension for third conviction and lifetime suspension for four or more convictions within 10 years.
  • Impaired Driving Cause Bodily Harm or Death - 5 year suspension for first conviction, 10 year suspension for second conviction and a lifetime suspension for three convictions or more within 10 years.

Vehicle forfeiture is another consequence that impaired drivers of motor vehicles in Manitoba may face:

  • First-time offenders where death or bodily harm results from a crime involving a vehicle, including impaired driving causing bodily harm or death; manslaughter; criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death; dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm or death; and flight from police causing bodily harm or death.
  • Offenders convicted of three Criminal Code driving offences within five years. The offences include: drive while impaired; driving with a blood alcohol level at or over 08; refusing to supply a breath or blood sample; driving while disqualified; dangerous operation of a vehicle; flight from police and failure to stop at an accident.
  • Upon conviction, the vehicle is forfeited and becomes the property of the province.

Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP)

  • The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Immediate Roadside Prohibitions), which came into force on December 16, 2019, adopts an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) approach for some alcohol impaired drivers.
  • IRP increased the sanctions for drivers who register a "warn" level (blood alcohol content of .05 to .079) on an approved screening device to include a $400 monetary penalty for a first violation, escalating to $600 for a third or subsequent violation; vehicle impoundment from three to 30 days; and mandatory ignition interlock use on a third or subsequent violation.
  • IRP also created an alternative approach that police can use in first time offender cases not involving serious bodily harm, death, or other significant aggravating circumstances for drivers who "fail" (blood alcohol content at or over .08) or refuse a roadside approved breath screening device test, in which provincial sanctions are used as an alternative to prosecuting the offender in criminal court.
  • Under the IRP approach, a driver who registers a "fail" would face a monetary penalty of $700, mandatory ignition interlock use for one year, driver’s licence suspension for three months, vehicle impoundment for 30 days, downward movement of 10 positions on the Driver Safety Rating Scale, and be required to participate in a remedial program. Those who refuse the screening device face the same sanctions, except with vehicle impoundment of 60 days.
  • IRP, which is supported by MADD Canada and Manitoba police agencies, gives police more time to remove impaired drivers from the road, by allowing them to impose provincial sanctions at roadside based on an approved screening device test, rather than having to spend up to four hours on a breathalyzer test to lay criminal charges.
  • The IRP approach, which was introduced in British Columbia in 2010, has been associated with a 50% reduction in alcohol related motor vehicle fatalities, which represents an estimated 351 lives saved; reduced the percentage of drivers with an over .08 BAC by 59%; and removed nearly 80% of impaired driving cases from the criminal court system.

Other Considerations

  • Under the Graduated Licensing Program in Manitoba, there is a zero blood alcohol content for novice drivers mandated for a minimum of the first five years of driving.
  • All sanctions and Criminal Code penalties related to impaired driving apply to all types of off-road vehicles. Off-road vehicles are any vehicles designed or adapted for cross-country travel on land, water, ice, snow, marsh or other natural terrain. Examples include snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and construction or farm implements.
  • All convicted impaired driving offenders are subject to a mandatory licence condition requiring them to use an ignition interlock device. Impaired drivers who have conditional licences are also required to use an ignition interlock device. The device requires a breath sample from the driver and prevents the vehicle from being operated if alcohol is detected. The approximate cost is $1,500.
  • Vehicle owners must pay towing costs, storage costs and a provincial impoundment fee before their vehicles can be released. The approximate cost is $645 for a 30-day impoundment and $1350 for a 90-day impoundment. Registered owners who were not driving when the vehicle was impounded may apply to have the vehicle released. Costs must still be paid before the vehicle is released.
  • If your driver's licence is suspended you may have to:
  • Pay a driver's licence reinstatement charge of $50.
  • Undergo an assessment of your alcohol/drug use at a cost of $625. The assessment is conducted by the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM).
  • Pay more for your Autopac and driver’s licence premiums if your Driver Safety Rating goes down. Further information can be found on the Manitoba Public Insurance website at www.mpi.mb.ca.
  • Some driver's licence suspensions may be appealed to the Licence Suspension Appeal Board. For further information, contact the Board at (204) 945-7350 or 1-800-282-8069 toll-free from rural Manitoba.
  • For further information regarding the impaired driver assessment, contact AFM at (204) 944-6290 or 1-866-638-2561 (ask for the Impaired Drivers Program) or visit their website at www.afm.mb.ca.
  • For further information about driver’s licence suspensions, contact Manitoba Public Insurance:

In Winnipeg: 985-7000
Outside Winnipeg, Toll-free: 1-800-665-2410
Deaf Access TTY/TDD: 985-8832