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This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create the new drinking and driving offence of operating, or having the care or control of, a vehicle while having a concentration of 50 milligrams or more of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. It also makes related amendments to the Criminal Records Act and the Identification of Criminals Act.
The new “over .05” offence is in addition to the current drinking and driving offences, and incorporates the elements and evidentiary procedures of the “over .08” offence. However, the provisions respecting the new offence are distinctive in several respects:
(a) the offence is an exclusively summary conviction offence with relatively moderate fines and driving prohibitions;
(b) a peace officer may issue a ticket to the accused, and an accused who receives a ticket can choose to plead guilty without having to appear in court;
(c) for an accused who wishes to contest the charge, the ticket procedure adopts the existing procedures that apply to appearance notices;
(d) because of related changes made to the Criminal Records Act, if a person convicted of the new “over .05” offence has no additional drinking-and-driving related convictions for two years, the record of the conviction will be destroyed; and
(e) to ensure accuracy in identifying the offender and determining whether they qualify to have their record of conviction destroyed, an accused is subject to the Identification of Criminals Act even though the offence is a summary conviction offence.
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