You probably know that there are mandatory minimum penalties for adults who are convicted of drinking and driving in Canada.  But, what are the penalties for someone under 18 years of age who is convicted of a drinking and driving offence in Ontario?

There are no mandatory penalties for young offenders who are found guilty of drinking and driving under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).  In other words, the mandatory criminal conviction, $1,000 minimum fine, and minimum 1-year driving prohibition do not apply to youths in Canada.

The YCJA requires judges to consider the lower level of maturity and moral blameworthiness for youths when imposing a sentence. Nevertheless, the courts take drinking and driving very seriously for young persons. Typically, the courts will still impose a 1-year driving prohibition on youths for over 80 or impaired driving.  Besides the driving ban, a wide range of penalties can be imposed on youths, for example:

  • A fine up to $1,000.
  • A discharge with conditions.
  • A probation order with conditions (e.g., alcohol counselling).
  • Community service hours.

For a thorough review of the YCJA sentencing principles that apply to youths see R. v. D.P., 2014 NSSC 29.

There can also be consequences to your child’s graduated driver’s license, because most provinces require novice drivers to have have zero alcohol in their bodies.

Finally, the cost of car insurance will increase significantly for your child upon conviction.

Has your child been charged with drinking and driving in Ontario?

Contact Ottawa criminal lawyer Brett McGarry to discuss the best defence for your son or daughter’s over 80, impaired driving, or DUI charges at (613) 884-8576.