Don’t Get a D.U.I this Holiday Season! The RIDE Program is Back…

November 19, 2015

So it’s that time of year, the holiday season is quickly approaching. Sooner than you know it, you’ll be going to Christmas parties, shopping at the mall, and doing all the other fun stuff that is associated with Christmas. With that in mind, there’s a common thread that runs through all of these things: alcohol.

The Holiday RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) Program normally runs from mid-November to the first week of January. During the 2014/2015 holiday season, the initiative was launched on Nov 20th, 2014, and ended on January 1st, 2015. The RIDE initiative, which ran 41 days, saw 228 people charged with drinking and driving offenses (D.U.I.), down slightly from the 241 (D.U.I.’s) charged during last year’s Christmas season. Another 287 drivers were given warnings and had their driver’s licence suspended for three days because they had 50 to 80 milligrams of alcohol in their blood, police said.

With all this in mind, remember, if you drink, don’t drive! It’s really easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit. Whether you decide to have a few drinks at a work Christmas party, with family and friends, or post-shopping at a local restaurant, always plan ahead. Remember, RIDE Programs are strategically set-up and there is no way to avoid them!

What happens at a RIDE Program?

If you happen to get stopped at a RIDE, you may face a “demand to provide a sample of your breath into an “approved screening device” (A.S.D.). In order for an officer to do this, he/she needs to have “reasonable suspicion” that you have alcohol in your body. Generally, “reasonable suspicion” is determined by:

  • Odour of alcohol from your breath
  • Bloodshot/red/watery eyes
  • Admission of alcohol consumption
  • The general location of where you are stopped (leaving a bar?)

Once an officer has “reasonable suspicion” that you have alcohol in your body, they will ask you (demand) that you provide a sample of your breath into an A.S.D. This takes place at the side of the road. Officers conducting RIDE checks will have these machines (A.S.D’s) with them. At this point, the officer will also advise as to the legal consequences for refusing to provide a sample (the same jeopardy as if the detainee had been tried and convicted for an impaired driving offence).

One of FOUR things can happen at this point:

1. You PASS. You continue on your way and have a Merry Christmas!

2. Drivers who blow in the Warn Range

Drivers caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the “warn rage” (between 50 and 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood) will face an immediate driver’s license suspension. The length of the suspension varies based on whether or not it is their first offence. See below:

Frist Offence

Second Offence

Third Offence (within 5 years)

Subsequent infractions (within 5 years)

Keep in mind, the penalties described above are only for those blowing in the “warn range”.  The penalties described above are not criminal in nature, rather they are considered “Provincial Offences”.  These suspensions take effect immediately and cannot be appealed. Further, these suspensions are recorded on your driver’s abstract and are considered when determining the consequences for subsequent infractions. Remember, a suspension for blowing in the “warn range” applies to the persons driver’s license as well.

3.Drivers Who are Found to Exceed 80 Milligrams of Alcohol”

If the driver fails the “Approved Screening Device”, then the officer has grounds to arrest the driver and take them to the local police station to obtain two samples of their breath into a breathalyzer. If both of these samples show that the accused party’s ‘blood alcohol concentration’ (B.A.C) was over 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, then the charge of “Driving with Excess Blood Alcohol/Over 80” will be laid.

This will result in the following:

  • 7 day vehicle impoundment
  • An immediate 90-day vehicle driver’s licence suspension;
  • If convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada, the driver’s driver’s licence may be suspended for one year or more depending on whether it is a first, second, or subsequent conviction.
  • Mandatory alcohol assessment, education and follow-up may be assigned as a condition of driver’s licence re-instatement (Back on Track);
  • Installation of an ignition interlock on the driver’s vehicle for up to 1 year on first conviction

4. Refusal to Provide a Sample of Your Breath into the “Approved Screening Device” or “Intoxilyzer”

If the driver refuses to provide a sample of their breath into either of these devices, the driver will be charged criminally with the offence of “Refusal to Provide a Sample”. This offence carries with it, the same penalty as being charged with “Impaired Driving and/or Driving with Excess Blood Alcohol” as noted above.

The Lesson

Please be responsible this holiday season. The RIDE Program will be commencing soon and it many cases, cannot be avoided. Try and plan ahead. It possible, to avoid driving altogether. A D.U.I. in Brampton or Mississauga can have a profound impact on your life. Or worse, it can result in the loss of someone else’s life. Be safe this holiday season and don’t drink and drive!

At Passi & Patel criminal law firm in Brampton, Mississauga, and Milton understand legal issues can be stressful. Please call us at 905-459-0004 or e-mail us at to schedule a free consultation.


Holiday RIDE ends in Peel with more than 500 people nabbed for drinking and drivingPeel Police – PEEL REGIONAL POLICE PARTICIPATE IN 2014 HOLIDAY R.I.D.E CAMPAIGN