So you’ve been charged with impaired driving – Here’s what to expect

Consequences can include licence suspensions, vehicle impoundments, Ignition Interlock, Driving without impairment course and SDR penalties

Regina, SK (Jan. 25, 2021) – You drove impaired. You didn’t crash your car, no one was hurt or killed, but you got caught. Now what?

Police will be focused on catching impaired drivers for the February Traffic Safety Spotlight, and SGI is highlighting some of the consequences those impaired drivers will face.

“Driving impaired is a very risky thing to do, and there are a number of different penalties and costs that go along with an impaired driving charge,” said Penny McCune, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “People may not understand, it can turn your life upside down.”

Let’s say you’ve been charged under the Criminal Code for exceeding .08 blood alcohol concentration. What follows is the very least you can expect with your first offence for an impaired driving Criminal Code charge and conviction. For repeat offences, penalties can be even more severe – up to and including jail time.

Upon being charged

Impoundment – Your vehicle just got impounded for at least 30 days. When you get it back, you’ll have to pay the towing and impound fees, which will cost approximately $815

Suspension – You won’t be driving that vehicle for a while anyway. Your licence is now suspended until the charges are dealt with in court. If you are eligible, you can choose to participate in the Ignition Interlock program, after serving 90 days of your suspension.

Or you could choose to remain suspended and pay for rides or try to find someone to drive you. (That sounds exhausting). Unfortunately, some drivers choose to drive with a suspended licence and find themselves facing additional charges and vehicle impoundments when they get caught. What are the odds of that happening? Pretty good, actually, thanks to the more than 180 law enforcement vehicles equipped with automatic licence plate readers that detect vehicles associated with suspended drivers. #DoNotRiskIt.

Upon conviction

In addition to any legal fees and court costs, here is what you can expect after being convicted of a first offence for driving with a BAC of .08 or more.

Fine and/or incarceration – The mandatory minimum fine under the Criminal Code for driving with a BAC equal to or exceeding .08 is $1,000 (to a maximum of a 10-year prison sentence for that offence), but the consequences — and the costs — don’t stop there.

Safe Driver Recognition – Any Criminal Code impaired driving conviction will place you at -20 or lower on your SDR score, which means a financial penalty of at least $1,250. If your previous SDR score meant you were getting a discount on your vehicle insurance, that’s gone too, and it will take three years of driving without causing a collision or getting a traffic ticket before you can earn a discount again

Ignition Interlock – Upon conviction, there is a minimum one-year mandatory ignition interlock requirement before you can get your licence back, which will cost approximately $1,350.

Mandatory driver education – A first impaired driving offence means a mandatory Driving Without Impairment class, which will cost you $170 and a weekend of your time.

Of course, as bad as suspensions, vehicle impoundment, fines, Interlock and mandatory education would be, it is preferable to the other possible outcome of impaired driving: causing a collision that kills you or someone else. SGI’s new public awareness campaign asks the question: if someone died because you drove impaired, could you live with yourself?

Saskatchewan has made tremendous progress in reducing the number of collisions, fatalities and injuries caused by impaired drivers. Despite this, there are still far too many people who make the choice to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs. Those choices led to 21 deaths and 342 injuries in 2019.

Stay tuned to SGI’s social media accounts (find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) this month, to learn more about the consequences of driving impaired.


SGI CANADA is the property and casualty insurance division of SGI, offering products in five Canadian provinces. It operates as SGI CANADA in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, and also as Coachman Insurance Company in Ontario. Products are sold through a network of independent insurance brokers. For more information, visit

Source: Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI)

Tags: , , ,