AddicitionsAs we all know, the Ministry of Transportation takes a dim view of driving while impaired by either alcohol or drugs.  Criminal convictions can occur and Crown Prosecutors are very aggressive with their sentence recommendations.

When it comes to Administrative License Suspensions (where driving is a privilege, not a right) the process is even more complicated.  I have told you that the License Appeal Tribunal and the Ministry of Transportation prefers to see that a full year of sobriety should be in hand for the driver before they consider a reinstatement of the driver’s license.  The reasoning for this comes from the Highway Traffic Act itself.  The Act relies upon a yearly publication called the “Canadian Council of Motor Vehicle Administrators (CCMVA) Medical Standards for Drivers”.  In that book, it states the requirement of one year of sobriety for that substance.  It also says that the period of suspension can be less than a year if the driver voluntarily submits themselves to a drug/alcohol rehabilitation program and has the favourable recommendation of an addictions specialist and/or their doctor.

Some of the criteria that may be considered for reinstatement are the following:

  • the types of drugs used
  • details of underlying medical conditions
  • opinion from an addictions specialist and/or treating physician recognized by the licensing authority
  • successful completion of a substance abuse rehabilitation program AND
  • report on whether the individual has been abstinent and/or in remission

The items in bold are compulsory for a reinstatement of a driver’s license suspended for addictions or dependency.

Since the License Appeal Tribunal’s burden of proof is only based upon the balance of probabilities (51% in favour of one side or the other) you may wish to consider the following to put you past the tipping point:

  • voluntarily seeking help
  • letters of reference from the community
  • laboratory tests confirming “normal” status which includes GGT (Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase test), MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume), and the ratio between AST (aspartate aminotransferase) and ALT (aspartate aminotransferase)
  • a clean driver’s abstract
  • no criminal record for driving while intoxicated

In rare instances, where a Substance Abuse Assessment form is completed by the treating physician and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) questionnaire is used and the result of the AUDIT is a score between 0 and 7, the decision of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles can be set aside.

Your best advice when you are confronted with a administrative license suspension for alcohol or drug dependence, is to find help, starting with your family doctor or an addictions specialist.  When you think that you’re ready, contact me here.

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