Does DUI Transfer from Province to Province in Canada?

What happens if you’re convicted of a DUI in one province, and reside in another? Can you escape the consequences of a DUI conviction once you cross provincial borders?

These are important questions for anyone who frequently travels within Canada, and in this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of how DUI convictions can cross provincial lines and what this means for you.

Does DUI Transfer from Province to Province: Interprovincial Impact of DUI Convictions

DUI is not just a provincial matter; it’s a federal criminal offence under Canada’s Criminal Code. This means that if you’re convicted of DUI in any province, the repercussions of that conviction will follow you to your home province. Whether you’re in Toronto and get a DUI in British Columbia or vice versa, the driver’s DUI licence suspension ordered by the court applies in both provinces. 

Your home province’s transportation ministry will receive notification about the out-of-province DUI, leading to a licence suspension issued by the local authorities.

So, there’s no escaping it – if convicted, your licence will be suspended, regardless of where you go.

does DUI transfer from province to province in Canada

DUI: Provincial and Federal Penalties

In Canada, DUI convictions involve a nuanced interplay between federal and provincial laws, each contributing to the tapestry of consequences. While the federal Criminal Code defines core DUI offences, provinces introduce their specific elements, leading to a multifaceted legal landscape.

Federal DUI Offences (Under the Criminal Code of Canada):

  • Impaired driving: Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Exceeding legal BAC limit: Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit (for instance, over 80 charge).
  • Drug concentration violations: Exceeding prescribed drug concentration levels.
  • Refusal to provide tests: Refusing to provide breath tests or blood tests when requested.
  • Operating while impaired: Taking control of a vehicle while impaired.
  • DUI resulting in harm or death: DUI offences causing bodily harm or death.

The Criminal Code also sets penalties. First-time DUI convictions generally entail a one-year driving ban and fines ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, dependent on factors like BAC levels. Repeat offences result in mandatory minimum jail sentences.

However, it doesn’t end there. Provinces also introduce their impaired driving penalties. These provincial variations may encompass the following:

  • Mandatory education and treatment programs.
  • Roadside license suspensions (prior to conviction).
  • Vehicle impoundment.
  • Ignition interlock requirements.
  • Additional fines.
  • Licence reinstatement fees etc.

For example, there are specific impaired driving penalties in Ontario, while in British Columbia or Manitoba they may differ. So, navigating DUI convictions in Canada demands an understanding of both federal and provincial laws, as they converge to shape the consequences and obligations you might face.

Challenges of an Out-of-Province DUI

Facing an out-of-province DUI arrest can pose significant challenges. Imagine having to travel halfway across the country, possibly multiple times, for court appearances. It’s not just an inconvenience; it can impact your work and daily life significantly. 

Moreover, skipping court hearings is not an option, as this can lead to a warrant for your arrest and additional criminal charges, which could result in imprisonment for up to two years.

Can I Drive in Another Province if My License is Suspended for DUI in Ontario?

Our clients often ask this question. But the answer is NO! – If your driver’s licence is suspended for a DUI in Ontario, you are not permitted to drive in another province in Canada. 

DUI suspensions are not confined to the province where they occurred; they are federal and apply throughout Canada. Therefore, even if you were to travel to another province, your suspension would still be in effect, and driving would be prohibited until your suspension period has concluded and you’ve met all the requirements to reinstate your license. 

It’s crucial to adhere to the terms of your suspension to avoid further legal consequences and complications.

For navigating out-of-province DUI charges, consulting an experienced DUI lawyer is paramount. At X-COPS, we specialize in handling such cases.

Our team excels in unravelling the complexities of arresting province DUI laws and their interaction with your home province’s regulations. Beyond this, our skilled impaired driving lawyers are adept at constructing robust defences to address your challenges, potentially resulting in favourable outcomes like withdrawn charges, dismissals, acquittals, or reduced charges.

Don’t hesitate – contact us today for a FREE consultation. With X-COPS, you have dedicated allies in your DUI defence journey.


Here we've prepared a short list of frequently asked questions in order to provide quick answers to anyone who's looking for information associated with the topic. If you need more clarification, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

👉Is a DUI a provincial or federal offence?

A DUI in Canada is considered a hybrid offence, meaning it can be prosecuted as both a provincial and federal offence.

👉Is a DUI Canada wide?

Yes, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in Canada is a federal criminal offence. The Criminal Code of Canada contains provisions that govern impaired driving and related offences, making it a nationwide criminal offence. These provisions apply uniformly across all provinces and territories in Canada.

However, while the federal laws are consistent, the penalties and administrative measures related to DUI can vary at the provincial and territorial levels, as they have authority over matters like driver's licenses and vehicle-related regulations.

So, while the offence is Canada-wide, the specific penalties and administrative actions may differ depending on the province or territory where the offence occurs.

👉Can I drive in another province if my license is suspended for DUI in Ontario?

NO, if your driver's licence is suspended for a DUI in Ontario, you are not permitted to drive in another province in Canada.

Thank you!