While most may already know it, police do have the right to ask for a roadside breathalyzer test.

Not only do they have a right to ask, an individual must comply. This has been the case since federal legislation made it the law in 2018.

However, some people mistakenly believe that they have to consent to the test. This is a mistaken assumption, which can incur some major penalties.

Tyler McMurchy, spokesperson for SGI, encourages people to cooperate before things escalate to the point of those penalties.

"If you are not impaired, you really have nothing to worry about," said McMurchy. "You really don't want to get one of these charges for refusal, because that could be more serious in some cases than an impaired driving offence."

The charges for refusing to comply with a breathalyzer are an immediate roadside license suspension and a minimum 30-day vehicle impoundment.

Once charged, the penalties get much worse.

The financial penalty is a minimum fine of $2,000. Then there is a $1,250 safe driver recognition fee. An individual charged will have to go through mandatory impaired driver education and live with a one-year minimum of an ignition interlock being installed in their vehicle.

In Canada, an estimated 1,500 people are killed by impaired drivers every year. This abhorrent statistic is driven by the most careless people in society, drunk drivers.

Police are making more use of the breathalyzer test in an effort to cut this number down, by catching the individuals responsible for these needless deaths.

"It's different when it comes to that oral fluid swab for cannabis," clarified McMurchy. "The police do need reasonable suspicion [in that instance]."

If you are partaking in an evening or social event where drinks are going to be enjoyed, always secure a ride home. Whether that is with a friend, a designated driver, or a cab, they are all preferable to drunk driving.

The financial penalty alone for drinking and driving is a fine of $1,000 for the first offence. The second includes imprisonment for 30 days. Any following incidents will land the offending driver in an even lengthier prison stay of 120 days.

Even if someone has gotten away with it before, the increased use of these breathalizers will be sure to catch up to those breaking the law.