Impaired Driving / DUI Charges Lawyer
What are Impaired Driving/DUI charges?
Impaired driving is operating a motor vehicle, aircraft, railway equipment, or boat (vessel) while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The Criminal Code of Canada does not define the offence of DUI (driving under the influence), but rather defines these types of offences under Section 253 for “Operation while Impaired.”
Section 255 contains the punishments for being convicted and found guilty of impaired driving offences. The severity of punishments are largely based upon the type of offence and whether this was a first offence or a repeat offence. The law has specific, mandatory punishments which are the same, regardless of whether a person is prosecuted as an indictable offence or a summary conviction.
According to Section 253, Operation while Impaired offences are committed when:
The person has consumed such a quantity of alcohol that the concentration of alcohol in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol per one hundred mililitres of blood.
The person’s ability to operate the vehicle, aircraft, vessel, or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or
A person operates a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment, or assists in the operation of aircraft or railway equipment, or is responsible for the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or railway equipment, regardless of whether it is in motion or not, and:
The reference to impairment by alcohol or drugs in the above section, for greater certainty, also includes impairment from a combination of alcohol and drugs.
In addition, Section 253 applies to all forms of impaired driving offences, including, but not limited to, impaired driving, driving “over 0.80,” impaired driving causing bodily harm, refusal or failure to provide a sample, impaired driving causing death, and care and control.
It is worth mentioning, refusing to provide a sample carries with it the same penalties, if convicted and found guilty, as if the person had been convicted and found guilty of impaired driving.
Penalties for Impaired Driving / DUI convictions?
The penalties for Impaired Driving / DUI-related offences including impaired driving, over 80, ‘care and control’ or refuse to blow are severe and can include a combination of the following:
90 day Automatic Drivers License Suspension (ADLS)
Drivers license suspension periods ranging from 1 year on a first offence to a lifetime ban for a third offence (Ontario Highway Traffic Act suspensions are in addition to suspensions under the Criminal Code of Canada)
Installation of an Ignition Interlock at your expense
Minimum Fines starting at $1,000 for a first offence
Completion of an educational or treatment program (e.g. Back on Track)
Minimum jail sentences on subsequent offences ranging from 30 days to 120 days
Increased insurance premiums, outright policy cancellation and/or difficulty obtaining insurance
Criminal record which may limit your employment opportunities or ability to enter certain countries while travelling
Impaired Driving/DUI FAQs
There are often misunderstandings as to what is impaired driving and driving “over 0.80” offences. In this section we will review some of the more common impaired driving FAQs.
What is the difference between impaired and “over 0.80”?
To be charged with impaired driving, the police officer has to make a determination as to whether they have observed behaviour which could indicate a person is impaired, such as weaving on the road, slurred speech, or the smell of alcohol or drugs.
To be charged with “driving over 0.80,” a person must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 80 milligrams per 100 mililitres of blood. To determine a person’s BAC the police will request a sample be provided, either roadside or after being taken into custody and transported to the local police station.
Can I refuse to provide the police with a sample?
If you refuse to provide a sample to the police, you can be arrested and charged with fail or refuse to provide breath sample. You have the right to refuse to provide the police with a sample, keeping in mind you may still be charged and face the same consequences as an impaired driving offence upon conviction.
What happens if my sample results are less than 0.80?
Depending upon the actual results you could still be charged with impaired driving.
If I am in a parked car, and are either impaired or “over 0.80,” can the police still charge me with an impaired driving offence?
Yes, under certain circumstances, you could potentially be charged with a “Care and Control” impaired driving offence.
For instance, you are sitting behind the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition of the parked car. Since you are considered to have care and control of the vehicle, then you could be charged, regardless of whether the vehicle is running or not.
Is it not easier to just plead guilty to or take a plea agreement if I am charged with an impaired driving offence?
No. It is better to consult with a qualified criminal defence lawyer in Toronto first, to find out what your options are before making this important life changing decision.
There are serious consequences and penalties for pleading guilty and taking a plea agreement. While you might want to have the matter resolved as quickly as possible, it can drastically affect your life.
Besides having the charge recorded on both your criminal and driving records, a conviction for impaired driving offences carry with them mandatory fines, license suspensions, and varying periods of imprisonment, as well as specific rehabilitative requirements, all at your own expense.
A person convicted and found guilty of a first offence impaired driving offence faces a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000, a license suspension for one year, and has to complete an alcohol/drug education program. You could also be required to pay to have an interlock device installed after your license is reinstated. Further, your insurance rates will increase.
Contact Farjoud Law
If you or someone you care about has been charged with an impaired driving offence, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a criminal defence lawyer in North York, Toronto to find out your rights and get your questions answered. Call Farjoud Law now at (647) 606-6776 to speak with a criminal lawyer to discuss your matter. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Farjoud Law is located at 4950 Yonge Street, Suite 2200 in the neighbourhood of North York in Toronto, Ontario. Click here for directions to our law office.
Please note that this article is solely for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice. In order to ensure the protection of your rights and interests, please consult a criminal defence lawyer prior to acting or relying upon any information.