Are You Facing Impaired Driving Charges?
If you find yourself in this situation due to an error of judgement or other reason, your best decision is to contact an experienced impaired driving lawyer immediately to help you negotiate the complex legal waters to get you the best outcome. They will carefully review the facts of your case to determine your situation and possible defence strategies. Depending on the severity and details of your case, a skilled criminal defence lawyer may be able to achieve a dismissal of charges, a not-guilty verdict, reduced charges or mitigation of the severity of the charges or resultant penalties.
Even if you plan to plead guilty, a criminal defence lawyer may be able to help you avoid a criminal conviction or severe punishment, which could affect your future job prospects, current business and international travel opportunities.
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 instead 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 penalties is primarily 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 millilitres 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 that refusing to provide a sample carries the same penalties if convicted and found guilty as if the person had been convicted and found guilty of impaired driving.
Fighting Impaired Driving
Call Farjoud Law today to discuss your case so we can review the facts and lay out potential defence strategies for you. We understand the impact a criminal impaired driving conviction can have on your life and how vital winning your case is.
Even if others may have told you that your case is hopeless, you are considered innocent unless proven guilty and a judge passes down his or her judgement. Our team of experienced Toronto DUI lawyers has a proven track record of successfully defending impaired driving charges! Read on to learn more.
Impaired Driving Defence
Every case is unique, depending on the facts, but here are some of the things we will do to win your case:
Listen to You
We want to hear your story’s details. We want to learn the who, what, where, when and how to completely understand what happened at all stages leading up to the incident, the police officer stopping you, and everything after.
Evidence Collection and Disclosure
We will get the disclosure package containing all collected evidence from the Crown prosecutor to review and discuss what they have “on you.” We will keep you updated on any new developments and our defence strategy.
Review and Prepare
We will review every report and piece of evidence to determine if your rights have been violated, if you are guilty of impaired driving in the first place and everything else that could aid your defence.
After our thorough review, we will schedule a meeting with the prosecution to review your case and see if we can get the case dismissed or the charges reduced.
Trial Preparations and Defence
If your impaired driving charge goes to trial, we will prepare your complete defence, cross-examine all police officers and witnesses, and review precedents and legal arguments.
We aim to win your case and get your criminal charges dropped, saving your driver’s licence and preventing a criminal record. Call Farjoud Law today to discuss how our Toronto impaired driving lawyers can help you.
Litigating Impaired Driving
There are three elements to an impaired driving charge:
- Did you commit the offence?
- Did the police do everything correctly?
- Did the court system do everything correctly?
If these three elements are presented to the court, it is considered a “Prima Facie” case. If the evidence is not challenged by the criminal defence lawyer, there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction against the accused.
If the Crown attorney has made a case, the defence lawyer can dispute any facts, challenge evidence and cross-examine potential witnesses. Legal motions can often affect a court case even if the authorities have done everything correctly.
Not all impaired driving charges go to trial. In many cases, our impaired driving lawyers can have charges resolved or withdrawn without any trial.
Sometimes, a charge can be reduced to a non-criminal traffic charge (traffic ticket) or other resolutions that will prevent a license suspension or even a criminal record, like a ticket for careless driving.
As every case is unique, depending on the facts of the specific case, there is no one-size-fits-all defence. However, our extensive experience with different facts and evidence allows us to create an efficient and effective strategy.
We will point out all legal issues during the initial stages and explain possible defences. Our representation of you includes all of the following:
- Legal advice throughout the entire process
- Gathering all evidence and information, including police notes and disclosure package
- Preparing and presenting all legal and trial documents
- Representation at all court hearings and meetings with the Crown attorney
- Representation at trial
In many cases, the accused does not have to be present in court as we represent you or only at the final trial date.
You will never appear in court without our criminal defence lawyer by your side.
Our Philosophy as Criminal Lawyers
With an outstanding track record defending clients charged with all types of criminal offences, we are dedicated to professionalism to prove your innocence.
Free Case Review
Impaired Driving Pre-Trials
As mentioned above, not all impaired driving cases go to trial. For every case, we will schedule a pre-trial meeting with the Crown attorney to review the case and to discuss the following:
- Outstanding disclosure materials
- Potential resolution positions, including whether the charge can be reduced to a Provincial Offence Act traffic ticket
- Potential trial issues or defences
In many cases, we can resolve the criminal charges, avoiding a criminal licence suspension or criminal record.
Impaired Driving Legal Arguments
There are several legal arguments we will review in preparation for your legal defence:
When were you over the limit?
- While you were driving?
- When you did the police’s breathalyzer test?
- At some other point after you were stopped?
Rights to Counsel
By law, the police are obligated to:
- Advise you about your right to retain a lawyer,
- Make a lawyer available,
- Ensure you have privacy, and
- If your rights are violated, your charge can be dismissed.
As Soon as Reasonably Possible
The police are legally obligated to ensure no unreasonable delays throughout the investigation. All aspects, whether arrests, breathalyzer tests or other facets, have to be performed as soon as reasonably possible.
Right to Trial Within a Reasonable Time Period
The prosecution and court system must guarantee a trial within a reasonable timeframe per the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees this right and it is crucial to ensure that the case is moved along in an efficient manner to avoid any potential delays caused by the defence.
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
In any trial, the judge must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the charge. The judge should dismiss the charge if there is any reasonable doubt this is not the case.
Penalties for Impaired Driving / DUI convictions?
The penalties for Impaired Driving / DUI-related offences, including impaired driving, over 80, ‘care and control’ or refusing 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
- A criminal record which may limit your employment opportunities or ability to enter certain countries while travelling
- Minimum $1,000 fine
- Enrolment in an alcohol education course
- One-year suspension of driver’s licence
- One-year enrolment in the ignition interlock program after your licence has been reinstated
- Fine at the judge’s discretion
- 30 days of jail time
- Three-year enrolment in the ignition interlock program after your licence has been reinstated
- Fine at the judge’s discretion
- 120 days of jail time
- Lifetime enrolment in the ignition interlock program after your licence has been reinstated if it ever gets reinstated
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 discuss your matter with a criminal lawyer. 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.
After an arrest, an accused is entitled to consult with a lawyer to obtain legal advice about their situation before providing a breath sample. Police also must advise the accused of the availability of the 24-hour toll-free legal aid number to get legal advice in the absence of a lawyer.
If the police fail to advise an arrested person of these constitutional rights or do not allow the accused to contact counsel, it may lead to the results of the alcohol readings being excluded from evidence, which would likely lead to an acquittal at a trial.
At the time of a roadside demand for a breath sample, the right to consult with legal counsel is not absolute as the accused is not under arrest at the time. In some circumstances, a person required to provide a roadside breath sample may have the right to consult with counsel if the roadside breath testing machine is not readily available and there will be a delay in getting it to the person under investigation.
As every case is fact-specific, an experienced criminal defence lawyer can review your case to determine whether or not your constitutional rights have been violated.
To be charged with impaired driving, the police officer has to decide whether they have observed behaviour which could indicate a person is impaired, also known as the indices of impairment, 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 millilitres of blood. To determine a person’s BAC, the police will demand a sample be provided, either roadside or after being taken into custody and transported to the local police station.
If you refuse to provide a sample to the police, you can be arrested and charged with failure or refuse to provide a 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.
You could still be charged with impaired driving, depending upon the actual results.
Yes, you could potentially be charged with a “Care and Control” impaired driving offence under certain circumstances.
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, you could be charged, regardless of whether the vehicle is running.
No. It is better to consult with a qualified criminal defence lawyer in Toronto first to determine your options before making this important life-changing decision.
There are severe 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 carries with them mandatory fines, license suspensions, varying periods of imprisonment, and specific rehabilitative requirements, all at your own expense.
A person convicted and found guilty of a first impaired driving offence faces a mandatory minimum fine of at least $1,000, a license suspension for one year, and must 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.
DUI is an acronym for “Driving Under the Influence” of alcohol and/or drugs. It generally refers to impaired driving related charges.
If the police have reasonable grounds that you have been driving impaired, based on roadside tests and observations, you will be arrested and brought to the police station for further testing. You have the right to consult a lawyer prior to the breath testing, but refusing to perform a test or provide fluid samples carries the same penalties as a DUI charge.
Impaired driving/DUI is a criminal charge, so a conviction can lead to a permanent criminal record that can severely impact your life, along with other various punishments such as fines, jail, increased insurance premiums, etc.
A DUI conviction can have severe, wide-reaching consequences, including the following:
- License suspension
- Administrative fees
- Increased insurance premiums
- Possible jail time
- Criminal record
- Enrolment in rehabilitative programs
- Enrolment in an ignition interlock program
You may be able to receive a reinstatement under certain conditions. An impaired driving lawyer can help you determine if you qualify and can advise when you can lawfully operate your vehicle.
Under Canadian law, the expungement or suspension of a DUI criminal record is possible. This action will seal your record from the public eye, but law enforcement can still view the data. A DUI lawyer can assist you with the application for a record suspension, which is possible five years after a conviction.
Yes, it is certainly possible to ‘beat’ a DUI charge. The experienced impaired driving lawyers of Farjoud Law have successfully defended many Toronto-area DUI clients.
If a police officer notices someone driving erratically on the road, they must pull the driver over and evaluate if they are impaired. The officer can conduct a field sobriety test, a roadside breath test or both. Due to impaired driving being a criminal charge, anybody charged with DUI should contact a Toronto impaired driving lawyer immediately.
If the person fails either test, they will be charged with driving under the influence. If they refuse to take the test, they will be charged with a refusal, which has the same consequences as a charge with a DUI. If the person cannot provide a breath sample (for example, if they have been injured in a severe accident), the police will request a blood test.
In Canada, a DUI charge is laid when a person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or above. This means 80 mg of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood in your body.
In this case, you will be charged with a DUI, and if convicted, the minimum charge is $1,000 if it is your first offence, and you are prohibited from driving for one year. Repeat offences have escalating penalties.
As every case is unique and fact-specific, the professional and legal fees charged by a DUI lawyer vary based on the time they spend reviewing all facts, creating an effective defence strategy and representing you in court. Cases can vary widely in complexity, so, for example, a case can have different motions that require additional time, or if the case is particularly complex, gathering evidence, studying case law, and interviewing witnesses can add more time to the proceedings.
Impaired driving charges may be resolved in favour of the accused by negotiating a resolution with the prosecution and/or without the need for a trial. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to find a significant flaw in the Crown’s case before a trial, which can be used to convince the Crown to drop or reduce the criminal charges.
This flaw has to be obvious enough that it cannot be ignored by the Crown to consider dismissing a case. In most cases, the Crown will instead get the accused to enter a guilty plea to reduce the DUI charges to a lesser charge, such as careless driving. Your lawyer will diligently review all details to achieve the most favourable outcome while convincing the other party that they are not at a disadvantage in the process.
Unless there is a very compelling reason to do so, Crown prosecutors will typically not withdraw these charges. Possible reasons an impaired driving lawyer may find that can lead to dismissal include if your constitutional rights have been violated, the screening methods used were impaired, the arrest was questionable, or there were mistakes during the stop and detention.
While it is possible a Toronto DUI charge can be dropped, it has to be so flawed that it will be very difficult for the Crown to win the case in a trial. If your DUI lawyer has proof that the case is flawed, but the Crown prosecutor does not drop it, they can use the flaw as a defence strategy during the trial to possibly achieve a not-guilty verdict.
A DUI conviction will often severely impact your auto insurance premiums. But it can have wider-reaching consequences. Your insurance company may refuse to renew your insurance or reject a new application from someone convicted of a DUI before. If an insurance company will accept you as a new customer, your premiums may be twice the standard rate or even higher.
An impaired driving conviction may mean that you are inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality. This may cause revocation of the permanent resident status and could lead to deportation. It is crucial to consult with a lawyer who practices in the area of immigration law pertaining to your specific circumstances and case before you make any decision regarding your criminal case.