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Impaired Driving - ReeveLaw

Impaired driving is the operation of any moving vehicle (for example, a car, a truck, boat, snowmobile, aircraft, or anything else that moves under power) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A person may be convicted of the criminal offence of impaired driving if the Crown can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person operated a vehicle while impaired.

Evidence in Impaired Driving Cases

Impaired driving cases often rely on evidence regarding the driver’s blood alcohol content; this may be established through a breath test, or sometimes a blood test. The legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol content is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. If there is evidence that a person’s blood alcohol content exceeded this limit, he or she may face an additional charge, which is commonly referred to as an “Over 80″ charge. A blood alcohol content over the legal limit may result in a conviction on impaired driving even if the person does not immediately appear drunk.

Conversely, anyone impaired by alcohol may be convicted on an impaired driving charge, whether or not their blood alcohol level tested beyond the legal limit. For example, regardless of the results of a breath test, police may be able to submit other convincing evidence of impairment, such as testimony that the person in question was unable to drive in a straight line, was unable to manage simple tasks, had slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, or had alcohol on his or her breath.

Refusing a Breath Test

If a person is pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving, he or she can refuse to provide a breath sample. In most cases, this will mean being convicted of the offence of refusing to provide a breath sample or blood sample; the punishment for refusing to provide a sample is the same as the punishment for driving while impaired.

Punishments in Impaired Driving Cases

Impaired driving is viewed as a serious criminal offence, and the Canadian Criminal Code sets forth minimum penalties that the judge must impose, as well as other punishments that may be deemed appropriate in given circumstances by the judge. Factors considered may include whether the defendant is a first-time offender and the seriousness of the incident. A defendant might face some combination of jail time, restricted driving privileges, fines, or probation. For example, a judge must sentence a second-time offender to a minimum of 30 days in jail, and prohibit him from driving anywhere in Canada for at least 2 years and may order him to report to a probation officer for the next three years.

In some impaired driving cases, a defendant may also face additional related charges. One such charge is impaired driving causing bodily harm; this occurs when an impaired person is involved in an accident that injures another person. This is an indictable offence with a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Similarly, an impaired driver who causes the death of another person can be charged with impaired driving causing death, which is punishable with a maximum of life in prison.

ReeveLaw Barristers

If you are arrested for impaired driving, a qualified DUI lawyer should be your first phone call. An impaired driving lawyer will be able to help you navigate the legal system, defend your case, and protect your rights under the law.

The lawyers of ReeveLaw Barristers have over 60 years of combined experience in criminal law, and have worked hard to establish a solid reputation as formidable opponents in court, as well as effective negotiators when it comes to plea bargains. David Hobson and Dennis Reeve both have served as Crown Attorneys as well as defence lawyers; this unique perspective enables them to protect their clients’ rights and craft the best defence on behalf of each client. They are committed to putting their years of experience to work for you. Their offices are located at 34 Eagle Street, Newmarket, Ontario, L3Y 1J1, or they can be reached by calling (905) 895-6528.