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Over 80 - Engel and Associates

There are varying degrees of drinking and driving charges in Canada, and motorists pulled over may find themselves charged with one, or two, or more different charges. In addition to impaired driving charges, there is an additional penalty, known as “over 80,” that may be incurred in some cases. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to consult with qualified legal representation as soon as possible. In the meantime, this short Q&A provides some basic information as to how the Canadian legal system deals with this problem.

What is drinking and driving?

Driving while impaired by alcohol, driving with more than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, and refusal to provide a breath sample are all drinking and driving offenses in Canadian provinces.

What are the penalties?

The Canadian Criminal Code provides for a $1000 fine for a first offense, with a conviction registered on your permanent record. Subsequent convictions carry penalties involving jail time from 30 days up to 120 days. There will also be a mandatory driving prohibition that may extend for a minimum of one year following a drinking and driving conviction.

What are the different categories of drinking and driving charges?

There are three basic categories that constitute driving under the influence:

Impaired driving: This charge is leveled if a driver’s ability was impaired by alcohol or drugs. Evidence may include erratic driving, weaving, crossing of center lines, or a motor vehicle collision. Drivers may exhibit the smell of alcohol on their breath, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, unsteadiness on their feet, or slurred speech.

Over 80: This does not require proof of any kind of impediment on the part of the driver; rather, it means that the driver had a concentration of alcohol in their system exceeding 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. This information is usually procured through the use of specialized breathalyzers, or through a sample of the driver’s blood.

Refusal to provide a breath sample: A driver refusing to provide a breath sample to the arresting officer constitutes a separate drinking and driving offense. This can occur either at a roadside stop or at a police station. The consequences of a conviction on this charge are the same as those for a conviction on impaired driving or over 80.

How Engel & Associates Can Help

A defendant facing any of the above charges should be properly represented by legal counsel. The consequences of a conviction are far too severe to trust the defense to your own resources and efforts. A qualified criminal DUI lawyer will be well versed in this area of the law, and can help you mount an effective defense, protect your rights, and spare you the blemish on your driving record.

Bruce Engel has more than two decades of experience in criminal law, including cases involving Over 80 charges. He is committed to the highest standards in criminal defense and client satisfaction. The law offices of Bruce Engel handle many areas of criminal defense in Ottawa and the surrounding communities. He is located at 116 Lisgar St. Suite 210 Ottawa, ON K2P 0C2, and he may be reached by calling (866) 762-9250.