Toronto Ontario Impaired Driver Lawyer
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drug is a serious offence in Canada that is governed by the Criminal Code. There are serious consequences that will result upon being convicted for impaired driving. This articles provides a summary of the developing issues in this area of the law, it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. If you have been charged with impaired driving, over 80, or refuse you should consult a Toronto Criminal Lawyer for expert advice.
- Impaired driving occurs when your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug. Individuals convicted for impaired driving offences face penalties under Canada’s Criminal Code and Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.
Section 253(1)(b) of the Criminal Code sets out the offence of Over 80.
- Everyone commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or has the care or control of a motor vehicle or vessel when that person’s blood alcohol concentration is greater than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, regardless of whether the vehicle or vessel is in motion.
Section 254(5) of the Criminal Code outlines the offence for “Refuse to Provide Breath Sample.” Pursuant to section 254(5): Everyone commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand made under this section.
- The law has been evolving very rapidly in this area with stricter penalties and increased fines. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 in 100 millilitres of blood.
- However, as of May 1, 2009 drivers who register a BAC between 0.05 to 0.08 (known as the warn range) lose their license at roadside for 3, 7 or 30 days.
- As of August 1, 2010 lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits of 0.05 were introduced for fully licensed drivers who are 21 and under and novice drivers. In other words, if you are 21 or younger or a novice driver your BAC must be less than 0.05 when operating a motor vehicle.
- Effective December 1, 2010 drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or who fail to comply with breath testing face an immediate 7 day vehicle impoundment at roadside.
- Aside from vehicle seizures, upon conviction for an impaired driving related offence, legislation imposes certain minimum sentences. For example, a first time offender found guilty of impaired driving will receive a minimum $1000 fine and one year driving suspension. However, if a person qualifies for either Stream “A” or Stream “B” the driving suspension period of 1 year may be reduced.
- Upon a second conviction for a related impaired driving offence (i.e. impaired, over 80, refuse) an individual faces a minimum jail sentence of 30 days and 3 year license suspension
- Upon a third and subsequent conviction for a related impaired driving offence, an individual faces a minimum jail sentence of 120 days and a lifetime license suspension.
Drivers who qualify for Stream A will have their license suspension period reduced to a minimum of 3 months, followed by a minimum 9 month ignition interlock installation period.
Drivers who qualify for Stream B will have a minimum license suspension of 6 months followed by a minimum interlock installation period of 12 months.
- Driver’s licence has been suspended for a period of 1 year pursuant to section 41 of the HTA as a result of an alcohol-impaired driving conviction under sections 253, 254, or 255(1) of the Criminal Code (Canada) on or after August 3, 2010 (a first offender as determined by the HTA). Drivers who meet this requirement, but whose licence will remain suspended under section 43 of the HTA because of a prohibition order that is longer than one year, remain eligible for the program;
- The circumstances of the offence did not involve impairment by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol;
- Not convicted of an offence under section 255 of the Criminal Code where bodily harm or death is caused;
- Not convicted of a drive while disqualified offence under subsection 259(4) of the Criminal Code within the 5 years preceding their alcohol-impaired driving conviction;
- Not subject to a court order denying them the authorization to drive with an ignition interlock device during the prohibition period;
- Not subject to an ignition interlock licence condition on the date of the offence;
- Not previously been granted a reduction to 10 years of an indefinite licence suspension;
- Complete the assessment component of the required remedial measures program; and
- Sign a lease agreement for an ignition interlock device with the approved ignition interlock service provider.
- Enter a plea of guilty to the offence;
- Be convicted, sentenced and subject to a driving prohibition order within 90 days of the date of offence; and
- Successfully complete the assessment component of the required remedial measures program and establish proof of a lease agreement for an approved ignition interlock device, prior to the expiry of the absolute minimum prohibition period.
- Drivers eligible for the program that do not meet all of the requirements to enter the program in Stream “A” may be eligible to enter the Program in Stream “B”.
An ignition interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02 (i.e. 20mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood). The device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver’s seat, and is connected to the engine’s ignition system.
- Are the results of the breathalyser machine accurate? A skilful lawyer will know how to question the results of the machine and all the requisite testing the machine is subject to.
- An experienced and skilful lawyer can question the officer to prove that the officer did not have the legal grounds to make a demand for a breath sample
- Did the officer violate any of the accused’s charter violations?
- The preceding is only a small sample of defences an experienced Toronto Criminal Lawyer can raise on behalf of the accused.
If you have been charged with an Impaired related driving offence you should immediately contact a Toronto Criminal Lawyer who can help you through this difficult and stressful time. For a free consultation call our office at 647-352-BAIL (2245).