Frequently Asked Questions
What is Driving Under the Influence?
Can I be Charged with an Impaired Driving Offence if the Car was Not Moving?
How to Defend DUI Charges in Brampton?
What are the Consequences of Driving Under the Influence in Peel?
What other Consequences are Associated with a Driving While Impaired Conviction?
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
What is Driving Under the Influence?
Driving Under the Influence offences are a group of offences including; over 0.08, refusal and impaired driving. An over 80 charge will result when an individual is found to have been driving, or in the care and control of a vehicle, while their blood alcohol content is over 0.08. A refusal charge will result when an officer makes a valid demand for a breath sample from a motorist and the motorist refuses to provide one forthwith. An impaired driving charge will result when an individual is found to have been impaired by drugs and/or alcohol while operating, or in the care and control of a motor vehicle. An individual may receive an impaired charge, even where their blood alcohol content is under the legal limit, where their ability to safely operate the motor vehicle is impaired.
Can I be Charged with an Impaired Driving Offence if the Car was not Moving?
Yes. An individual may be charged with an under the influence offence if they have been found to have been driving while under the influence, or if they are in care and control of the vehicle. Section 253 of the Criminal Code states that an individual who is in care and control of a vehicle while they are impaired is guilty of a criminal offence regardless of whether they have actually driven the vehicle.
How to Defend a Driving Under the Influence Charge
Impaired driving charges can be especially difficult to defend due to their technical nature. Unlike some other offences, most, if not all, of the evidence at an impaired driving trial will come from the arresting Officer and from expert witnesses. The Officer will generally testify about what they witnessed from the accused on the night of the alleged offence, including whether the accused was having difficulty operating the vehicle according to the rules of the road, whether they were slurring their speech, sweating, unsteady on their feet or otherwise appeared impaired.
Additionally, expert testimony from a licensed breath technician, drug recognition examination officer or a qualified medical practitioner in the case of blood samples is often utilized at impaired driving trials. Due to the complexity of impairment, experts are needed to explain to the Court how much alcohol or drugs were found in the body of the defendant and how these drugs or alcohol may have affected the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft. This evidence can be extremely difficult to refute. Our Firm has experience defending impaired driving charges in Peel region and can assist you in formulating the best defence for your case. Determining the best way to attack the Crown’s evidence at trial can be challenging, especially when expert witnesses are involved. Experienced legal counsel can guide you through the process and may even utilize expert witnesses of their own when necessary.
In some circumstances an individual may have a valid explanation for their impaired appearance. For example, an individual who has just been involved in an accident may exhibit some of the same symptoms as an individual who is impaired by drugs or alcohol like slurring words or being unsteady on their feet. In this situation the defence may require an expert witness of their own to assist the Court in understanding the underlying reason for the defendant’s impaired appearance. Our Firm can help connect you with the correct experts to ensure you present the best defence to the charges against you.
In addition to the technical nature of impaired driving offences, recent changes in the law have made is increasingly easier for law enforcement to stop and investigate motorists for impaired driving. Since 2018, officers are no longer required to have reasonable suspicion that a motorist is impaired or has consumed alcohol before requesting a breath sample. Essentially, this means an officer may request a breath sample from a motorist, even one whom is not driving, at any time for any reason, even if the officer does not believe the motorist is impaired. Once a demand for a breath sample is made by an officer, an individual has no choice but to comply. Failure to comply with a valid request for a breath sample will result in a charge being laid against the individual for refusal to comply with a breath demand.
What are the Criminal Consequences of a Driving Under the Influence Conviction in Brampton?
Being charged with an impaired or over 80 offence is very serious and could lead to a variety of consequences for an individual who is convicted. Recent changes in impaired driving laws have increased penalties. Peel region is often known as “no deal Peel” because Crowns are often reluctant to make favourable plea deals with defendants. As a result, it is often necessary to hire experienced legal counsel to rigorously defend your case if you are charged in Peel region.
Individuals convicted of driving under the influence will be liable at a minimum to pay a mandatory $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a first-time conviction is ten years’ imprisonment. Those convicted of a second offence will be liable to a mandatory minimum of thirty days’ imprisonment and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment. Those convicted of a third or subsequent offence will be liable to a mandatory minimum of 120 days’ imprisonment and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment.
Those convicted of a refusal to comply offence will be liable to a mandatory minimum $2,000 fine. Those convicted with a second refusal to comply offence will be liable to a mandatory minimum of thirty days’ imprisonment and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment. Those convicted of a third of subsequent offence will be liable to a mandatory minimum of 120 days’ imprisonment and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment.
What Other Consequences are Associated with a Driving While Impaired Conviction?
In addition to the criminal charges that will be laid against an individual caught driving while under the influence, there will also be consequences associated with the individual’s ability to drive in the future.
Blood Alcohol Level in the “Warning Range” (0.05 – 0.08)
An individual who is found to have been operating a motor vehicle, or in the care and control of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) in the “warning range” (between 0.05 and 0.08 BAC) will have their license immediately suspended for three-days, and will face a $250 fine.
For a second offence within five years the penalty will be a seven-day immediate license suspension (three days for commercial drivers), and a $350 fine. For a second occurrence within ten years there is a mandatory drivers education program.
For a third and subsequent offence within five years the penalty will be an immediate thirty-day license suspension (three days for commercial drivers), and a $450 fine. For a third and subsequent offence within ten years the penalty will be a mandatory drivers education program and the requirement that the driver use an interlock device for six months if they wish to drive.
For a fourth and subsequent offence within ten years the individual will be required to undergo a mandatory medical evaluation to determine whether the individual meets the requirements of driving in Ontario.
In addition to the penalties listed above, drivers will also be faced with a $281 license reinstatement fee each time their license is suspended for driving within the “warning range”.
Blood Alcohol Level Over the Legal Limit (0.08), Refuse Testing or Impairment
An individual who is found to have been operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content over 0.08, while they are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol, or refused roadside breath testing will receive a 90-day license suspension in addition to any licence suspensions imposed by the criminal Court. The individual will also have their vehicle impounded for seven days and will have to cover the costs associated with that. In addition, they will face a $550 fine and a $281 license reinstatement fee.
For a second or subsequent offence within ten years the individual will be required to attend a mandatory drivers education program or treatment program and will be required to have an interlock system installed on their vehicle for at least six months.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Brampton. Our Firm can assist in guiding you through the process to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
What is a DUI?
Driving under the influence offences include; over .80, impaired driving and refusal to comply. An individual is guilty of an over .80 offence where they have found to be operating, or in the care and control, of a motor vehicle while their blood alcohol content is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. An individual is guilty of impaired driving where their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by drugs or alcohol or a combination of both. An individual is guilty of refusal to comply when an officer makes a lawful demand for a breath sample at the roadside and the accused refuses to comply.
How to Drop Drinking and Driving Charges?
Drinking and driving charges are aggressively prosecuted in Canada due to the high number of deaths each year as a result of drunk driving. Unless a Crown believes there is no reasonable prospect of conviction based on the evidence in their possession, they will generally not agree to withdrawal a drinking and driving charge. As a result of this, many impaired driving charges end up going to trial.
Will I Lose my License?
In many cases, yes. An individual who is found guilty of a driving under the influence offence will be liable on first conviction to have their license suspended for 90 days in addition to any license suspensions imposed by the criminal Court. An individual who is convicted of a second offence within ten years of their last conviction will lose their license for three years. An individual who is convicted of a third or subsequent drinking and driving offence will lose their license for life, which may be reduced after ten years if certain criteria are met.
Can I go to Jail for Drinking and Driving?
Yes. Recent changes in drinking and driving laws have made the penalties for those who are convicted even more severe. In cases where an accident occurred or the accused caused property damage or injury to another person, the Crown will often seek jail time. Similarly, those who are repeat offenders will be subject to mandatory minimum periods of incarceration. In many Northern Regions of Ontario, individuals charged with even a first impaired driving offence will be sentenced to a period of incarceration.
What is the Difference Between Impaired and Over .80?
An individual may be charged with a criminal offence where their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by drugs or alcohol or a combination of both. A person can be charged with an impaired driving offence even if they are under the legal limit for alcohol and have no drugs in their system, if their ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired. On the other hand, an individual can only be charged with an over .80 offence if they have a blood alcohol content over the legal limit.
Is Impaired Driving by Drugs Illegal?
Yes. An individual is guilty of impaired driving when their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is impaired in some why by drugs or alcohol or both. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs of any sort, legal or illegal. This includes driving under the influence of cannabis and prescription medication and even over the counter medication.