Being stopped by the police during a roadside check while behind the wheel is one of the most legally perilous situations many ordinary people face. Charges can range widely, from failing to accord with police demands to provide breath samples to “impaired driving” to blowing “over 80”. What should you do if you find yourself charged with any of these offences in Brampton? No matter the precise situation, consulting with experienced defence counsel is crucial to obtaining favorable results.
Impaired driving occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There were 1,260 impaired driving charges in 2016 in Brampton and Mississauga. In the year before, there were 1,386 impaired driving charges.
The Criminal Courthouse for Brampton, A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse, is currently located at 7755 Hurontario Street, Brampton ON, L6W 4T1. A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse’s phone number is (905) 456-4700. The office hours for this court happen Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you are searching for information regarding your upcoming court appearance, it can be located here. Services and contact information can be accessed here. Cases for adults, young persons aged 16-17, and young persons aged 12-15 are heard at A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse.
Our Firm has successfully handled a number of drinking and driving cases. The Firm frequently aids in the defence of law-abiding citizens who do not have criminal records but are confronted with impaired driving allegations. We are able to provide expert representation for a host of accused individuals in Brampton. We have successfully defended institutional traders, construction union workers, financial district employees, students, hospital staff, as well as many other professionals face with impaired driving allegations. For more information on recent cases the Firm has achieved successful results in, click here.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Drinking & Driving Offences
The presence of over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of a driver’s blood while they are behind the wheel is referred to as driving “over 80”. Section 253(1)b prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle (among other equipment; driving motorized scooters while over 80 is similarly not advisable) under these conditions.
Driving while intoxicated is similar, and is defined in subsection 253(1)a of the Criminal Code. In this case, however, there is not a defined number attached to the offence. Rather, the police and crown need to prove that the driver was, in fact, intoxicated by alcohol or drugs while operating the vehicle or equipment.
The Differences Between the Two
These two offences are often confused; however, they are different conceptually, and there are very real practical differences between the two. Since driving while intoxicated is not based on a specific number, the circumstances under which it applies are different
This means that, just because you have a blood alcohol content of “below 80”, you are not necessarily clear to drive. For example, a new drinker or someone with a low tolerance may be impaired, even with a blood alcohol content of less than 80. Someone with less than 80 milligrams of alcohol, or even 0 milligrams of alcohol, who is under the influence of other drugs may still be criminally liable for driving under the influence, even if they are in the clear when it comes to subsection 253(1)b.
In contrast, no matter your experience with or tolerance to alcohol, and regardless of how you perform on other secondary sobriety analyses, a blood alcohol content of over 80 is subject to criminal sanctions if it can be poven.
Testing & Proof
A conviction under section 253(1)b of the Criminal Code requires the police to conduct a sobriety test and find the accused to have crossed this threshold. Sobriety tests in Canada involve two discrete steps: First, a preliminary screening test while on the road with an “ASD” (“Approved Screening Device”), and then later a more precise testing using an “approved instrument” in a controlled environment with a certified technician conducting the test.
Where a police officer reasonably suspects that a driver has alcohol in their body, they have grounds to request that they submit to the use of an approved screening device. If they fail this, they may then demand that they attend for testing using an approved instrument. Refusing testing using an ASD or approved instrument can result in charges.
You should also note that different provinces may set lower thresholds for their legal limits, even if the criminal limit is 80 milligrams throughout Canada.
In Ontario, there is a distinct schedule of penalties for drivers who land between 50 and 80 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre. This is referred to as a “warm reading”, and penalties typically involve temporary license suspensions and mandatory alcohol-related programs.
Failure to Provide
Finally, there is a third offence that may arise for driving under the influence. Should a driver choose not to provide a sample validly requested by a police officer, this in and of itself gives rise to an offence under section 254.
Protecting Your Rights
When it comes to impaired driving and related offences, available defences can be quite technical. Often, even seemingly insurmountable odds can be overcome by police conduct. The validity of the police’s search is central to any impaired driving-related charge.
On the one hand, this means that there may yet be hope, even if you fear you have slim prospects of success. But these defences will seem arcane and difficult to comprehend, let alone advance, for a layperson. This is why it is particularly important to consult with criminal la professionals, such as our team of Brampton criminal lawyers, should you find yourself facing impaired driving or related charges.
If you have been charged with impaired driving, driving over 80, or refusing to provide a sample, consider reaching out to our team at 416-DEFENCE, or at [email protected] for a free consultation to discuss your options.
Please contact us at 416-DEFENCE, or at [email protected], if you have been faced with any of the above charges in Guelph and feel that you need a criminal lawyer on your side.