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In Canada, there are three different driving under the influence offences which include; over 80, impaired driving and refusal to comply. Driving under the influence offences are among the most common before the court in Guelph. Due to the serious public safety concerns posed by those who drive under the influence, such offences are considered quite serious by the Court. Those who are convicted of such offences face criminal sanctions, driving suspensions and social stigmatization. Recent changes in legislation have made it even easier for law enforcement officials to stop motorists and demand breath samples. These changes have made it difficult to defend driving under the influence offences.

Donich Law has experience defending a variety of individuals charged with driving under the influence offences. We have represented those charged for the first time and those who are repeat offenders. We have experience negotiating with Crown counsel and litigating matters where appropriate, to achieve positive results for all of our clients.

In 2019, the firm represented a businessman charged with an over 80 offence after running out of gas on the Don Valley Parkway. When police arrived on the scene, the accused was found to have a blood alcohol content that was three times the legal limit. After more than two years of litigation and a three-day trial, the Firm was able to secure an acquittal. in 2017, the firm successfully represented an individual charged with over 80, after colliding with a motorcyclist on the Don Valley Parkway. When the police arrived on scene to investigate, the accused was found to have a blood alcohol content that was three times the legal limit.

In 2016, Donich Law defended an individual charged with impaired driving after being found impaired while on the job. The individual was found operating a skyjack on a Toronto construction site and subsequently arrested. The Firm was ultimately able to secure an acquittal for the accused. In 2015, the Firm represented a Hollywood stuntman charged after being found to have a blood alcohol content that was three times the legal limit. In 2014, Donich Law defended a Bay Street banker charged with over 80 after being pulled into a RIDE check. After some negotiations with the Crown, the Firm was able to secure the withdrawal of the charge, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the client.

In 2013, the firm represented an individual charge with over 80 after being involved in a significant accident which resulted in his car being cut in half. The injured accused was taken to a hospital where law enforcement unlawfully collected a blood sample, proving that the accused had a blood alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit. The Firm challenged the evidence on the grounds that it had been unlawfully collected, and the blood samples were excluded from evidence, seriously compromising the Crown’s case.

The Guelph criminal courthouse can be located at 36 Wyndham Street South, Guelph, ON N1H 7J5. The main intersection is Wyndham Street South and Fountain Street. The Guelph criminal courthouse has jurisdiction over all criminal matters occurring in the province of Ontario, and specifically hears cases concerning serious criminal offences that have occurred in Guelph. To speak to someone at the courthouse, call 519-826-4431. The Guelph courthouse is also open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.  Services are offered in English, French and Quebec Sign Language. There are also staff available for Interpretive Services.

Information about an upcoming court appearance can be found here. Services and contact information can be found here.

The overall number of impaired driving incidents dropped in 2016. There was a total of 148 incidents reported to police in Guelph. The average number of impaired driving incidents in Guelph is lower than the national average. The rate in Guelph in 2016 was 111.82 per 100,000, which can be compared to the national rate of 194.31 per 100,000.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Driving Under the Influence?
What are the Best Defences to a Driving Under the Influence Charge?
What if my Car was in Park at the Time I was Arrested?
What is the Punishment for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Guelph?
What other Consequences may Result from a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Conviction?

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What is Driving Under the Influence?

In Canada, there are three different driving under the influence offences. These offences include; over 80, impaired driving, and refusal to comply. All three are considered very serious offences and serious criminal sanctions will be imposed on those who are convicted.

The Criminal Code states that an individual has committed the offence of over 80 when they are found to have been operating, or in the care and control, of a motor vehicle while their blood alcohol content is over the legal limit. The legal limit in Canada is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. If an individual’s blood alcohol content exceeds this limit, they will be guilty of an over 80 offence. This is true even if the accused ability to operate the vehicle was not impaired in any way.

An individual has committed the offence of impaired driving when they are found to have been operating, or in the care and control, of a motor vehicle while their abilities are impaired buy drugs or alcohol or a combination of both. This includes both illegal and legal drugs including prescription medication.

The Code states that an individual is guilty of a refusal to comply offence when they refused to provide a breath sample when an officer makes a lawful demand. Due to recent changes in impaired driving laws, virtually every demand made by an officer is considered lawful. Officers are no longer required to have reasonable suspicion that the accused was impaired or over 80 at the time a demand is made. Unless an accused has a lawful excuse for not providing the sample, they will be charged and convicted with a refusal offence.

What are the Best Defences to a Driving Under the Influence Charge?

Driving under the influence offences in Canada are among the most difficult to defend. This is due to the sophisticated technology employed by law enforcement officials, as well as the use of expert witnesses at trial. Unlike many other criminal offences, the vast majority of the evidence presented at an impaired driving or over 80 trial is introduced through expert witnesses or the arresting officers. Such evidence is generally seen as quite credible by the Court. As a result, attacking such evidence can be challenging.

In the majority of impaired driving trials, expert witnesses are used to explain breath and blood samples to the Court. Due to the technical nature of the evidence in most impaired driving trials, expert witnesses are necessary to explain how the amount of blood or alcohol found in the accused body at the time of their arrest could have impacted their ability to operate a motor vehicle. The best way to challenge such evidence is to introduce expert evidence suggesting that the accused’s abilities were in fact not impaired. Drugs and alcohol affect different people in different ways and different experts maybe may have different opinions on how a certain individual was affected. If the defendant’s expert witness is more persuasive than the Crown’s expert witness, the defence may be able to raise a reasonable doubt, causing the accused to be acquitted.

The best offence to any driving under the influence offence will depend largely on the facts of the case. Each defence will be unique. Donich law has experienced defending various driving under the influence offences and regularly employee medical experts of our own to analyze breath and blood samples. By using this strategy, we have been able to regularly obtain positive results for our clients, in some cases resolving matters without a criminal record.

What if my Car was in Park at the Time I was Arrested?

An individual may still be charged with an impaired driving offence for over 80 offence even if the vehicle was in park at the time they were arrested. The Criminal Code states that an individual is guilty of over 80 or impaired driving when they are operating, or in the care and control of motor vehicle, while impaired or over the legal limit.

An individual is in caring control of a motor vehicle when three elements exist. These three elements include; An intentional course of conduct associated with the motor vehicle, by a person whose ability to drive is impaired or whose blood alcohol level is over the legal limit, and circumstances that create a realistic risk of danger to property. This means that an individual can be convicted of driving under the influence even where they did not drive, if they had the present ability to put the vehicle in motion while inebriated.

To be in care in control of a vehicle a realistic risk of danger must exist. A realistic risk of danger will exist where an inebriated person who does not initially intend to drive while intoxicated later decides to drive. Additionally, a realistic risk of danger will also exist where an inebriated person unintentionally sets a vehicle in motion. Further, a realistic risk of danger exists where a stationary or an inoperable vehicle causes damage to property as a result of negligence or bad judgment on the part of the intoxicated person.

What is the Punishment for Driving Under the Influence in Guelph?

Driving under the influence offences are considered very serious across the province. Those who are convicted are routinely sentence to serious criminal sanctions, including large fines and periods of incarceration. Additionally, lengthy license suspensions are imposed in virtually all cases. Due to the serious public safety concerns that result from impaired driving, Crowns regularly advocate for periods of incarceration for those who are convicted.

An individual who is found guilty of a refusal to comply offence for the first time will face a mandatory minimum $2,000 fine. An individual who is convicted of a second refusal offence will face a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum of 10 years in prison. An individual who was convicted of third or subsequent refusal offence will face a minimum of 120 days in jail and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

An individual who is found guilty of a first impaired driving or over 80 offence will face a mandatory $1,000 fine and a maximum of 10 years in prison. An individual who is convicted of a second impaired driving or over 80 offence will face a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine, a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum of 10 years in prison. Finally, an individual convicted of third or subsequent impaired driving or over 80 offence will face a minimum $1,000 fine, a minimum 120 days in jail and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

What Other Consequences May Result from a Driving Under the Influence Conviction?

In addition to the criminal sanctions that will result from a driving under the influence conviction, offenders will also face lengthy license suspensions. In virtually all cases involving driving under the influence, offenders will have their license suspended at the roadside upon their arrest. Further, license suspensions are often levied as part of the criminal sanctions imposed on an offender at sentencing. In addition to suspensions imposed by the Court, those convicted of driving under the influence will also have their license suspended through the Ontario Traffic Highway Traffic Act. These suspensions are in addition to the suspensions issued by the criminal Court, but often run consecutively.

If you’ve been charged with a driving under the influence offence, it is important to contact qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. Due to the very serious impacts that may result from a conviction, including criminal sanctions, license suspensions, and social stigmatization, it is important to consult experienced legal counsel to develop a defence strategy. Donich Law can assist you in developing a unique strategy for your set of allegations to ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

Quick Facts

What is Impaired Driving?

As outlined in the Criminal Code, an individual is guilty of impaired driving when they are found to be operating a motor vehicle, or in the care and control of a motor vehicle, while their ability to do so is impaired by drugs or alcohol. This includes both legal and illegal drugs.

What is Over 80?

The Criminal Code states that an individual is guilty of the offence of over 80 when they are found to have been operating, or in the care and control of a vehicle, while their blood alcohol content is over the legal limit. In Canada, the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

What is Care and Control?

An individual may be charged with impaired driving or over 80 if they were in the care and control of a vehicle while impaired. An individual is in care and control of a vehicle when they have the present ability to set the vehicle in motion. An individual may be convicted of impaired driving or over 80 even if they had no present intention of driving the vehicle, as long as they had the ability to do so.

Will my License be Suspended if I am Convicted of Impaired Driving?

Yes. Almost everyone who is convicted of an impaired driving offence will have their license suspended for a period of time. Generally, when an individual is pulled over and charged with an impaired driving offence, they will have their license suspended at the roadside. Upon being convicted of a criminal offence, the Court will often impose additional license suspensions as part of the offender’s sentence.

Will I be Sentenced to Jail for Impaired Driving?

In many cases, yes. Recent changes in impaired driving laws in Canada have made sanctions for those convicted even more severe. For those who are convicted of a second or subsequent offence, mandatory minimum jail sentences have been put in place.

What if I have been Convicted of Impaired Driving More than Once?

Recent changes in impaired driving laws have put mandatory minimum jail sentences is in place for those who have been convicted more than once. An individual who is convicted of a second offence will face a mandatory minimum 30-day jail sentence. An individual who is convicted of third or subsequent offence will face a mandatory minimum 120-day jail sentence.

Can I get an Impaired Driving Charge for Driving After Smoking Marijuana?

Yes. An individual who was found to have been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana will be charged with impaired driving. An individual may be charged with impaired driving for operating or being in the care and control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of both legal and illegal drugs.

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