When determining the appropriate sentence for an individual convicted of impaired driving or refusal, the Court will consider all relevant aggravating and mitigating factors. The more aggravating factors present in a case, the more likely it is that the accused will be sentenced to a period of custody. For example, where the driver was involved in an accident, there was property damage, or someone was injured, the offender is more likely to be sentenced to a period of custody. Further, the level of impairment will also play a role in sentencing. Where the accused was only slightly over the legal limit, they are more likely to be treated with leniency than someone who was significant intoxicated. Whether or not the accused is a second time offender will also play a significant role in sentencing. Those convicted of a second or subsequent impaired driving offence will face mandatory minimum jail sentences.
Disclosure – Why Does it Takes so Long?
Disclosure is a lengthy process that begins at the police station after someone has been arrested for impaired driving. Once arrested, the police start a case file and compile all the evidence against a person pertaining to the offence they committed. For an impaired driving case, this will include the results of the mandatory screening done by the accused on the police officer’s Approved Screening Device. The file will also include the official breathalyzer test results, as well as any other evidence such as witness or victim statements. The process for completing the file can often several weeks. After the file is complete, it is sent to the Crown.
Once the Crown has possession of the file, they begin a two-stage process. The first stage is known as vetting. Vetting means that the Crown must review all available evidence, making sure that there is no contact or personal information included from victims or third parties that would be given to the accused. Once vetting has been completed, the next stage is screening. Screening is where the Crown determines their position concerning what sentence an accused person is facing for their offence. Overall, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire disclosure process can take up to several months to complete and be provided to the accused.