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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.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Driving Under the Influence?
What is Care and Control?
How to Beat an Impaired Driving Charge in Kitchener?
What are Common Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Offences in Kitchener?
What other Penalties do Individuals Convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Face?

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your rights

What is Driving Under the Influence?

Driving under the influence offences are among the most common before the Courts all over the country. An individual suspected of driving under the influence may be charged with three different offences; over 80, impaired driving and refusal to comply.

As outlined in the Criminal Code, an individual has committed the offence of over 80 when they are found to be operating, or in the care and control of a motor vehicle, while having a blood alcohol content that is more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

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 by drugs or alcohol or a combination of both. An individual’s abilities may be impaired by illegal or legal drugs, including prescription medication.

An individual is guilty of refusal where they refuse to comply with a lawful demand for a breath sample. Recent changes in impaired driving laws mean that officers are no longer required to have reasonable suspicion that an individual is or has been operating a vehicle while under the influence. As a result, essentially all demands for a breath sample by an officer are lawful.

What is Care and Control?

The Criminal Code states that an individual is guilty of impaired driving or over 80 when they operate or are in the care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired. An individual is in care and control of a vehicle when three elements exist. These elements include; an intentional course of conduct associated with a motor vehicle, by a person whose ability to drive is impaired or whose blood alcohol level is over the legal limit, in circumstances that create a realistic risk of danger to people in the vicinity.

A realistic risk of danger exists when one of three situations exist. A realistic risk will exist when an inebriated person who does not initially intend to drive while intoxicated later decides to drive. A realistic risk will also exist where an inebriated person unintentionally sets a vehicle in motion while behind the wheel. Finally, a realistic risk exists when an inoperable or stationary vehicle causes damage to property as a result of negligence or bad judgement on the part of the inebriated person.

As a result of care and control laws, an individual who does not intend to drive at the present moment can be charged and convicted of an impaired driving offence.

How to Beat an Impaired Driving Charge in Kitchener?

Driving under the influence offences can be very difficult to defend for many reasons. Law enforcement officials utilize sophisticated technology to test those who have been arrested to determine their blood alcohol content. These tests are quite accurate and can be difficult to refute in Court. Additionally, recent changes in legislation regarding impaired driving offences mean that such offences are prosecuted vigorously and those convicted are often sentenced harshly.

One common way to defend an impaired driving offence is to call expert witnesses. In the majority of impaired driving and over 80 cases, the Crown will use an expert witness to make their case. Such experts will explain how the amount of alcohol or drugs found in the accused’s system would have affected their ability to operate the motor vehicle. To refute such evidence, it is possible to hire independent medical experts to review the evidence and provide an opinion of their own. If the defendant’s expert witness is of the opinion that the defendant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was not impaired and can convince the Court that is true, the accused may beat the charge.

In cases involving refusal charges, an accused person may be able to argue that they had a legitimate reason for not complying with the officer’s lawful demand for a breath sample. If for example, an accused had a legitimate health issue that prevented them from blowing into the machine, they cannot be found guilty of a refusal offence.

Driving under the influence offences can be particularly difficult to defend due to their technical nature. Donich Law has experience defending a variety of driving under the influence offences. We regularly employ medical experts to analyse all breath and blood samples to ensure our clients rights are protected and that they receive the best possible outcome.

What are Common Penalties for Driving Under the Influence Offences in Kitchener?

Due to the serious public safety concerns caused as a result of driving under the influence, such offences are prosecuted aggressively by Crowns across Ontario. Those who are convicted of driving under the influence offences are regularly sentenced to jail, have their licenses suspended and are required to pay large fines. Recent changes in impaired driving laws have made penalties even more severe including mandatory minimum jail sentences for those convicted of a second or subsequent offence.

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

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

If you have been charged with a driving under the influence offence in Kitchener Donich Law can assist you in navigating the process. We can help you develop a defence to ensure you receive the best possible outcome based on your set of circumstances.

What Other Penalties do Individuals Convicted of Driving Under the Influence Face?

In addition to criminal sanctions, an individual who is convicted of driving under the influence will also face license suspensions. In most cases the Court will suspend the license of the offender as part of their criminal sentencing. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act also imposes additional license suspensions on those who are found guilty of driving under the influence. These suspensions are in addition to any suspensions put in place by the criminal court upon sentencing.

An individual who is convicted of impaired driving or over 80 will face a 90-day suspension on their first offence. An individual convicted of a second offence within ten years of the initial offence will face a three-year license suspension. Finally, an individual convicted of a third or subsequent offence within ten years of the initial offence will face a lifetime driving ban.

Due to the serious implications of a driving under the influence conviction, it is important to have experienced legal counsel on your side.

Quick Facts

What is Driving Under the Influence?

Driving under the influence offences consist of three different offences; over 80, impaired driving and refusal. An individual is guilty of over 80 when they are found to have been operating a motor vehicle while their blood alcohol content is over the legal limit. An individual is guilty of impaired driving where their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. An individual is guilty of refusal when they refuse to comply with an officer’s lawful demand for a breath sample.

Will I go to Jail if I am Convicted of Driving Under the Influence?

In recent years driving under the influence laws have become even more strict. The maximum penalty for an individual convicted of over 80 or impaired driving offence is ten years in prison. Additionally, those who are convicted for a second time will face a mandatory minimum 30 days in jail. Those convicted of a third or subsequent offence will be sentenced to a minimum of 120 days in jail.

What if I am Convicted of Driving Under the Influence More than Once?

Recent changes in driving under the influence laws have resulted in mandatory minimum jail sentences for those who are convicted of an over 80 or impaired driving offence more than once. Those who are convicted of a second over 80 or impaired driving offence will face a minimum 30-day imprisonment. Those who are convicted of a third or subsequent offence will face a minimum 120-day imprisonment.

Can I be Arrested for Driving While High on Marijuana?

Yes. Those who are found to have been operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana will be charged with impaired driving. An individual is guilty of impaired driving if they operate a motor vehicle while their ability is impaired by a mind-altering substance, including marijuana.

Will I Lose my License if I am Convicted of a Driving Under the Influence Offence?

Yes. Virtually everyone who is convicted of a refusal, impaired driving or over 80 offence will have their license suspended. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act imposes license suspensions for those convicted of such offences. Additionally, the Court will also impose license suspensions as part of criminal sanctions against those convicted in criminal court.

What if the Vehicle was in Park When I was Arrested?

An individual may still be charged with an under the influence offence even if the car was not in motion. The Criminal Code states that an individual is guilty of over 80 and impaired driving when they are operating or 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 put the vehicle in motion.

Is it Possible to get a Driving Under the Influence Charge Dropped?

Crown counsel across Ontario are often reluctant or unwilling to drop under the influence charges. Due to the public safety concerns caused as a result of driving under the influence, Crowns often prosecute such cases vigorously. Whether or not a driving under influence charge can be dropped will depend on a number of factors including the nature and severity of the allegations, the accused’s criminal history and any other mitigating or aggravating factors.

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