FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND IMPAIRED DRIVING IN NEWMARKET. 416-DEFENCE

Driving under the influence offences are among the most common offences before the Court in York Region and include; over 80, impaired driving and refusal. Being charged with a driving under the influence offence can lead to serious criminal sanctions including large fines and jail time as well as lengthy driving prohibitions. Recent changes in driving under the influence laws has eliminated the need for officers to have reasonable suspicion prior to demanding a breath sample, making driving under the influence offences even more difficult to defend.

Donich Law regularly defends law abiding citizens who have made bad decisions and been charged with a driving under the influence offence. Impaired driving offences can be difficult to defend due to the sophisticated technology utilized by law enforcement. We have successfully represented clients from all walks of life, from professionals to students to those working in the service industry.

In 2019, our Firm defended a prominent businessman charged with over 80 after his car ran out of gas on the Don Valley Parkway. He was found with a blood alcohol level that was two and a half times the legal limit. The accused was ultimately acquitted after two years of litigation and a three day trial. In 2017, our Firm successfully represented an accused who was alleged to have struck a motorcyclist on the Don Valley Parkway while driving with a blood alcohol content over three and a half times the legal limit.

In 2016, the Firm defended an individual who was alleged to have been operating a skyjack on a construction site while under the influence. The Firm ultimately secured an acquittal at trial. In R. v. D.G. [2015], the Firm represented a Hollywood stunt man who was found driving with a blood alcohol content over three times the legal limit. In 2015, the Firm represented a driver who was caught trying to conceal an open container at the scene of an accident. The accused was found to have a blood alcohol content over three times the legal limit.

In R. v. M.V [2014], the Firm negotiated for the withdrawal of all charges after a Bay Street banker was charged with an over 80 offence after being stopped at a RIDE check. In 2013, the Firm defended an individual who was involved in a significant accident which sliced the vehicle in half. After being transported to the hospital, law enforcement unlawfully collected a blood sample from the accused which revealed a blood alcohol level that was two and a half times the legal limit. After successfully arguing that the collection of blood violated the accused’s rights, the blood samples were excluded from evidence.

Donich Law has experience defending complex, technical impaired driving offences. We have experience critically analyzing breathalyzer readings, search warrants and police investigative techniques. We have also worked with toxicologists and other experts to assist in developing the best strategy for the particular case.

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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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Driving Under the Influence?
Can I be Charged with Impaired Driving if the Car was in Park?
How to Beat a Driving Under the Influence Charge
What are the Penalties of Driving Under the Influence in Newmarket?

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?

In Canada, there are three driving under the influence offences that motorists can be charged with. These offences include over 80, impaired driving and refusal.

An individual will be guilty of the offence of over 80 where they have been found to be operating a motor vehicle, or in the care and control of a motor vehicle, while having a blood alcohol content of more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

An individual is guilty of 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.

Finally, an individual is guilty of the offence of refusal where they refuse to comply with a valid demand for a breath sample by an officer. With recent changes to impaired driving laws, officers are no longer required to have reasonable suspicion that a motorist is intoxicated before making a demand for a breath sample. This means that virtually all demands for a roadside breath sample made by an officer are lawful.

Can I be Charged with Impaired Driving if the Car was in Park?

Yes. A motorist can be charged with an over 80 or impaired driving offence even if the car was in park. The language used in the Criminal Code indicates that an individual is guilty of impaired driving or over 80 where they are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, or where they are in the care and control of a motor vehicle while under the influence. Care and control means that the individual has the present ability to put the vehicle into motion. As such, if an accused is in or near a car and has the keys in their possession while intoxicated, the police could decide to demand a breath sample or sobriety test and lay charges.

How to Beat a Driving Under the Influence Charge

In Ontario, driving under the influence offences are prosecuted aggressively due to the serious public safety issues impaired driving causes. Crown attorneys are often reluctant to make deals favourable to defendants and tend to advocate for harsh penalties. Driving under the influence offences can be particularly difficult to defend due to their technical nature.

Unlike many other criminal offences, in a driving under the influence trial, the vast majority of the evidence will come from the arresting officer and from expert witnesses. Advancements in technology have also made testing apparatuses incredibly accurate, leaving few opportunities for error.

At an impaired driving trial, the Crown will almost always employ an expert witness to explain to the Court how the drugs and/or alcohol ingested by the accused prior to driving would have affected their ability to operate a motor vehicle. The best way to defend this type of expert evidence is to also use an expert witness. Since drugs and/or alcohol affect people differently, it is important to provide the Court a full picture of how the client was affected. Our Firm has experience employing expert witnesses to assist in defending our clients.  We can connect you with the appropriate experts to ensure the Court receives all relevant evidence prior to making a determination of guilt.

In some cases, it is also possible to defend driving under the influence offences by arguing that the clients Charter rights were breached. If an accused person has had their Charter rights breached, it is sometimes possible to have certain pieces of evidence that were collected as a result of the breach excluded from evidence. For example, if an accused person was involved in a car accident and officers took a blood sample without first getting the consent of the accused or having a warrant in place, the accused’s Charter rights have likely been violated and the Court may exclude the blood evidence.

In the past, another common way to attack the Crown’s case was to argue that the officer had made an unlawful demand for a breath sample. Prior to 2018, officers were required to have reasonable suspicion that a motorist was impaired prior to demanding a breath sample. Since 2018 however, this requirement no longer exists. This means officers are lawfully permitted to demand a breath sample from a motorist regardless of whether the officer has reasonable suspicion that the motorist is impaired. This means that virtually all demands for a roadside breath sample are lawful, essentially eliminating this defence.

In some circumstances, an accused person may have a legitimate excuse for their behaviour. For example, an individual who has been involved in a serious collision on the road may exhibit many of the same symptoms as someone who has been drinking, including slurred speech, being unsteady on their feet and seeming confused. In these situations, the accused will likely be required to utilize an expert witness to explain the reason for the appearance that the accused was impaired.

Due to the complex and technical nature of driving under the influence offences, they have become increasingly difficult to defend. Our Firm has experience defending clients charged with an array of driving under the influence offences and regularly obtain favourable results for our clients.

What are the Penalties of a Driving Under the Influence Conviction in Newmarket?

Driving under the influence offences have become a serious public safety issue in Ontario. As a result, there are serious criminal sanctions associated with driving under the influence convictions. Recent changes have made these penalties even more severe. As such, it is important to hire experienced legal counsel to assist in defending your driving under the influence offence to ensure the lowest possible penalty.

Those convicted of over 80 or impaired driving will be liable to a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment for a first offence. For a second offence, the accused will be liable for a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment and/or a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and a mandatory minimum thirty days incarceration. Those convicted of a third or subsequent offence will face a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment and a mandatory minimum $1,000 fine and 120 days imprisonment.

Individuals who are convicted of a refusal to comply offence will face a mandatory minimum $2,000 fine. Individuals convicted a second time will face a mandatory minimum of thirty days’ imprisonment and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment. Those convicted of a third or subsequent offence will face a mandatory minimum of 120 days’ imprisonment and a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment.

In addition to criminal sanctions, those convicted of driving impaired will also face license suspensions in addition to any license suspension imposed by the Court as part of criminal sanctions. An individual who is convicted of an over 80, refusal or impaired driving offence will face a ninety day license suspension on their first offence. An individual convicted of a second offence within ten years of their original offence will have their license suspended for three years. An individual convicted for a third or subsequent offence will lose their license for life.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence or with a refusal to comply offence, our Firm can assist you in navigating the criminal justice system and formulating the best possible defence for your case. We have experience defending a wide variety of individuals and regularly obtain favourable results for our clients.

Quick Facts

What is a DUI?

In Canada, DUI refers to driving under the influence. There are three different driving under the influence offences which include; over 80, impaired driving and refusal. An individual is guilty of over 80 where they are operating a motor vehicle while over the legal limit of alcohol. An individual is guilty of impaired driving where their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. An individual is guilty of refusal where they fail to comply with a valid demand for a roadside breath sample.

Will my License be Suspended if I am Convicted?

In almost all cases, yes. Virtually everyone who is convicted of an impaired driving, over 80 or refusal offence will have their license suspended for a period of time. The Court may suspend the licence of an individual who has been convicted of an under the influence offence, in addition to Provincial suspensions that may be imposed through the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. This means that an individual may have their license suspended more than once for the same conduct, once at a Federal level and once at a Provincial level. Generally, these suspensions will run concurrently.

Can I be Sentenced to Jail for Driving while Impaired?

Recent changes in impaired driving laws have set strict new penalties for those who are convicted, including mandatory minimum periods of incarceration for repeat offenders. An individual who is convicted for the first time of an over 80 or impaired driving offence will face a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment. An individual who is convicted for a second time will face a mandatory minimum of thirty days’ imprisonment and an individual convicted of third or subsequent offence will face a mandatory minimum of 120 days’ imprisonment.

Can my Impaired Driving Charge be Dropped?

Driving under the influence is a serious public safety concern in Ontario. As a result, the government has set strict penalties for those convicted, and made it more difficult to defend such offences. Crown attorneys are often quite reluctant to make favourable deals with those charged with impaired driving or over 80 offences as such behaviour poses a serious risk to the general public. Experienced legal counsel can assist in negotiating a favourable deal with the Crown, however having the charges dropped altogether can be difficult.

Can I be Arrested for Driving while High on Cannabis?

Yes. An individual who is found to have been operating, or in the care and control of a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis may be guilty of impaired driving. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any mind-altering substance. This includes cannabis, illegal drugs and legal drugs such a prescription medication.

What is the Difference Between Impaired Driving, Over 80, and Refusal?

An individual who is 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, will be guilty of an over 80 offence. An individual may be guilty of an over 80 offence even if their ability to drive is not impaired. An individual will be guilty of impaired driving where their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by drugs or alcohol or both. An individual can be charged with impaired driving even where their blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. Finally, an individual is guilty of refusal where an officer makes a lawful demand for a roadside breath sample and the motorist refuses. An individual will be guilty of this offence even if they were not intoxicated or impaired.

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623