If you are facing an impaired driving prosecution, you stand to lose a lot more than money. Your life and your livelihood is on the line. An impaired driving conviction creates a criminal record that can have a serious impact on your future. In addition to fines, you could lose your license or certain driving privileges. An impaired driving record can also raise your insurance rates and prevent you from getting a job. Because the consequences of conviction are so severe, it is important to find a lawyer who has extensive experience defending impaired driving cases. At Hobson & Reeve, our lawyers know every nuance of the law of impaired driving and will provide you with a vigorous and exceptional defence.
There are two main types of impaired driving charges in Canada: “impaired driving” and a charge colloquially known as “driving over 80.”
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, an individual is guilty of impaired driving when he operates a vehicle while his driving ability is impaired by alcohol or drug use. Although some people refer to this offence as a DUI or DWI, these terms are more commonly used in the United States.
“Driving over 80” is a separate offence that refers to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. In Canada, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 per cent, or 80 milligrams per 100 milligrams of blood, is illegal. It is possible to be charged with both offences. Additionally, because Canadian law permits police officers to test blood alcohol levels with an “approved instrument”, such as a breathalyzer, defendants who refuse to submit blood or breath samples often find themselves charged with additional offences. Because these charges can easily pile up, you need a lawyer who can help you make the right decisions in your case.
Many individuals incorrectly believe that you must “blow” a 0.08 to be charged with impaired driving. In reality, you can be charged with impaired driving regardless of your blood alcohol level. If a police offer observes you driving recklessly and reasonably believes you were impaired at the time, you can be arrested for driving drunk or high. A distinct offence known as “care and control” even allows officers to arrest you for sitting in a stationary vehicle in an impaired state. As long as the vehicle was under your care and control, you can be charged. The law in this area is very nuanced, and Hobson & Reeve’s lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of the elements necessary to obtain a conviction for any alcohol-related driving offences. We use this knowledge to our clients’ advantage in preparing strong defences to impaired driving charges.
Suppose you have had a few beers — maybe a few too many — and you remember that you left your car in the driveway. You grab your keys, stumble to the car, start it, and drive it into the garage. As you are staggering out of the garage, a police officer who happens to be driving past your house notices that you are having difficulty walking in a straight line. The officer stops and asks if you are having a problem. You answer that you are fine but your speech is noticeably slurred. The officer concludes that you are under the influence of alcohol and asks if you have been driving. You admit that you drove your car, but only from the spot in the driveway where you had parked it into your garage. The car was always on your private property, never on a public street. Can you be charged and convicted of impaired driving? The answer is YES. Yes you can!
The penalties for impaired driving convictions are severe and continue to become harsher. A first offence carries a fine of $1,000. Second-time offenders face a minimum jail sentence of 30 days. A lawyer well-versed in impaired driving law can raise a variety of defences, including challenging the officer’s observations, questioning police procedures, and arguing against the validity of toxicology reports. Without an experienced lawyer to defend your case, you could end up with criminal convictions you could have avoided. Call us to discuss your case so we can begin assisting you with your defence.
The legal team of Hobson & Reeve, Barristers has over 60 years of collective criminal law experience. Our lawyers have worked hard to establish themselves as formidable litigators in court as well as efficient negotiators on matters such as plea bargains. Both David Hobson and Dennis Reeve have served as Crown Prosecutors; this experience gives them invaluable insight into each case’s unique strengths and weaknesses and helps them choose the best strategies for protecting their clients. They are dedicated to impeccable preparation, fierce yet professional advocacy, and providing the best possible defence for each client. Hobson & Reeve look forward to bringing their decades of legal experience to your case, protecting your rights, and providing the advice and representation you need. If you’ve been charged with impaired driving, call them at 866.619.9646 for a free initial consultation.