Impaired Driving Lawyer (DUI) Brampton
In Canada, three of the most common driving related offences under the Criminal Code are ‘impaired driving’, ‘driving with excess blood alcohol/over 80’ and ‘refusing a breath sample. Being charged with any one of these three offences is a criminal charge prosecuted pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada. The term ‘DUI’ (driving under the influence) is commonly used outside of the legal community, however ‘DUI’ is not a charge found in the Criminal Code of Canada. Do not consider pleading guilty unless you have spoken to an experienced Brampton criminal lawyer. Call Passi & Patel and allow one of our Brampton criminal lawyers to provide you with the advice and guidance that you need in order to make an informed decision.
Criminal Code of Canada – Definition of Impaired/Over 80
253. (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,
(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.
(2) For greater certainty, the reference to impairment by alcohol or a drug in paragraph (1)(a) includes impairment by a combination of alcohol and a drug.
Many people do not understand the difference between ‘impaired by alcohol’ (s. 253(1)(a) verses ‘exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol’ (s.253(1)(b).
Essentially, impaired driving suggests that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was ‘impaired’ by alcohol. Often, civilians, concerned or police officers will see a motor vehicle being operated in an unsafe or unusual manner and report the driving. Upon being stopped, if the officer has grounds to believe that the driver is impaired, the officer will place the driver under arrest for impaired driving, and transport him/her to a local police station. Once at the station, the arrested party will be required to provide two samples of their breath into breathalyzer. If both of these samples show that the accused party’s ‘blood alcohol concentration’ (B.A.C) was over 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, then a further charge of ‘driving with excess blood alcohol/over 80’ will be laid.
In the alternative, if an individual is stopped during a routine traffic check, RIDE program or a Highway Traffic Act (HTA) violation and the officer suspects that the driver has consumed alcohol, they will demand that the driver provide a sample of their breath into an “Approved Screening Device” at the roadside. In this circumstance, the police are not under a belief that the driver is ‘impaired’, rather they are under the suspicion that the driver has consumed alcohol. If the driver fails the approved screening device (which is calibrated to fail at 100 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood), then the officer has grounds to arrest the driver and take them back to the station to provide further samples of their breath into a breathalyzer. Once at the station, the arrested party will be required to provide two samples of their breath into a breathalyzer. If both of these samples show that the accused party’s ‘blood alcohol concentration’ (B.A.C) was over 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, then the charge of ‘driving with excess blood alcohol/over 80’ will be laid.
What happens if I ‘refuse’ to provide a breath sample?
Refusing to provide a breath sample, either for the roadside screening device or the breathalyzer at the police station is a criminal offence in and of itself. The consequences of a conviction for this charge are essentially the same as those for a conviction for ‘impaired driving’ or ‘driving over 80’, namely, a criminal conviction, driving prohibition, license suspension and the same insurance consequences.
The Penalties for Impaired Driving/Driving ‘Over 80’ as per the Criminal Code of Canada:
The specific penalties under the Criminal Code are as follows:
255. (1) Every one who commits an offence under section 253 or 254 is guilty of an indictable offence or an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable
(a) whether the offence is prosecuted by indictment or punishable on summary conviction, to the following minimum punishment, namely,
(i) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000,
(ii) for a second offence, to imprisonment for not less than 30 days, and
(iii) for each subsequent offence, to imprisonment for not less than 120 days;
(b) where the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and
(c) if the offence is punishable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months.
259. (1) When an offender is convicted of an offence committed under section 253 […] the court that sentences the offender shall, in addition to any other punishment that may be imposed for that offence, make an order prohibiting the offender from operating a motor vehicle on any street, road, highway or other public place, or from operating a vessel or an aircraft or railway equipment, as the case may be,
(a) for a first offence, during a period of not more than three years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, and not less than one year;
(b) for a second offence, during a period of not more than five years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment, and not less than two years; and
(c) for each subsequent offence, during a period of not less than three years plus any period to which the offender is sentenced to imprisonment.
Why should you hire Passi & Patel for impaired driving offences?
It is important to note that impaired driving is a very technical and complicated area of law that requires in-depth knowledge and experience. Every case is different and has its own subtleties and nuances. Here at Passi & Patel, our Brampton criminal lawyers understand that the consequences of a drinking and driving charge will have a significant impact on a person’s ability to work, travel and gain meaningful employment. If you are facing a drinking and driving related charge and are in need of experienced representation, call Passi & Patel at 905-459-0004 and let our Brampton criminal lawyers get to work for you.