Impaired driving is the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs, and it is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. The repercussions of an impaired driving conviction can be far-reaching. In addition to the possible fines and other penalties, losing your license can affect your job and your family, and a criminal record can damage your future employment and educational opportunities as well as your reputation.
The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in excess of 0.08 (translated as 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood). For young or novice drivers, all provinces have adopted zero BAC limits. Impaired driving charges can arise out of not only alcohol use, but the use of any substance that may affect the way you drive, including illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter drugs. In fact, your vehicle doesn’t even have to be moving in order to be charged with impaired driving; just sitting behind the wheel while impaired can often be enough to warrant conviction.
Impaired driving charges carry mandatory minimum penalties upon conviction, and repeat offenders face increasingly harsh consequences. In Ontario, a first conviction on an impaired driving charge or driving with Excess Alcohol (“Over 80”) will automatically result in the loss of your driver’s license for one year and a minimum fine of $1000, with the possibility of prison time as well. Also, an ignition interlock program and a counseling program (“Back on Track”) are required to be completed before your licence can be returned. On a second or subsequent conviction, there are minimum jail sentences and lengthy driving prohibitions. If your impaired driving results in the injury or death of another person, you can receive even stiffer punishment.
Police can demand a breath or blood sample from you as long as they have reasonable grounds (otherwise known as probable cause) to believe you are impaired. Failure or refusal to provide such a sample upon request carries the same charges and penalties as driving with a BAC in excess of the legal limit. Additionally, if you refuse to take a breath test or fail the test when administered by registering a BAC of 0.08 or more, your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days.
The laws governing impaired driving crimes in Canada can be complex and the consequences, from higher insurance premiums to extended jail time, can be extremely serious. Experienced criminal defence lawyer Mitch Engel can advise you about the charges against you and your rights under the law, and can look for the best possible approach to your defence (whether that means challenging law enforcement actions or test results, negotiating for a plea bargain, or fighting for your acquittal before a judge). Mitch fights drinking and driving charges on a regular basis and has an impressive track record of acquittals for his clients. You don’t need to face an impaired driving charge alone; talk to experienced defence lawyer Mitch Engel to learn more about your rights and your options.
Since 1996, the law firm of Mitch Engel, Barrister & Solicitor has been providing clients throughout the Oshawa, Brampton, and Mississauga areas with top-level criminal defence representation. Mitch focuses exclusively on criminal law and his extensive experience has given him excellent insight and strategic instincts about how to prepare and present the best possible defence in each unique case. His commitment to integrity, his passion and professionalism, and his excellent track record have earned him the respect of clients, colleagues, and courts throughout the Toronto area. A strong and zealous advocate, Mitch Engel stays available to his clients 24/7 and works on a block fee basis, meaning that his clients pay an initial retainer, which is then applied toward a fee for his services. He understands that his clients are making an investment in him, and works tirelessly to earn that trust and provide the advice and guidance they need. Call Mitch at (866) 761-7077 to get the legal advice you need to reclaim your life.