In Canada, there is no specific crime of driving under the influence, or “DUI,” but there are several offences related to driving while intoxicated, or after having consumed alcohol or drugs.
These offences are all serious, and they bring with them serious consequences. The financial costs alone are considerable. So-called “drunk driving offences” carry a mandatory driving prohibition, which means incurring the cost of securing other ways of getting around, often for a year or more. Also, following a conviction, the cost of obtaining insurance will often skyrocket, and you will be required to install an alcohol interlock device in your car—at your own expense—for a considerable period of time. The total costs from losing your license, and the increased costs of regaining it, often amounts tens of thousands of dollars. In addition, a conviction for one of these offences will typically invalidate your insurance, which means you could be personally liable if a person was injured or property was damaged (including your own vehicle) in the course of the offence.
In addition to these financial costs, impaired driving offences carry all the usual risks that flow from a criminal conviction: the potential for a jail sentence, loss of employment prospects, and an inability to travel internationally.
If you have been charged with a drinking-and-driving or drug-impaired driving offence in Ottawa or eastern Ontario, the experienced drinking and driving lawyers at Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP can help.
DRINKING AND DRIVING TERMINOLOGY
Driving Over 80
This criminal offence is committed where the blood-alcohol concentration in the defendant’s body exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. It is sometimes referred to as “Over 80” or “Over .08.” The blood-alcohol level is determined from a sample obtained by the police after being stopped, usually through a breath sample.
Impaired driving is an offence that is committed when a person’s ability to drive is impaired to any degree by alcohol or drugs.
“Care and Control”
Most people are unaware that they do not need to be driving a motor vehicle to be charged with a drinking-and-driving offence. If a person is in “care and control” of a vehicle—for example, if the person is sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that is parked, with easy access to the keys—they can be convicted of a DUI offence.
Refusal to Provide a Sample
The police often have the right to demand a breath sample if they have grounds to believe that a suspect is impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Refusing to provide the sample carries the same penalties as being convicted of driving “over 80” or impaired driving.
Defending DUI Offences
There are numerous defences to DUI criminal charges. If you are facing a DUI charge, the lawyers at Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP will carefully examine the circumstances of your case, and the evidence the police and Crown have against you, to build a strong defence to the charges.