With the holiday’s right around the corner, it often means plenty of holiday and New Year’s parties to attend. This time of year is by far one of the busiest for police agencies, not only in Ottawa, but throughout Ontario, to ensure impaired and drunk drivers are kept off the roads. To avoid potentially be charged with a DUI offence this holiday season, take the time to review the following tips and suggestions.

  1. Use a designated driver. Before arriving at any holiday party, come to a consensus within your group as to who will be the designated driver and not drink. Give the keys to the vehicle to the designated driver.
  2. Do not drink. If you do not have a designated driver and are attending a holiday party by yourself, do not drink. It is not worth taking the risk of getting stopped and the expenses associated with a drinking and driving offence, just to have a few drinks at a holiday party.
  3. Use public transportation. If public transportation is going to be running late into the evening on the night of the party, take the bus or train to and from the event.
  4. Use a taxi or personal limo service. If everyone in your group is planning on drinking, split the costs of hiring a taxi or personal limo service to be your designated driver.
  5. Make arrangements with the party hosts to stay the evening. Another alternative is to make arrangements with the party hosts to spend the night at their home and drive home the next day, after you have sobered up and it is safe for you to drive.
  6. Get a hotel room. If the party is being held near a hotel, book a room for the night so you can fully enjoy yourself and not worry about driving home afterwards.
  7. Never get into a parked vehicle with the keys while intoxicated. If you decide you want to wait for your friends in the vehicle, but are intoxicated, have the designated drive let you into the vehicle. If the police find you in the car, with the keys in your possession, regardless of whether the engine is running, you could be charged with a special drinking and driving offence called “Care and Control,” that carries the same penalties as an Impaired or Over 80 offence.

In the event you are stopped and charged with a drinking and driving offence, you are required to submit a sample, by law. If you refuse, you can be charged with failing to provide a sample. It is important to remember you have the right to remain silent and do not have to answer any questions the police ask you, after being arrested. In addition, you need to contact a criminal defence lawyer in Ottawa as soon as possible.

There are several possible defences to drinking and driving charges that may apply, depending upon the circumstances in your particular case. The above content should only be used for informational purposes and not considered actual legal advice. To schedule a free consultation appointment and case evaluation, please feel free to contact Abergel, Goldstein & Partners LLP now at 613-235-9779.

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