Impaired Driving

In Canada, Impaired Driving is considered a criminal offence and carries significant penalties that could have a profound effect on a person's life. You do not have to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08 to be considered impaired. An impaired driving charge will be laid if there is observable behaviour on the part of the driver that leads the officer to believe that the driver is impaired.

If you are charged with Impaired Driving, you will immediately receive a $180 fine, 90-day licence suspension and immediate 7-day vehicle impoundment.

Impaired Driving is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. It criminalizes the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to the Criminal Code offence and penalties if convicted, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act decrees additional punishments, such as increases in fines, possible jail time and driver's licence suspensions. Licence suspension varies from 1 year for a first offence to potentially, permanent suspension for a third offence; these penalties may be reduced with the installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender's vehicle.

Unlike many other criminal offences, impaired driving sets out minimum punishments upon conviction. A person convicted of impaired driving will always suffer a criminal conviction (creating a criminal record in the case of a first offence), a driving prohibition and a fine or jail. Parliament has repeatedly by setting out these minimum punishments expressed how seriously the offence of impaired driving is taken by those who create the laws in our country. Those convicted of impaired driving for the first time will have a $1000 fine imposed; but this may be increased dependent on the conduct of the driver, the nature of the driving alleged, and any other circumstances the court view as aggravating. For a second conviction for impaired driving or related offences a minimum jail sentence will be imposed if sought by the prosecutor. Jail sentences increase with each subsequent conviction; 30 days for a second conviction and 120 days for 3 or more convictions.

The penalties set out above are significant as are the potential impacts on your life. An impaired driving conviction will result in a record which may impact employment opportunities and your ability to travel. You will lose your licence as well which may affect your ability to work.

It is critically important that anyone accused of impaired driving consults with an experience criminal lawyer who understands the intricacies of defending someone facing this charge or other related charges.

At the law office of Ted Yoannou, we have a team of experienced criminal defence lawyers who can assist anyone facing a charge of impaired driving. We will assist you at each stage of your defence negotiating with prosecutors, conducting pre-trials with Judges and ultimately defending your interests at trial. We would like to speak with you to get an overview of your individual situation and determine your chances of winning your case or having the charges against you dismissed entirely.

When you consult with our firm, there are a number of questions that need to be answered and which will provide a framework for your defence. Take a few moments with pen and paper in hand and try and recall as much as possible about your arrest. Here is an outline to help form these notes:

  1. What recollection do you have of what you drank?
    It is good to remember exactly what you had to drink and where you drank it. Put your mind to potential witnesses to your alcohol consumption throughout the evening particularly any alcohol you may have consumed immediately before driving. If you have any evidence which supports this consumption such as receipts this will provide tangible evidence to support your recollection. This is especially importance in instances where you are clear that you were not impaired and had very little to consume.
  2. Are there any witnesses that could testify as to when you ate and drank prior to your impaired driving arrest?
    The sworn testimony of one or more individuals as to your eating and drinking behaviour at specific locations may be an important part of your defence.
  3. What did the police do after you were stopped?
    Police are required to adhere to certain protocol and procedures when arresting an individual. Impaired driving and similar offences provides for a very specific set of police procedures and practices where the conduct of the police and its reasonableness is assessed at each stage of their interaction with you. If you can document everything you remember about the arrest, particularly any conduct you thought was unusual, this can assist our lawyers in developing a defence.
  4. Were you with anyone else in the car that witnessed the police procedures?
    Having an eyewitness to testify as to the police's potential mishandling of your arrest or failure to follow proper procedures can be important in fighting your Impaired Driving charge.
  5. When were you given the chance to speak with a lawyer? At what point was this right provided and did you have the opportunity to have a conversation with a lawyer of your choice?
    When confronted by the police you have the right to remain silent, beyond the provision of basic driver documents and information. The police have a duty to provide you with a right to contact a lawyer and the information required to make a decision about the implementation of that right. If you felt threatened or pressured by the police after exerting your right to remain silent it is important that you note this information and let us know in our initial consultation. This may further us in preparing a defence.
  6. Do you have a pre-existing medical condition that could have caused you to fail the field sobriety test or lead to behaviours that the police may have mistaken as indications that you were impaired?

These questions are just some of the relevant details which will assist us in developing your Impaired Driving defence. The better and more complete your answers, the more information we will have to go to court to fight your case or to have it dismissed before a trial. Give the criminal law firm of Ted Yoannou a call today so that we can put our expertise to work on your case as soon as possible.

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