Impaired Driving Offences
Impaired driving is a common offence that involves a complex and highly technical area of law, especially in Ontario. This is because in Ontario impaired driving charges can be laid under either (or both) the Ontario Motor Vehicle Act (OMVA) or the Criminal Code, including:
- 12-hour Roadside Suspensions
- 24-hour Roadside Prohibitions
- 3-day Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRPs)
- 7-day IRPs
- 30-day IRPs
- 90-day IRPs
- 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibtions (ADPs)
Criminal Code Offences
- “Impaired” (aka “DUI”)
- “Over 80” (aka “DUI”)
These offences can be explained in more detail as follows.
If police have reasonable grounds to believe that your driving ability is affected by alcohol they can pull you over and suspend you from driving at the roadside for up to 24 hours under the MVA. Police may also demand that you provide a sample of your breath into an Approved Screening Device (ASD) to measure your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Depending on the results of your breath sample, you may be subject to impaired-driving charges under the MVA, the Criminal Code or both.
If the ASD measures your BAC as between more than 0.05mg/100mL and 0.08mg/100mL (a “Warn”), you may be subject to the following Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRPs) under the MVA:
- 3-day IRP if it is your first time being caught in the Warn range;
- 7-day IRP if it is your second time being caught in the Warn range within five years; or
- 30-day IRP if it is the third time being caught in the Warn range within five years.
If the ASD measures your BAC as 0.08mg/100mL or more (a “Fail”) or if you refuse to provide a sample of your breath, the police may seize your driver’s license, issue you a:
- 90-day IRP/ADP and you may also be charged criminally under the Criminal Code for impaired driving.
These prohibitions and suspensions carry various consequences that may negatively impact your life including vehicle towing and impoundment, review of your driving record by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, increased insurance rates, referral to expensive and time-consuming provincial remedial driving programs, fines, and the suspension of your license and revocation of your driving privileges for potentially devastating periods of time.
You have the right to request a review of your IRP, however you MUST do so within seven days from the date you received your prohibition. The review process is complex and the grounds upon which your review can be considered are specific and limited. As such, you are well-advised to contact Mr. Beckett immediately and request his assistance in navigating the review process to maximize your chances for success.
Under the Criminal Code, the police can charge you with the following impaired-driving related offences, depending on the circumstances:
- “Impaired” (or “DUI”)—Involves operating or having care or control of a motor vehicle (whether it is in motion or not) while your ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug.
- “Over 80” (or “DUI”)—Involves operating or having care or control of a motor vehicle (whether it is in motion or not) after having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration of alcohol in your blood exceeds 80mg/100mL of blood.
- “Refusal”—Involves willfully refusing to comply with a peace officer’s demand for an ASD breath sample or breath test.
If you are convicted of an Impaired, Over 80, or Refusal you will be subject to:
- Upon your first conviction, a criminal record, a minimum $1,000 fine and a 1-3 year driving prohibition.
- Upon your second conviction, a criminal record, a minimum 30 days imprisonment and a 2-5 year driving prohibition.
- Upon your third conviction, a criminal record minimum 120 days imprisonment and a minimum 3-year-to-lifetime driving prohibition.
Clearly, whether they are brought under the MVA or the Criminal Code impaired driving charges are serious and should be addressed by a lawyer as soon as you become aware of the fact that you have been charged or are under investigation. While the outcome of your impaired driving charge will depend on the circumstances of your case, these charges can result in the loss of your privilege to drive from 12-hours to life, and may even result in a criminal record, which can negatively impact many areas of your life including your reputation, your ability to maintain or obtain employment, and your ability to travel to other countries like the United States. In addition, a conviction for these offences may carry other penalties, including a potentially lengthy term of imprisonment.
Now is not the time to delay! Your reputation, future, and freedom and ability to continue driving are too important. In all cases, you are well advised to immediately speak with Mr. Beckett so he can evaluate your case, get your side of the story, and relentlessly defend you against your charges.