Have you found yourself charged with impaired driving or are worried about being stopped on the road?
If you or someone you know has been charged with impaired driving, it is important to know what falls under the definition and what the consequences are.
Sections 320.14-320.18 of the Canadian Criminal Code define a number of instances related to impaired driving and the consequences. Impaired driving is defined as having consumed alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, and having your ability to drive any motor vehicle affected to any degree by alcohol or drugs.
Some basic transportation offences related to impaired driving include:
- Driving while exceeding the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit: Over 80
- Driving while intoxicated by alcohol of drugs
- Driving while exceeding the legal blood-drug concentration (BDC) limit
- Dangerous operation of a conveyance (any motor vehicle)
FAQ: What are the penalties for impaired driving?
A: The penalties vary depending on the circumstances. The minimum punishment would be a fine of $1000, and the maximum punishment for the third or subsequent offences could be up to 10 years imprisonment. You can also be fined for refusing to comply with a demand for a breath sample. There are also higher penalties for impaired driving causing bodily harm or death.
FAQ: Can a police officer ask for a breathalyzer test?
A: Yes. If the police officer is under reasonable suspicion that you had alcohol in your body while operating a motor vehicle. These suspicions can include if you admitted to consuming alcohol, have the smell of alcohol from your breath, or any other indicators, you may be required to provide a breath sample.
FAQ: If a police officer asks for a breathalyzer test after driving, do. I still have to?
A: Yes. A police officer can require you to give a breath sample for up to two hours after you drove. In most cases, this only happens if you were involved in an accident and are questioned by the police at a later point in time at home or somewhere else. However, if you consumed alcohol after driving and had no reasonable expectation to drive or provide a breath sample afterwards, you may use this as a defence.
FAQ: If I don’t exceed the blood-drug limit, can I still be charged with impaired driving?
A: Yes. Even if little alcohol was consumed, you can still be charged if your ability to drive was affected to any degree. You can also be charged with other offences, such as dangerous driving, criminal negligence, amongst others.
Having a criminal defence lawyer by your side greatly increases your chances of lessening the charges laid against you or someone you know. The first step to any impaired driving charge is to contact a lawyer and give them your side of the story, and they can guide you through the process of protecting you.