If you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Ontario, you will be subject to some of the strictest laws in North America. Ontario is proud of its initiatives to reduce driving inconvenience. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, Ontario reported the lowest number of drink-driving drivers in the country and reported the absolute lowest number of drink-driving drivers in all provinces. Although Ontario’s method effectively achieves these goals, finding yourself wrong can be scary and life-changing.
Many charged with impaired driving in Ontario, as in all other provinces, face penalties under the Criminal Code of Canada. The penalties for driving while intoxicated are severe under the Criminal Code. If charged with impaired driving, you can face one or more of the following penalties:
- lose your license;
- have your vehicle impounded;
- need to pay an administrative fine;
- need to attend an education or treatment program;
- be fined upon conviction;
- be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle;
- spend time in jail; or
- end up with a criminal record
What comprises “impaired”?
To adequately protect yourself from an impaired driving charge, it is vital to understand what this means. Impaired driving describes two various charges under section 253(1)(a) and 253(1)(b) of the Criminal Law. Article 253(1)(a) prohibits the operation of vehicles, boats, airplanes, or railway equipment damaged by alcohol or drugs, while 253(1)(b) criminalizes the alcohol concentration in 100 ml of blood exceeding 80 mg. Article 253(2) of the Code states that for 253(1)(a), the injured include alcohol or drugs or both. While over 80 is indicated by a scientific test, impaired on its own may be identified by physical monitoring of factors not restricted to guiding, unsteadiness, bloodshot or glossy eyes, or slurred speech.
It’s critical to comprehend how the degree of intoxication is measured and the variables that can influence it. The calculation of alcohol levels in your blood, known as blood alcohol concentration or BAC, is used to assess your level of intoxication. A blood test or a breathalyzer is used to determine BAC, with the latter being the most common. Many different individual factors can influence BAC. Sex, weight, the amount of food you ate recently, and how quickly you drank are all factors to consider. A 230lb man may not be affected by one drink, but a 115lb woman may be. As a result, the notion that “one drink and I’m good to drive” isn’t always true.
As previously stated, according to the Criminal Code, the permissible BAC limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or 0.08. Anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, or higher is guilty of a criminal offense. Following Ontario’s stricter laws, the province has imposed rules covering the BAC range of 0.05 to 0.08, also known as the “alert range.” If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) within the legal limit, you can face provincial penalties. This entails a 3-day roadside license suspension and a $198 administrative monetary penalty for a first offense.
The Zero BAC rule is also in effect in Ontario. This legislation refers to beginner drivers who hold a license that is less than a complete G or M license and any driver under the age of 21. Simply put, you cannot drink and drive if you fall into any of these categories. A violation of this law would result in a 24-hour license suspension on the spot. A conviction will result in a 30-day license suspension and a fine of $60 to $500. A new driver’s license could be revoked, forcing them to retake all of their driving tests.
What happens if you are charged with impaired driving?
The Criminal Code imposes varying penalties based on the seriousness of your impaired driving offense, as outlined above. For an impaired driving charge, you can count on a license suspension at the roadside. You’ll almost certainly be required to undergo mandatory education or recovery services, and it may also be necessary to have an ignition interlock system installed in your car. Whenever the vehicle is started, an ignition interlock device allows the driver to pass a breathalyzer test. The option to install a breathalyzer machine is only available to first-time offenders as part of the Ignition Interlock Conduct Review Program, which is intended to get people back on the road in a shorter amount of time.
Should you hire a Toronto impaired driving lawyer and deal with the charge?
It is in your best interest to seek legal advice if you have been charged with impaired driving. Cases that are impaired are one-of-a-kind. Not only are the situations, but also the defenses, extremely technical. It is essential to have legal counsel who is familiar with possible defenses and applicable case law. You could be giving up different legal defenses if you plead guilty without consulting a lawyer.
The Highway Traffic Act also has clauses that immediately revoke driving privileges after a conviction, and in some cases, the suspension is longer than the criminal code prohibition. An impaired driving lawyer will go through these implications with you and justify them to you.
Technical knowledge is called for to assess the various types of breathalyzer devices used. The machines used to collect samples on the side of the road and those used in police stations are not the same. Each of these devices should be adjusted correctly and have detailed diagnostics run to guarantee they are operating. Understanding how to request the correct information and interpret it is difficult, and your lawyer will need to hire a toxicologist.
A lawyer will assist you in recognizing the case, raising your chances of reducing the charge, preventing a criminal record, and getting your back driving faster than if you were self-represented. The easiest way to ensure the best possible outcome is to have a professional impaired driving lawyer represent you. Impaired cases are winnable depending on the facts and with the right lawyer. Unreasonable delays, Charter rights violations, and calibration problems with roadside devices may result in charges being reduced or dismissed. Impaired driving offenses may also be settled in exchange for pleas to Highway Traffic Act offenses like reckless driving, resulting in far less severe penalties.
Impaired driving is a crime that is taken seriously by Ontario. Impaired driving beliefs can have devastating consequences in your life. Not only does it affect foreseeable factors (such as your ability to commute to and from work in your vehicle), it also affects other aspects of your life (such as traveling to other countries/regions). If charged with driving inconvenience, contact an impaired driving lawyer in Toronto as soon as possible to provide yourself with the best opportunity to defend.
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