Impaired driving refers to the operation or care or control of a motor vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol or drugs, and it is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. In Ontario, a first conviction on an impaired driving charge, driving with Excess Alcohol (“Over 80”), or a Refuse Breath test charge will automatically result in the loss of your driver’s license for one year (subject to Stream A or B of the Interlock program) and a minimum fine of $1000, and can in certain circumstances result in prison time. To obtain the return of one’s licence, the Interlock program and a counseling program (“Back on Track”) are required to be completed. On a second or subsequent conviction, there are minimum jail sentences and lengthy driving prohibitions. In either case, insurance premiums skyrocket.
Impaired driving charges can arise out of not only alcohol use, but the use of any substance that may affect the way you drive, including illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter drugs.
Ontario leads the way in Canada and North America with some of the toughest impaired driving laws and programs on the books. Licensed drivers will face immediate roadside suspensions of 90 days for registering a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more or for refusal to take a breath test. Your vehicle doesn’t even have to be moving in order to be charged; for example, just sitting behind the wheel while impaired can often be enough to warrant conviction.
Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding 0.08, or who fail to comply with breath testing, face an immediate seven-day vehicle impoundment at the roadside. This impoundment may also apply to drivers who get behind the wheel of a vehicle without an ignition interlock device in violation of any such condition on their licence. Seven-day impoundments may not be appealed.
The repercussions of an impaired driving conviction can be far-reaching. In addition to the possible fines and other penalties, losing your license can affect your job and your family, and a criminal record can damage your future employment and educational opportunities as well as your reputation.
The laws governing impaired driving crimes in Canada are complex, as are the potential defences available to a person charged with these offences. Indeed the complexities involved in an impaired driving prosecution are such that perhaps more than any other offence in the Criminal Code it is critical that you retain a skilled criminal lawyer with experience in the impaired driving subfield who can look at the specific facts of your case and help you determine the best possible defence for you. At Cugelman & Eisen, we fight drinking and driving charges on a regular basis and have an impressive track record of acquittals for our clients. You don’t need to face an impaired driving charge alone; talk to an experienced defence lawyer today to learn more about your rights and your options.
The certified specialists in criminal law at Cugelman & Eisen have more than 60 years of combined experience in criminal defence, having prepared and argued cases successfully at all levels of the Ontario court system. They have built their practice on hard work, clear communication with clients, and an unwavering dedication to excellence in the field of criminal defence; today, Cugelman & Eisen is one of the most highly regarded law firms in the Barrie area. They provide exceptional criminal defence in all types of cases, including homicide, impaired driving, domestic and sexual assault, property offences, youth offences and more. Bernard Cugelman and Mitchell Eisen stay abreast of the latest developments in Canadian criminal law, which allows them to provide the most effective defence for every client. They can assist you through every phase of your criminal case, from police investigations, bail, and pre-trial hearings to trials, plea negotiations, and appeals. The law offices of Cugelman & Eisen are located at 89 Collier St. Suite 100, Barrie, Ontario L4M 1H2. Call them at (705) 721-1888 to discuss your case.
The materials provided on this site are for information purposes only. These materials constitute general information relating to areas of law familiar to our firm lawyers. They do NOT constitute legal advice or other professional advice and you may not rely on the contents of this website as such.