Drunk Driving

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in impaired driving charges.

This charge is one of the most common criminal charges, and can affect people from all walks of life. We have represented everyone from doctors and lawyers to professional drivers and bartenders. While impaired driving is a criminal charge, being charged does not make you a criminal. Mistakes happen. Understanding this and limiting the repercussions to you is an important aspect to us acting as your advocate.

The effect of a charge and potential conviction go beyond what happens in court. A criminal record that can limit employment or travel, increased insurance premiums and provincial legislation that can result in lengthy licence suspensions and increased expense are some of the consequences of a conviction. Even being charged can be embarrassing and place a strain on personal relationships. We get this, and strive to take the pressure off you as much as possible.

The Law

Any degree of impairment can result in a criminal conviction.

It doesn't take much evidence for some judges to convict an individual for driving while impaired. The political and public focus on impaired driving in recent years has resulted in a guilty until proven innocent mentality that can make these offences difficult to defend.

The first step is to remind the court that drinking (or consuming any amount of a drug) and then operating a motor vehicle is not illegal. What is required is proof of impairment of the ability to operate a motor vehicle, not simply proof of impairment of any degree.

The presumption of innocence requires the court to look at the totality of the evidence, not simply the evidence that supports a finding of impairment. A person may be a poor driver with nothing consumed; this doesn't mean they are impaired if they have consumed any amount of an alcohol or drug. We try to focus the court's attention on where there is no evidence of impairment, such as with balance or speech. All we have to create is a reasonable doubt as to impairment in the ability to operate a motor vehicle for a court to find you not guilty.

If an accident occurred with any degree of bodily harm, a jail sentence is certain if convicted. There are steps that can be taken to minimize the impact, negotiate with the prosecution, and prepare to dispute the charge. Speaking to someone quickly to properly prepare from the start is an important first step.

What It Means For You

A charge will result in an immediate licence suspension. An appeal of this suspension is restricted to 30 days.

A conviction means a minimum punishment of a $1000 fine and a 1 year driving suspension. Prior convictions will increase the punishment, and usually involve a jail sentence.

Other potential consequences include:

  • loss of employment, restriction on future employment;
  • restriction on the ability to travel;
  • increased insurance premiums;
  • required interlock participation;
  • mandatory driver education programs;
  • longer provincial licence suspensions;
  • Criminal Record;

The consequences for a charge or conviction go beyond what happens in court. Make sure you understand all consequences and are in a position to make an informed decision on how to proceed.

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