Joshua has helped numerous individuals charged with “impaired driving,” “over 80,″ and “failing or refusing to provide a breath sample.” Impaired driving charges are among the most complex criminal cases to defend. A thorough and careful assessment of the evidence against the accused must be conducted in order to determine the best possible defence strategy. Often Charter arguments will be required for a successful defense. Joshua has won many impaired driving cases by challenging the observations and conduct of the arresting peace officer during his interactions with the accused.
1.) Impaired Driving
For a Crown Attorney to establish an impaired driving charge, the Crown Attorney must prove that the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol or drug. The offence can be made out by proof of any impairment ranging from slight to great. Impairment is objectively determined from the evidence of the driver’s pattern of driving and their conduct. Evidence of erratic driving, weaving, and drifting into other lanes may be used to support an inference of impaired driving. Signs of impairment that tend to show the driver is impaired may also be used to support an inference of impaired driving, including: an odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from the driver’s breath, lack of comprehension, slurred speech, bloodshot or watery eyes, dilated pupils, and a lack of coordination.
2.) Driving Over 80
In order to establish an “over 80″ charge, the Crown Attorney must prove only that the driver had a concentration of alcohol in their blood exceeding 80 milligrams of alcohol in one hundred milliliters of blood. The Crown Attorney does not need to prove impairment of any kind. Blood alcohol concentration may be determined by either an analysis of a breath or blood sample.
3.) Failure or Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample
When a driver fails or refuses to provide a breather sample, to either a roadside screening device or an approved breathalyzer machine, the driver may be charged with “refusal”. The consequences of a conviction on this charge are basically the same as those for a conviction on impaired driving or over 80: a criminal conviction, driving prohibition, license suspension and the possible insurance consequences.
The Criminal Code provides mandatory minimum sentences for impaired driving offences. The minimum can vary depending on your record for similar offences. The mandatory minimum sentence for a first offences is a $1000.00 fine and a one (1) year driving prohibition. A subsequent impaired driving conviction carries minimum jail penalties beginning with 30 days in jail for a second conviction, and 120 days of jail for a third or subsequent conviction. There have been cases in Manitoba where a person with no record was sentenced to jail for driving while impaired. For a more detailed examination of the consequences and costs of an impaired driving conviction, please read “The Cost of an Impaired Driving Conviction.”
Due to the complex nature of impaired driving offence and the serious consequences of a conviction, it is important to get assistance from a lawyer in order to identify possible defenses.
If you or a loved one has been charged with impaired driving, contact Joshua today for a Free Consultation.
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