Impaired Driving Lawyer Winnipeg

What is impaired driving?

Impaired Driving

Impaired Driving is a term used to covers a range of offences: Driving While Impaired by Drug or Alcohol, Driving With Blood Alcohol Concentration Over .08 (also known as Driving Over, Over .08 or Over .80), Failure or Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample, Care and Control While Impaired, and Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death. Common to all these offences, the driver or operator of the motor vehicle is impaired either by alcohol, drugs or both to a point where he or she is incapable of controlling the motor vehicle safely.

“While in Canada we refer to these offence as Impaired Driving, it is referred to differently in other places around the world, including: Driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired/driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating while intoxicated (OWI) and drink-driving.”

Each year in Winnipeg approximately 1500 people are charged with an impaired driving offence. Being charged and being convicted are two different things. Impaired driving charges are among the most technical and complex criminal cases to defend. A thorough and careful assessment of the evidence against the accused must be conducted in order to determine available defences. If the police fail to properly conduct their roadside stop, their may be remedies under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I have successfully defended many impaired driving cases by challenging the observations and conduct of the arresting police officer during his interactions with the accused.

What is an Impaired Driving Charge?

This charge is one of the many ways the Crown can prove that due to alcohol or drugs you were not fit to operate a motor vehicle. For the Crown to be successful in their prosecution, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements of the offence:

  • That you operated or had the care or control of, a motor vehicle
  • That there was any amount of impairment of your ability to drive at the time
  • That your impairment was by alcohol or drug
  • That the alcohol or drug was voluntarily consumed

Evidence of the Offence

When considering proof of impairment, the court will consider all the circumstances in their totality. While not an exhaustive list, a Judge will frequently consider:

  • Nature of your driving (erratic or abnormal driving?)
  • Your physical appearance (glossy, blood-shot or watery eyes? flushed face?
  • Your breather (odour of alcoholic beverage?)
  • You manner of speech (slurred speech?)
  • Your judgement (deterioration of judgement, attention, or comprehension? Inappropriate or abusive behaviour? Diminished sensory perception?)
  • Your motor control and eye-hand coordination (difficulty retrieving diver’s licence and registration? Difficulty walking? Staggering or falling?)
  • You reaction time (delayed reactions?)


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.

A bloodshot, glossy-eyed, deliberate and slow moving person smelling strongly of alcohol with slurred speech whose coordination and driving are just fine may not meet the Crown’s burden to prove the offence. There would be clear evidence of alcohol consumption, but no evidence of impaired driving skills. On the other hand, an erratic-driving, clear-eyed person with no slurred speech but who smelled of alcohol may meet the Crown’s burden to prove the offence. There would some evidence of alcohol consumption and clear evidence of impairment of driving skills.

Defending Impaired Driving Charges

In assessing and preparing your defence, I will conduct a thorough and methodological analysis of your case. Though not exhaustive, I will consider:

  • If my client made an admission that he or she was impaired?
  • Were the police compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
  • If the police evidence contains reference to an erratic or abnormal pattern of driving?
  • Can this pattern of driving be explained as being within the driving behaviour of a sober driver?
  • Can my client’s physical symptoms be explained from some other condition rather than alcohol or drug consumption? Allegories? Fatigue? Medical condition?


Due to the complex nature of impaired driving offence and the serious consequences of a conviction, it is important to contact me as soon as possible so I may begin to prepare your defence.

Related Impaired Driving Topics

  1. When can the police pull me over?
  2. What is the Licence Suspension Appeal Board?
  3. How much is the true cost of an impaired driving conviction?
  4. Impaired Driving Penalties in Canada

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