WHAT IS CONSIDERED IMPAIRED DRIVING?

What is Impaired Driving

This charge is found under section 253(1)(a) of the Criminal Code which reads the following:

253(1) Everyone commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

  1. while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug;

It also clarifies under section 253(2) that it does include a combination of alcohol and a drug as well.

The Crown’s case will typically have witnesses that will provide will-say statements and testify as to the various physical symptoms and bad driving demonstrated by the accused. This may include weaving and swerving, a motor vehicle accident, odour of alcohol, blood shot eyes, balance problems, slurred speech and so forth.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IMPAIRED DRIVING AND OVER 80

The difference between an Impaired Charge and an Over 80 charge is that one may be impaired but not blow over the legal limit. For instance, the individual may have a very low tolerance for alcohol which causes them to blow under after a couple drinks, but still be impaired while driving. Impaired Driving is a completely separate charge from an Over 80 and really has nothing to do with the actual reading on the intoxilyzer. Additionally, an accused may be charged with Impaired Driving while under the influence of drug.

HOW TO BEAT AN IMPAIRED DRIVING CHARGE

If you are charged with impaired driving in Ontario, you need to convince a judge that there is a ‘reasonable doubt’ that you were impaired. The onus is on the prosecutor to prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.

The arguments available to the criminal defense lawyer are manifold. It may be argued that the driving of the accused is within the range of a driving behavior of someone whom is sober. It may be that the accused suffered a concussion from an accident and therefore has slurred speech and symptoms similar to that of someone impaired.

It is important as defense lawyers to scrutinize the Crown’s case and vigorously cross-examine Crown witnesses such as police officers or bystanders. The accused may also call their own witnesses that will testify that the accused was sober.

SPEAK TO A LAWYER RIGHT AWAY

It is critical to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. With Impaired Driving charges there may be a strong defense, but if the wrong information is relayed to the police or you don’t know your rights, it may be detrimental to the final outcome of your case. The lawyers at Bernstein Law Group have defended countless Impaired charges successfully and will be happy to provide a free consultation if you are charged with Impaired Driving or Over 80.

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