Types of DUI Charges
Driving under the influence can result in one or more of the following three charges:
- Impaired driving or impaired care and control
- This charge references an individual’s impairment by alcohol or drugs during the time they were operating a motor vehicle or during that time that they were in care and control of the vehicle.
- Proof of impairment may be established by evidence regarding: coordination and motor skills, reaction time, balance, comprehension, judgment, and other factors.
- It is possible for an individual to be found as having care and control of a vehicle when not behind the wheel. Care and control of a vehicle may be established based on factors such as: the intention of the accused to operate the vehicle, the likelihood of the vehicle accidentally being set in motion, where in the vehicle the accused is located, the location of the keys, and the accused’s plans for alternative transportation, if any.
- Driving or care and control while over 80
- This charge refers to the act of driving or being in care and control of a motor vehicle while their blood-alcohol level is over 0.08%, which means more than 80mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood.
- The level of alcohol in an individual’s blood is determined through analysis of either blood or breath samples.
- Refusing or failing to provide a breath sample
- This charge refers to the refusal of an individual to provide a breath sample when given a valid demand by police to provide a useable sample.
- Because it is not an offense to refuse or fail to comply with an invalid demand for a breath sample, criminal defence lawyers will look at the validity of the demand, and whether the accused actually refused the demand in a final and unequivocal manner.
Roadside Sobriety Tests By Police
Pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act, police are allowed to 1) set up checkpoints for the purpose of checking for impaired drivers, and 2) pull over moving vehicles for the purposes of investigating whether impaired driving has occurred. This does not mean, however, that police automatically have the authority to demand a breath test upon stopping a vehicle for investigation.
In order for police to be legally able to request a roadside breath test, the motorist being investigated must be driving or in care and control of a vehicle, and the police must have a reasonable suspicion that the motorist has alcohol in his or her system. Officers can base a reasonable suspicion on the admission of the motorist to having recently consumed alcohol, signs of impairment exhibited by the motorist, and possibly even the smell of alcohol on the motorist’s breath.
The roadside screening test is something that you should generally comply with unless you have a reasonable excuse as to why you will not or cannot comply. The reasonableness of your excuse will be later scrutinized by the court, and this can be an uphill battle. However, the potential fine and driving prohibitions that can result from refusing the test must be weighed against your Charter rights.
Drug Evaluation Tests At The Police Station
If you take and fail the roadside screening test, the police can then demand that you attend the police station for drug evaluation testing. This testing can include physical coordination exercises, a blood pressure test, taking your pulse, taking your temperature, and checking your pupil size under different lighting. A drug expert will look at the results. He or she will then decide if you are impaired, and with what kind of drug. The police can then charge you with impaired driving. At that point, the drug expert can order you to give blood, urine, or saliva samples.
Similar to the roadside test, the drug evaluation test can be refused only if there is a reasonable excuse. However, you are entitled to speak to a lawyer before doing this test. You are also entitled to remain silent if the police ask you any questions.
What Happens If I Am Convicted?
If convicted of this type of offence, the range of possible consequences depends on how many times, if any, that you’ve been found guilty of DUI offences.
For a first offence, you could face:
- The mandatory minimum sentence of a 12 month prohibition from driving;
- A fine of $1000 plus victim surcharge of 30%; and/or
- A suspension of your license for 1.5 years.
For a second offence, you could face:
- The mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and 2 year prohibition from driving; and /or
- The suspension of your license for 6 years.
For a third offence, you could face:
- The mandatory minimum sentence of 120 days in jail and a 3 year prohibition from driving; and/or
- The indefinite suspension of your license.
The mandatory minimums represent the minimum amount of consequences you will face if convicted of DUI charges, but the jail time and suspension period may be set much higher than the minimum. This is especially true if the drinking and driving offense resulted in injury or death.
DUI convictions will result in a criminal record and you may need to comply with terms set out by the Ministry of Transportation in order to have your license reinstated. Your motor vehicle insurance rates and premiums will rise accordingly as well.
Tailor Law Offers Free Consultations With A Lawyer
Meet with one of Tailor Law’s Mississauga criminal defence lawyers, in person or over the phone. This free consultation will allow us to determine how we can best assist you, and to explain the possible outcomes of your situation. Book your consultation anytime by calling 905-366-0202.