Definition of Impaired Driving Has Limitations As Shown on an Ontario Ruling

Getting convicted for driving under the influence means that a DUI charge will be linked to your name. This link will be there for years to come until such time that you’re able to get a record suspension or a DUI pardon with the help of a DUI lawyer.

But what constitutes impaired driving?

Is it impaired driving if you simply slept in your parked car while waiting for the effects of alcohol intoxication to go away?

Would you be fine with going to jail for sleeping in your car when you’re drunk because you did not want to drive until you are feeling much better?

Location, Location, Location!

What defines impaired driving or driving under the influence differs widely between provinces and territories. In a 2016 case in Ontario, a drunk man was found sleeping inside his car which was parked outside a housing complex in Burlington. He was charged with DUI.

The Ontario ruling by Justice Alan D. Cooper stated that the man, Ryan Toyota, was not guilty of any criminal offences despite leaving the engine and the exterior lights on because of several factors. One factor is that he meant to stay in a friend’s house but got locked out. Another is that he had to stay inside the car because this occurred in February 2015 in sub-freezing temperatures.

The ruling focused on a section of the Criminal Code which establishes the presumption of care or control of the vehicle – stating that the risk of danger is a fundamental element of care and control.

In the court’s opinion, they believed that Mr. Toyota had no intention of driving his vehicle and that the engine was just left on to keep himself warm. They also believed that Mr. Toyota had no means of getting inside his friend’s home because the homeowner passed out after accidentally locking the door on the way in.

The court said that it was clear that Mr. Toyota intended to spend the night in his friend’s home and made do with the safer course of action when given no other options except staying in his car or driving home.

What Really Happened

The police report did say that they found the defendant inside his vehicle which was parked outside the housing complex in sub-zero temperatures. The officer opened the door and smelled alcohol so he asked Mr. Toyota to step out and found that he was intoxicated. Mr. Toyota was then arrested and brought to the police station to be tested.

Real Justice

Justice Cooper noted in his ruling that the data from the police clearly stated that Mr. Toyota’s car was parked properly and in no danger to anyone at the time the police officer found him. Although there was a realistic risk of the defendant choosing to drive in his intoxicated state, the fact remains that he did not.

The court also believed that although Toyota’s blood alcohol level was lot higher than what defines legally drunk, it is highly unlikely that he would have suddenly change his mind and go driving if the officer didn’t find him. At the end of the day, the details of the circumstances dictated the court’s ruling.

The above is why you need a seasoned DUI Lawyer to help you deal with a DUI charge. Not everyone who is in a vehicle and intoxicated mean to do harm or is a danger to people. Calvin Barry Law specializes in uncovering the truth. He is the Toronto Criminal Lawyer that you need on your side! Contact Calvin Barry today!