Your Toronto DUI Lawyer
Hire an experienced DUI Lawyer in Toronto for Impaired Driving / Over 80
Drinking and driving offences in Canada include failing to provide a breath sample, impaired driving, or having a breath sample with over 80 mg of alcohol according to the Canadian Criminal Code. A driving under the influence charge or a DUI charge carries serious consequences to your insurance premiums as well as your licence. Harsh sanctions await you if you’re found guilty and the consequences can affect your future employment opportunities, your ability to travel, and your current job.
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Toronto DUI Lawyers
When Experience Matters
If you’re facing a DUI charge, you should not let one mistake lead to more mistakes that can affect your future. You must take steps to hire an experienced DUI lawyer in Toronto to help you avoid the life-long consequences of an impaired driving conviction.
At Calvin Barry Law, our team of DUI lawyers will use every detail that we can to give you a strong defence. A strong defence is your best tool to avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI charge.
There are 3 common DUI charges in Canada:
- Impaired driving charge occurs when a police officer has a reason to believe that a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle may be impaired by drugs or alcohol based on physical observations such as slurred speech, diminished motor skills, and poor driving.
- Over 80 PLUS mg charge occurs when a person who is operating a motor vehicle is found to have a blood-alcohol level of more than 80 milligrams alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood via a breathalyzer test.
- Refusing to provide breath sample charge occurs when a person rejects to provide a breath sample to a police officer at a police station or a roadside traffic stop. This charge also applies if a person provides inadequate samples.
So You’ve Been Charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
DUI Charges Can Affect You For Life
Drinking and driving or DUI charges in Canada are Criminal Code offences that come with mandatory sentences even for individuals with no Highway Traffic Act record or Criminal record. A first offence may get a minimum sentence of 12-month driving prohibition and a $1,000 fine. A second offence may get a minimum of 30 days of jail time as sentence. A third offence may get a minimum of 120 days in jail. Penalties may be more severe in the presence of aggravating details such as driving recklessly, an accident, or a high BAC following a breath sample. At Calvin Barry Law, we aim to defend your case to get the lowest possible penalty if dismissal of charges is not viable.
Helping You Defend Impaired Driving Charges:
Drinking and driving charges come with variable defences that challenge allegations. These defences include:
- Challenging the reasons provided by police officers for them to obtain a breath sample.
- Challenging the technical aspects of breathalyzer use or the procedure used for breath testing.
- Excluding evidence that was collected with a police violation of your Charter protected rights
We recommend consulting with us at Calvin Barry Law to determine the best steps to take for your defence. Know that you are entitled to legal consultation upon detention or arrest and it is best to consult with an impaired driving lawyer before further actions from law enforcement.
Are You Facing Impaired Driving Charges?
Impaired Driving is a Criminal Offence in Toronto
Most people do not think of impaired driving as a criminal offence. Most people perceive it as a minor offence considering that impaired driving is one of the most common offences to be arrested for. The fact is, impaired driving, driving under the influence, DWI, DUI, drunk driving, and driving while high are classified amongst the most serious criminal offences despite the high number of cases because it can create huge damage to property and result in the loss of life. Because of this, people arrested for impaired driving are charged under the Criminal Code and are often given harsh penalties.
The penalties for impaired driving go beyond temporarily losing your driving privileges and paying fine. Even someone with a first-time impaired driving conviction can expect to get significant hikes to insurance premiums, expensive fines and administrative fees, and mandatory enrolment to post-licence-suspension ignition interlock program and impaired driving education program at their own expense. Following convictions can result in even tougher penalties with jail time not to mention that aggravating factors such as high BAC readings on breath samples, proof of reckless driving, and getting involved in an accident can lead to additional penalties that go beyond the minimum sentence mandates. Just like with other criminal convictions, a conviction for impaired driving may affect an individual’s job prospects, current business, and future international travel opportunities.
Toronto Impaired Driving
Care & Control
This is a charge of impaired driving to someone who is not actually driving the motor vehicle. This is charged to someone who had care and control of the vehicle while impaired, with the police officer having reason to believe that the person has the same control while actually operating the motor vehicle.
This charge is made without a blood alcohol test reading or a breathalyzer test when the police officer believes and can prove that the person driving the vehicle is unable to do so safely due to impairment by drugs or alcohol. This charge can be laid by an officer if the driver is exhibiting erratic driving, unsteadiness of gait, lack of motor coordination, and slurred speech. Note that in this charge, the prosecutor and the charging officer has to prove that the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle is impaired due to drug use or alcohol ingestion.
This charge is made when the driver has a BAC (blood alcohol content) level of more than 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood via an approved screening device such as a breathalyzer. The officer must have probable and reasonable grounds that the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by drugs or alcohol prior to submitting a person for a BAC screening.
Refusing a Blood Sample or Refusing a Breathalyzer
This charge is made when a person suspected of impaired driving refuses to provide a blood sample or a breath sample to a police officer. This charge also applies when the sample provided is deemed not enough for the investigation.
Toronto Impaired Driving/
The Criminal Code of Canada is quite strict on specifying the minimum penalties that judges should impose on those with an impaired driving conviction. The penalties are meant to be severe and their financial impact goes far beyond the mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 for first-time offenders. After an impaired driving conviction, a person’s insurance premiums will be much higher and they will be required to pay another $1,000 in fees for the mandatory impaired driving program, licence reinstatement, and ignition interlock program.
Below is a recap of minimum court-ordered penalties for 1st, 2nd & 3rd convictions of impaired driving:
- $1,000 fine
- Enrollment in alcohol education course
- One-year suspension of driver’s licence
- One-year enrollment in the ignition interlock program after the reinstatement of licence
- Fine at the judge’s discretion
- 30 days of jail time
- Three-year enrollment in the ignition interlock program after the reinstatement of licence
- Fine at the judge’s discretion
- 120 days of jail time
- Lifetime enrolment in the ignition interlock program after the reinstatement of licence if it was ever reinstated
Just a quick look at the above and it is clear that anyone charged with impaired driving must make it a priority to consult with an experienced impaired driving lawyer as soon as possible. Note that aside from the above, other consequences include negative effects on one’s reputation, ability to travel, gain employment, and more.
A highly skilled Toronto impaired driving lawyer has the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex and technical aspects of the Criminal Code’s impaired driving laws in order to create a strong defence that is tailored to each individual case. At Calvin Barry Law, our team cares about each case’s outcome because we know how devastating the life-altering consequences of an impaired driving conviction can be. We will do all that we can to make sure that one small mistake will not have a prolonged detrimental effect on your reputation and your life.
Our Impaired Driving / DUI Defence at Calvin Barry Law:
We make use of a variety of defences and tailor them according to what will work best according to the specific details of your impaired driving charge. These defences include:
- Challenging the reasons cited by the police officer for obtaining a breath sample
- Challenging the technical aspects of the procedure for blood testing or using a breathalyzer
- Challenging the subjective judgment of the police officer about what constitutes impairment
- Challenging other details that are exclusive to the circumstances of your arrest
- Appealing for the exclusion of evidence that was obtained by the police officer with violation of your Charter protected rights
We strongly encourage consulting with our team at Calvin Barry Law to determine the best defence strategy for your impaired driving charge. Know that it is your legal right to hire an impaired driving lawyer upon arrest or detainment related to impaired driving.
DUI Law/Impaired Driving FAQS
Sections 320.11 to 320.4 of the Canadian Criminal Code covers the impaired driving laws in Toronto. Charges for DUI vary based on the circumstances leading to the arrest. The charges include:
- Care and Control
- Driving Under the Influence
- Failure to Provide a Breath Sample
- Impaired Driving
- Over 80 Mgs BAC Reading
The prosecutor’s strategies for establishing guilt for the above charges vary but the penalties for a guilty finding are the same.
A person is arrested for DUI in Canada after the police officer has established reasonable suspicion that the person may be impaired while driving based on observations and roadside testing. The person will be brought to the police station for further testing and evaluation. Note that refusing to provide fluid samples or perform a test carries the same penalties as a DUI conviction.
The minimum penalties for those convicted of a DUI charge in Toronto or anywhere in Canada are as follows:
- $1,000 fine for a BAC of 80 to 119, $1,500 fine for a BAC of 120-159, and $2,000 fine for a BAC of 160 or more
- 12-month driving prohibition
- $2,000 mandatory fine for anyone with first refusal to provide a breath sample
- 24-month driving prohibition
- 30 days of jail time
Third and Subsequent Offences
- 36-month driving prohibition
- 120 days of jail time
All transportation offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years on indictment and 24 months less a day on summary conviction.
A drinking and driving charge is treated as a serious criminal offence in the Canadian Criminal Code and is met with the following consequences:
- Criminal record
- Expensive administrative fees
- Impounding of vehicle
- Increased insurance premiums
- Mandatory attendance to education and/or treatment program
- Possible ignition interlock requirements if and when driving privileges are restored
A DUI charge of Over 80 means that the accused registered a blood alcohol concentration of more than 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood as measured by a screening device. The Criminal Code of Canada lays down specific requirements for the collection of blood and breath screening samples under Section 320.14(1). According to the Canadian Criminal Code, screening devices must be handled by qualified technicians for the reading to be admissible in court as evidence. The testing must be completed within a window of 2 hours starting from the time when the accused was initially detained by the arresting officer. Furthermore, individual samples should only be taken at intervals of 15 minutes. Because of the technical aspects and strict legal requirements of testing an accused’s BAC, an accused will need the services of a highly skilled DUI lawyer to challenge the results as well as identify possible errors during the procedure.
Having a criminal defence lawyer with expertise in defending DUI charges is the first step in effectively beating a DUI charge. Each DUI charge that goes to trial carries key differences that require a skilled DUI lawyer to defend effectively. An experienced DUI lawyer has a repertoire of defences to form the best strategy to defend a DUI charge based on specific circumstances and charges. An Over 80 charge will not have the same defence as a Care and Control charge and will require a different strategy.
The defence strategies that are most often used for a DUI charge are the following:
- Challenging if the accused’s Charter-protected rights were respected
- Challenging the arresting officer’s interpretation of care and control
- Challenging the validity of the drug screening or the validity of the BAC screening device
- Raising legal reasons if the accused failed to provide a sample, refused a roadside screening, or rejected a breathalyzer test
- Questioning the lawfulness of the police procedure and the original police detainment
The professional and legal fees charged by a DUI lawyer varies based on the amount of time spent to defend the accused and the complexity of the case. Although the actual court time spent for hearings of DUI charges are usually short, the DUI lawyer will spend a lot of time sorting through details to create an effective defence strategy. More so, defending some cases can take a lot of time due to assorted motions which will require additional time for case preparation, research, interviewing witnesses, and more.
A skilled DUI lawyer may be able to resolve the charges in favour of the accused by negotiating a settlement with the prosecution and/or without having to go through a trial. If the DUI lawyer can recognize a significant flaw in the Crown’s case before the trial, that information can be used by the DUI lawyer to convince the Crown to drop charges.
Generally speaking, the Crown prosecutor will reject dismissals except in instances where the recognized flaw is so obvious and cannot be ignored. In most cases, the Crown will opt to drop the DUI charges for the acceptance of a guilty plea for a lesser offence such as careless driving. An experienced DUI lawyer will know how to work with the case details to achieve the most favourable outcome for the accused while making the other party think that they are not at a disadvantage.
As mentioned in response to other DUI FAQs, Crown prosecutors will usually not dismiss charges unless with a compelling reason to do so. The possible reasons for a DUI charge to be dismissed with the help of a DUI lawyer are if the accused’s charter rights were not protected, the screening methods used were impaired, the arrest was questionable, there were mistakes during the stop and detention, and other similar circumstances wherein the right processes were not followed.
The Crown prosecutor is likely to drop the DUI charge if their case is so flawed that it is impossible for them to win during the trial. If the DUI lawyer knows for certain that the case is flawed but was not able to convince the Crown prosecutor to drop the case, then the DUI lawyer can use the flaw as a key defence strategy during the trial and possibly achieve a not guilty sentence.
A DUI conviction means having to pay higher auto insurance in most cases. More so, insurance companies may choose not to renew insurance or reject an insurance application for someone guilty of a DUI. If you can find an insurance firm willing to take you as a client, be prepared to be charged minimum of twice the standard rate.
Since impaired driving offences are classified under serious criminality in Canada, Canadian immigration law Bill C-46, Part 1 says that it is grounds for revocation of permanent resident status and could lead to deportation.
Canadian law does allow for the expungement or suspension of a DUI criminal record. This action seals the record from public view while law enforcement can still access the data. Application for a record suspension is possible 5 years after a guilty plea or a conviction and may need the services of a DUI lawyer.
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The Crown Attorney must prove that the item in question involved in a drug possession case is indeed an illegal drug according to the definition set by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Without a medical exemption, the following drugs are illegal to possess in Canada: cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy, GHB, heroin, ketamine, LSD, magic mushrooms, opium and more.
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Calvin Barry is an experienced criminal defence lawyer and an impaired driving lawyer in Toronto with more than 30 years of expertise navigating the law.
Calvin Barry Law serves clients in Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area, and nearby areas in Ontario.