S. Zalman Haouzi Avocat

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Montreal Driving Offences Lawyer

What Is Impaired Driving?

Impaired driving entails operating any motor vehicle while your ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Despite the common misconception, it is not a crime to drink alcohol and then drive (for most drivers), it’s only a crime to drive when your blood-alcohol content is 80mg/100ml or higher, or when your ability to drive has been impaired as a result of your consumption.

What Other Driving Offences Are There?

There are all sorts of other driving offences that the Criminal Code explicitly prohibits, like dangerous driving (section 320.13 of the criminal code), failure/refusal to comply with a valid demand by an officer to test your sobriety (s. 320.15 of the criminal code), hit and run (320.16 of the criminal code), and fleeing from a police officer (s. 320.17 of the criminal code). Of course, impaired driving and dangerous driving also take on other more serious forms, like dangerous driving causing bodily harm or death, and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death.

What Happens If Convicted Of Impaired Driving?

Drinking and driving and failure to comply with a Breathalyzer demand carry mandatory minimum sentences. Specifically, a fine and a driving prohibition. While such a sentence is not particularly onerous, it automatically results in the imposition of a criminal record. For those with a precarious immigration status, a conviction can have serious impacts on future immigration applications and may even result in deportation.

What Defences Are Available For Impaired Driving?

In order to convict for impaired driving, the Crown must prove that you had care and control of a vehicle while your faculties were impaired by alcohol or drugs (or that you were driving with 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood in your bloodstream). Therefore, common paths towards acquittal are to raise reasonable doubt about who was driving or your actual state of impairment, or to get the Breathalyzer Test results excluded from evidence.

Arrested For Impaired Driving - What Should I Do?

If you’ve been charged or arrested for impaired driving offence, it’s absolutely vital that you exercise your right to counsel before blowing into a Breathalyzer. If you have been detained or arrested on the scene, you should inform the police that you have a cellphone on your person and that you’d like to use it to speak to counsel immediately.

I’ve Been Charged With Impaired Driving - Now What?

Generally speaking, if you have a good recollection about the events in question, make sure you write down your version of events (in as much detail as possible), especially take note of your interaction with the police:

  • Did the police have you blow into an Approved Screening Device at the roadside?
  • If so, did they have such a device with them or did they order it to be delivered to the scene?
  • If it was delivered, how long did you wait prior to it being administered?
  • Did they inform you of your right to counsel?
  • Did you invoke it? When?
  • What time did you actually speak to counsel?
  • Did they search you or your vehicle incident to arrest?

It’s also a good idea to take note of the quantity of your alcohol consumption and the corresponding time periods of when the drinks were consumed. If you have any receipts that night from the bar, keep them.

If you’re being investigated for a driving offence, have been criminal charged or just have questions about your rights and obligations under the law, contact S. Zalman Haouzi Avocat today for a consultation!

Are you facing criminal charges in Montreal or the surrounding areas? Contact us now, we’re here to help!

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