Impairment falls under the category of drinking and driving offences as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. The criminal offence of impairment is operating a motor vehicle, boat, or airplane with reduced or impaired abilities that prevent you from operating it safely and in a reasonable manner. There are several different tests used to determine impairment, from the time the police officer stops you through your trial. All law enforcement agencies will request a breath sample if they suspect impairment. Refusing to provide a breath sample can result in being charged with the criminal offence of breath sample refusal.
If you submit a breath sample and the results show your blood alcohol level is over legal limits, you are either charged with impairment or driving over 0.80. In the event your blood alcohol level is under legal limits, does not mean you are let go. If the police officer feels your driving was impaired, they might take you into custody so a drug screening can be performed to determine if this is the cause of the impairment. Further, if the officer smells or sees drug paraphernalia in plain sight, they have probable cause for searching the vehicle.
In addition to breath samples and drug screenings, the Crown may evaluate your operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or plane compared to how another person of reasonable measure would perform under similar circumstance. If illegal drugs or substances were the cause for the impairment, the Crown reserves the right to also file drug possession charges along with impaired driving.
Impairment Offences Have Long Term Effects
It is never in your best interest to plead guilty to or take a plea arrangement for any type of drinking, driving, or impaired offence. There are long term consequences for such actions. Not only could you lose your driving privileges, you could face higher insurance premiums, potentially lose your job, be expected to pay for and complete a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, perform community service, and be incarcerated in jail.
Further, the offence goes on your permanent record and remains with your for the rest of your life. You criminal record can make it difficult to find and maintain decent employment, travel outside Ontario, hurt your relationship with your friends and family, and affect your standing within the community with your peers.
For those with an existing drinking, driving, or impaired offence on their record, a repeat offence has more serious consequences. The law is very strict and swift to make an example of those, who continuously violate drinking and driving laws. If illegal drugs and substances are also included with the repeat offence, you could potentially be facing a life in prison, in some cases.
It is possible to prepare a strong defence to drinking, driving, and impairment criminal offences with help from experienced Toronto criminal defence lawyer, Jeff Hershberg. Call Mr. Hershberg now at 416-428-7360 for a complimentary consultation to discuss your charges.