Impaired driving, Over 80, Refuse Breath Test and
Care and Control are Criminal Code charges most often
laid against drivers suspected, or known to be, under
the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Canada.
Many drivers believe that if charged with one or more
of the above offences a conviction is inevitable. Nothing
could be further from the truth! Many believe that
if the breathalyzer machine reading indicates guilt
there is no defence and if there is no defence, why
bother with the expense of legal representation and
Ottawa Traffic Tickets utilizes the vast experience
of former police officers, breathalyzer technicians
and criminal investigators to examine the circumstances
leading to the arrest, the actions of police before
release from custody, and the documents served.
The combined expertise of our Ottawa Traffic Tickets
team and the services of a lawyer specializing in alcohol/drug
impaired driving, provide us with a success rate of
more than 80%.
It is 1:30 in the morning. You are driving home after
spending an enjoyable evening at a bar and are stopped
by the police. The officer suspects you have been drinking
and administers a roadside breathalyzer (ASD). The
breathalyzer indicates your blood alcohol concentration
(BAC) is in excess of 80mgs of alcohol per 100ml of
You are arrested, cautioned, searched, handcuffed,
placed in the rear of the cruiser and driven to the
nearest police station with an on-duty breathalyzer
Upon arrival you are booked; your personal items taken;
you are fingerprinted, photographed and placed in a
holding cell where you may experience feelings humiliation,
shame, guilt, anger and fear.
When the breathalyzer technician is ready, you are
removed from the cell and taken to the technician’s
area. You are ordered to sit, cautioned, asked if you
have anything to say and informed of the upcoming procedure.
You are told to blow into the tube twice within twenty-minutes
of each other and returned to the holding cell.
While you have been booked and processed at the police
station, your vehicle has been towed and impounded.
When the booking officer determines you are sober
enough to be released from custody (in most cases a
minimum of four hours) - your personal possessions
are returned and you are released from custody after
being served with official documents:
- Promise to Appear – indicates your first
court appearance date
- Notice to Registrar – a notice sent to the
Ministry of Transportation regarding the immediate
90 day suspension of your driver’s licence
- Copy of the breathalyzer readings
- Application for Increased Penalty – if you
have a previous conviction under Sections 253 or
254(5) of the Criminal Code for which you have not
received a pardon, a greater penalty will be sought
by the Prosecution
RELEASED FROM POLICE CUSTODY – NOW WHAT?
Consider the consequences of pleading guilty:
Guilty - First offence:
A conviction will be registered against you with the
- Driver’s licence prohibition
- a minimum of one-year
- Fine - between $600 to $2,000
- Criminal Record
- Ignition Interlock System – Equipment installation
and removal fee of $1,500 + monthly equipment rental
charge. Before starting the vehicle, the driver (any
driver) must blow into the device. If the driver’s
blood alcohol concentration is above the pre-set
limit, the vehicle will not start. Once the vehicle
is started, the interlock device requires the driver
to provide breath samples at random pre-set times
while the engine is running. If a sample is not provided,
or if the blood alcohol concentration exceeds the
limit, the device will issue a warning, record the
event and activate specific alarm systems, e.g.,
lights flashing, horn honking, etc., until the ignition
is turned off.
Drivers convicted of driving without an ignition
interlock device or for tampering with the device
will face fines under the Highway Traffic Act:
Commercial vehicles $200 - $20,000
Other motor vehicles $200 - $ 1,000
- Insurance Rates - will increase between 100%
to 300% for a period of 3 to 5 years - assuming you
can find a company to insure you
- Back on Track – Ontario’s Remedial
Measures Program for Impaired Drivers. It is mandatory.
Program fee is $475. You should register for “Back
on Track” as soon as possible after you receive
your suspension notice to avoid delays in licence
reinstatement. It may take up to 11 months to complete
all program requirements. The program requirements
include: assessment, education/treatment and a six-month
The assessment takes about one hour. Based on
the results, you will be referred to either the
education or the treatment program.
The education program helps you learn
- how alcohol and other drugs affect driving
performance and safety
- the legal and personal consequences of an
impaired driving conviction
- ways to avoid drinking and driving
- the program is eight hours in length. Occasionally
it is offered in shorter sessions over a number
of weeks. It includes presentations, exercises,
discussions and group work.
The treatment program helps
- learn about, and take responsibility for,
alcohol and drug use and its consequences
- commit to reducing or stopping problem use
of alcohol and drugs
- plan to avoid relapses and make healthier
- avoid drinking and driving
The program is 16 hours in length. It is usually
scheduled as several sessions over a number of
weeks. It includes discussions, exercises, group
work and personal planning.
If you have received an assessment, you
must complete a follow-up interview six months
after finishing your education or treatment program.
The follow-up interview takes about 30 minutes.
It is your responsibility to arrange for your follow-up
interview, which can be done in person or by telephone.
The follow-up interview:
- assesses your success in meeting your goals
- reinforces the strategies for avoiding drinking
and driving developed during the program.
Back on Track - Program Requirements
To pass the program, you must meet the following
- do not use alcohol or drugs not prescribed
by your doctor on any day you participate in
- attend all sessions as scheduled and arrive
- participate in program activities
- treat others with respect
If you fail the course, or any component, you
will need to re-register and pay the $475 program
fee again. Reinstatement of your driver’s
licence may be delayed an additional 11 months.
All program components must be successfully completed
before your licence can be reinstated.
Pleading guilty, and being convicted, of any
of the drinking/driving laws will cost you a
minimum of $50,000. This includes the mandatory
programs, increased insurance rates and legal
fees, as well as the serious consequences a conviction
will have on your family, lifestyle and work.
Should you decide not to utilize legal counsel — you
save the cost of legal fees.
DEFENCE — IS THERE ONE?
The issue is your ability to operate a motor
vehicle at the time of your arrest and whether
or not your ability was impaired by alcohol or
drugs. To obtain a conviction, the Crown Prosecutor
must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your
ability was impaired.
The Judge hearing your case must be satisfied
that the facts presented by the Prosecutor, prove
beyond a reasonable doubt, that you were in fact
impaired while operating a motor vehicle. If
your defence lawyer can present a reasonable
doubt in any form, the Judge must find you not
guilty. This happens more often than you realize.
IT STARTS WITH OTTAWA TRAFFIC TICKETS!
The lawyers we work with specialize in Impaired/DUI
offences - lawyers with a success rate in excess
of 80%. Also utilized when necessary are the
services of toxicologists designated by the Courts
as experts in their field.
Former criminal investigators and breathalyzer
technicians will examine the circumstances of
your arrest and the documents. Ottawa Traffic
Tickets will consult with the lawyer to uncover
any discrepancies regarding procedural, documentary
and Charter issues in order to provide you with
your best defence.