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 a trial.

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%.

THE SCENARIO

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 blood.

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 technician.

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:

  1. Promise to Appear – indicates your first court appearance date
  2. Notice to Registrar – a notice sent to the Ministry of Transportation regarding the immediate 90 day suspension of your driver’s licence
  3. Copy of the breathalyzer readings
  4. 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 following ramifications:

  1. Driver’s licence prohibition - a minimum of one-year
  2. Fine - between $600 to $2,000
  3. Criminal Record
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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 follow-up interview.

Assessment:
The assessment takes about one hour. Based on the results, you will be referred to either the education or the treatment program.

Education:
The education program helps you learn about:

  • 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.

Treatment Program:
The treatment program helps you to:

  • 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 choices
  • 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.

Follow-up Interview:
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 requirements:

  • do not use alcohol or drugs not prescribed by your doctor on any day you participate in the program
  • attend all sessions as scheduled and arrive on time
  • 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.

contact Ottawa Traffic Tickets for your driving related offence
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