It is illegal to operate any conveyance while your ability to operate it is impaired to any degree by alcohol, by a drug, or by the combination of alcohol or a drug. The vehicle does not even have to be in motion.
DUI, DWI, and impaired driving charges are some of the most common first-time offense charges that we see. It is all too easy to misjudge how much you’ve had to drink or the extent to which even a legal, over-the-counter drug like benadryl might be impacting your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Canada has some of the strongest DUI laws in the world. Police officers may demand breathalyzer tests from any driver they pull over, even if they have no probable cause whatsoever to suspect that the driver has been drinking. Refuse to take the test, and you can be charged. The police also have the right to ask you to take a field sobriety test.
In addition, the law presumes that your blood alcohol concentration within two hours of driving was your blood alcohol concentration at the time of driving, and acts accordingly.
Fortunately there are still ways to defeat a DUI, DWI, or impaired driving charge. We can often prove that breathalyzer tests or even blood tests were inaccurate. The presence of certain physical conditions such as diabetes or certain medications can directly alter the results of the test. Machine calibration mistakes can throw the results. We work closely with toxicologists and other experts to look for ways to undermine the Crown’s case against you.
BAC Over 80
It is illegal to operate a vehicle within two hours of attaining a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 80 mg per 100 mL of blood or above.
If convicted of Blowing Over 80 you can face up to 2 years in prison. If Blowing Over 80 causes an accident resulting in bodily harm you face up to 14 years in prison. If it causes an accident resulting in death you face up to life imprisonment.
You also face significant fines of up to $4,250.
Punishments may be increased if aggravating factors exist. This includes an excessively high BAC, participation in a street race, having a minor in the car with you, or operating a large motor vehicle. You can also face aggravated charges if you were on the job at the time of the arrest, or if you did not have the right to operate the vehicle in the first place. Second and third offenses also carry more significant penalties than first offenses.
Finally, you will face an Immediate Roadside Suspension of your driver’s license, which will be in effect even if you are not convicted. You will have 90 days to appeal your license suspension. As your DUI lawyers in Moose Jaw, SK, we can help you with that. Your vehicle will also be seized and impounded. Once your vehicle is released you may be asked to add an ignition interlock device to your vehicle. After conviction, you may also be required to complete a Driving Without Impairment program.
Impaired driving usually covers driving while under the influence of a drug. Law enforcement can use your physical state in a roadside sobriety test to determine if you were impaired by drugs. If they suspect you have a high blood concentration, they can also call in a Drug Recognition Evaluator.
There is a 12-step test which assesses drug impairment, and it is very much a physical exam. The DRE measures your blood pressure, body temperature, pulse, and your reaction of the eye to light. They also perform the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test and the Vertical Gaze Nystagmus test. They may measure your pupil size and evaluate your ability to divide your attention.
Police in Saskatchewan may also ask for blood or urine samples or ask you to take a SoTaxa oral fluid machine test capable of testing the concentration of blood in the drug. You are required to take these tests, and if you refuse you can be charged with a crime.
These charges may even lead to a possession charge atop your impaired driving charge.
There are defenses against DUI charges, especially if you do the smart thing and say as little as possible prior to consulting with a Moose Jaw, SK criminal defense attorney. We can challenge the accuracy of the test. We may be able to prove that someone slipped you the drugs or alcohol; that is, that you were involuntarily intoxicated and thus in no shape to evaluate your own fitness to get behind the wheel. If you were driving in response to an emergency then the defense of necessity may be appropriate in your case.
In some cases we may be able to prove that you consumed the substance after you drove, or that you weren’t operating the vehicle in the first place. There have been instances where law enforcement officers have arrested passengers after accidents because they did not believe the claim that the arrestee was not the one driving the car at the time of the accident.
We leave no stone unturned, gathering all the necessary evidence to help undermine the Crown’s case.
Get Help Today
You can’t afford to face impaired driving charges or “Blowing Over 80” charges without attaining help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Our team has decades of experience helping thousands of Moose Jaw residents just like you. We are responsive, diligent, and empathetic to your case. We’re not here to judge you, we’re here to protect your rights and to minimize the consequences of your arrest to whatever degree proves possible. We’ll give you the first-class legal advice you need to navigate your way through the criminal justice system.
If you or a loved one needs help, contact Moose Jaw Criminal Defense Lawyer at (306) 634-7777.