Impaired Driving

Impaired Driving Charge

In order to be convicted of Impaired Driving, the Crown prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were operating a motor while your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol or a drug.

In order to prove this charge, the Crown will usually rely on testimony of witnesses (often police officers) who observed you driving or saw you shortly after you were driving. Evidence of impairment often consists of things like unexplained bad driving, slurred speech and unsteadiness on one’s feet.  Your lawyer’s approach to defending this charge should involve a careful review of the disclosure (this will consist of police officers’ notes, witness statements and often video footage recorded at the police station) that can point to inconsistencies and exaggerations in the allegations.

At trial, when inconsistencies and exaggerations in the evidence are exposed, it can be very difficult for a judge to convict. How can a judge be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt if they don’t know what really happened? A reasonable doubt can also be raised by demonstrating that signs attributed to impairment can realistically be explained by something else. For example, there are countless causes of blood shot eyes that do not involve drugs and alcohol and the source of bad driving is often lapses in attention.

Learn more about Defences for Impaired Driving.

Cases Related to Impaired Driving

  • Impaired Driving Charges Reduced to Careless Driving – No Criminal Record Related to: Bad Driving, Breath Test, Drive Over 80 Criminal Cases, Impaired Driving, No Criminal Record

    My client was charged with Impaired Driving and Over 80. The allegations included high breath test results and what was described as very bad driving. At trial, after the crown had completed their case and I had cross-examined the officers, it was revealed that a video taken of my client at the police station had been recorded but not disclosed to me despite my previous requests.  Furthermore, in my cross-examination of the witness who observed the driving, it was revealed that the driving was not as bad as the allegations had suggested and that the reliability and credibility of this witness was questionable. Finally, I caught on to a technical defect in the breath technician’s evidence that would have resulted in a conviction on the Over 80 charge being an impossibility. Ultimately, the Crown agreed to my client pleading guilty to Careless Driving under the HTA and thus avoiding a criminal record and the serious consequences that accompany a drinking and driving conviction.

  • Not Guilty of Impaired Driving and Dangerous Driving Related to: Breath Test, Dangerous Driving, Drive Over 80 Criminal Cases, Impaired Driving

    My client had been charged with Impaired Driving, Over 80 and Dangerous Driving stemming from an incident in which he had driven into a house.  His breath tests revealed that his Blood Alcohol Concentration was well over the legal limit. My client had made several statements on the scene both to the residents of the home and to the police, even after he was advised of his rights to counsel and cautioned that he did not have to say anything.  My client admitted several times that he had too much to drink and should not have been driving.  To make matters worse, my client could not remember what had happened.  On the day of trial I convinced the Crown to pull the Impaired Driving and Over 80 charges in return for my client pleading guilty to the Dangerous Driving charge.  My client was fined and although his driver’s license was suspended automatically by the Ministry of Transportation, the judge declined to make a separate Order prohibiting him from driving anywhere in Canada.  Because my client was not found guilty of the drinking and driving related charges, he avoided the requirements of having to take Ontario’s Remedial Measures Back on Track Program  and of having an ignition interlock device installed in any vehicle he drove for the year after he got his license back.  These requirements would both involve significant monetary expenditures.  My client also likely avoided significant increases in his insurance premiums.

  • Charges Withdrawn for Impaired Driving Related to: Drive Over 80 Criminal Cases, Impaired Driving

    My client was charged with Impaired Driving and Over 80 stemming from a single motor vehicle accident in which my client drove off the road into a ditch. It turned out that the Crown had failed to subpoena one of their witnesses and on the day of trial this witness did not show up. I knew that the Crown could have proven their case without this particular witness but for some reason, the Crown considered this witness to be crucial to their case and requested an adjournment from the judge. I argued that my client was prepared to have his case tried that day, that there was no excuse for the Crown and police neglecting to serve this witness and that my client would be severely prejudiced by having to come back on some future date to have his case heard. The judge agreed and denied the adjournment request. The Crown subsequently withdrew the case against my client.

All Criminal Driving Cases