Impaired driving is a specific offence under the Canadian Criminal Code which is laid when someone is found to be drinking and driving. Impaired driving is more commonly referred to driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired (DWI), or drunk driving.
What happens now?
If you have been charged with a charge of impaired driving or failing the breathzlyer your first step should be to consult with a lawyer. The defence of breathalyzer cases can be complex and technical because of the rules outlined in the Criminal Code dealing with the admissibility of the certificate with the breath readings. Police officers frequently make mistakes in following these rules which may provide an accused with a defence which an experienced criminal defence lawyer can make in court. There is no such thing as an automatic conviction simply because you have failed the breathalyzer.
There is no automatic conviction for a charge of refusal and the burden is on the police to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The penalties for a charge of refusal are the same as the penalties for a conviction of impaired driving or failing the breathalyzer.
The consequences of a conviction for impaired driving and related offences are extremely serious and long lasting:
- You get a criminal record which will stay with you for the rest of your life unless you can apply for and receive a pardon;
- You will receive a stiff fine and possibly go to jail if you have a prior conviction for impaired driving or a related offence;
- You will lose your driving license for at least one year and possibly longer;
- Your automobile insurance rates will skyrocket and could cost you $10,000.00 or more per year for at least three years once your insurance company becomes aware of your conviction;
- You may be refused entry into the United States and other countries because of your criminal record;
If you are stopped for impaired driving, there are usually immediate consequences. Even if you pass the breathalyzer, if your reading is above .05, you may still face a lisence suspension of 24 hours.
The ignition interlock is blood alcohol screening device which is placed in your car and connected to your vehicle’s ignition system. Once installed it prevents the operation of a motor vehicle if a driver’s blood alcohol is over a pre-set limit. Once the vehicle has started the driver is required to provide random samples of breath during travel.