Two driving charges withdrawn at Provinicial Offences Court: Tony’s Case

CHARGES:

Careless driving contrary to Section 130 of the Provincial Highway Traffic Act

Driving a motor vehicle without a license contrary to Section 32 (1) of Provincial Highway Traffic Act

BACKGROUND:

A car stopped at a red light on a Saturday night in Ottawa was rear-ended by a car that my client, Tony, was driving. After colliding with the vehicle, Tony dislodged his car from the other car and fled the scene. The driver and passengers of the car that had been hit were not injured and were able to provide Tony’s license plate number to police. Police arrested Tony at his home after he could not provide any reasonable excuse for leaving the scene of an accident.

STRATEGY AND RESULTS:

After I met with the Crown, it was agreed that these charges would be dropped at the Provincial Offences Court in Ottawa.

Over 80 charge dismissed: Natalie’s Case

CHARGES:

Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood contrary to Section 253 (1) (b) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

BACKGROUND: As she was driving away from an area where a loud party as taking place, Natalie was stopped by police. The officer who pulled her over conducted a road-side breath test, which Natalie failed. She was then taken by the officer to the police detachment for another breath test.  After failing the second breath test, she was charged with Over 80.

Read the Summary of Police Allegations

GOALS: It is well known that the consequences of an Over 80 conviction in Ontario are very serious. Those convicted often pay heavy fines, have their license suspended and are burdened with a criminal record. In this case, we set a goal to have Natalie avoid a criminal record. Natalie and I hoped we could have her charge dismissed.

STRATEGY: I applied to have much of the evidence in this case excluded because the methods used to obtain it were in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sections 7, 8, 9, 10(b), 11(d) and 24(2). We filed a Charter application making the request. I felt like there were several problems with Natalie’s arrest:

  • The officer who pulled Natalie over lacked the required reasonable grounds to stop and arrest her.
  • Natalie was not given reasonable opportunity to choose her lawyer and contact him or her at the time of her arrest.
  • The breath test conducted on the roadside was not done in a timely manner and the officer involved did not have a “Warrant to Search” which would authorize him to conduct the test.

RESULTS: The Judge in this case agreed with several of the arguments we made, and all charges against our client were dismissed at trial.

Read the Judge’s Decision

Three charges dismissed in impaired driving incident: Shannon’s Case

CHARGES:

Impaired operation of a motor vehicle contrary to Section 253 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood contrary to Section 253 (1) (b) of the Criminal Code of Canada:

Possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis (marijuana) contrary to Section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:

BACKGROUND: Police reported to the scene of an accident in North Grenville and found Shannon sitting near to a minivan that had collided with a hydro pole. One of the officers on the scene smelled alcohol in the van and conducted a breath test on Shannon, which led to a reading of ‘F’ or fail.  Shannon was arrested and brought to the police detachment where she failed another breath test.

Before being released from the station, police officers found a small amount of marijuana in Shannon’s purse. A charge of possession of marijuana was added to her file.

Read the Summary of Police Allegations

GOALS: Shannon was a very young woman at the time of her charge and so we made it a priority to have her avoid a criminal record. In addition, we did not want her to have her license suspended.

STRATEGY: I believed that the police officers questioning Shannon violated her rights under Sections 7, 8, 9, 10(a), 10(b), 11(d), and 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I argued that there were several problems with the arrest and processing of Shannon:

  • There was a lack of proof regarding the times of the arrests and tests, and it was unclear whether they were conducted within the proper time frame.
  • There was not sufficient evidence to prove that that Shannon was actually the driver in control of the van.
  • Similarly, there was nothing that proved that the marijuana found in Shannon’s bag actually belonged to her, or that she actually knew it was there.

RESULTS: All the charges in this case were dismissed.

Click here to Read the Judge’s Decision

Over 80 and impaired operation charges dismissed: Peter’s Case

CHARGES:

Impaired operation of a motor vehicle contrary to section 253 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood contrary to section 253 (1) (b) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

BACKGROUND: On Innes Road, a witness saw a man drive his car into a light standard on a median.  The witness, after seeing the collision, followed the driver as he left on foot. Later, paramedics arrived and Peter agreed to be examined in an ambulance before police arrived on the scene. When officers arrived, they smelled alcohol on Peter’s breath and administered a test that resulted in a reading of “F” or fail. Peter was then arrested and brought into the police station, where he failed two more breath tests.

Read the Summary of Police Allegations

GOALS: I did not want Peter to be burdened with a criminal record, and we wanted him to be able to keep his license. When Peter hired me to represent him, I wanted to do everything possible to have his charges dismissed or dropped.

STRATEGY: I believed that the Crown was in violation of Peter’s rights under Sections 11(b), and 24(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I thought there to be several problems with the administration of the trial:

  • After multiple adjournments, the Trial commenced more than 19 months after charges were laid.
  • The delay of the proceedings was largely caused by the fact that not all efforts to serve a witness in the trial were exhausted.  Peter’s right to a trial within a reasonable time was violated.

RESULTS: According to the judge in trial, not enough had been done by police to locate a witness in this case that had relocated to British Columbia. That was one of several issues that caused Peter to have his right to a trial within in a reasonable time violated. The charges were dismissed.

Click here to Read the Judge’s Decision

Driving Offences: Serious Crimes, Serious Penalties – Failing to Stop at the Scene of an Accident

The failure to stop at the scene of an accident is a very serious driving offence in the Criminal Code of Canada. Anyone who doesn’t stop his or her motor vehicle to give his or her name and address, and who has the intention of escaping civil and/or criminal liability after an accident, is guilty of the offence.

Sentences for those convicted of failing to stop at the scene of an accident vary depending on the circumstances. A good criminal defence lawyer can help have your charges be pursued summarily rather than by indictment. If convicted, that can have a significant impact on the type and severity of punishment that you will receive.

Those convicted of the summary offence of failing to stop at the scene can face up to six months in jail and a fine of $5000. Conversely, those convicted of the indictable offence, where no one was injured, could spend up to five years behind bars.

If someone was injured in the accident, and you failed to stop and offer assistance, sentences range all the way up to 10 years in jail. If the accident caused death, life imprisonment is a sentencing option.

As you can see, failing to stop at the scene of an accident can be a very serious criminal charge, and it is important to find a top quality criminal defence lawyer than can help you through the situation. A good lawyer can often convince a Judge that someone had cause to leave the scene, or work to lessen the severity of the Court’s sentence.

Driving Offences: Serious Crimes, Serious Penalties – Fleeing Police

In the Criminal Code, fleeing police is defined as operating a motor vehicle while being pursued and failing, without a reasonable excuse and in order to evade the peace officer, to stop the vehicle as soon as is reasonable in the circumstances.

As the wording of the law shows, it is possible to have a reasonable excuse for fleeing from police. Helping to convince the Crown or the Court that there was a reasonable excuse is one of the things that a great criminal defence lawyer can help with in cases involving fleeing from police.

The penalties for fleeing police vary greatly. If no injury is caused by the fleeing, it is possible to be charged with a summary conviction. Punishments in this case can be six months in jail and/or a $5000 fine. For an indictable offence, maximum jail time is five years. It is easy to see how having a great criminal lawyer working to reduce your charges can make a major difference in your life.

If the fleeing from police caused injury, the maximum prison sentence is 14 years. If the fleeing caused death, you could be imprisoned for life. In these very serious instances, it is important to hire the best lawyer possible to help you manage the outcome of your case.

Driving Offences: Serious Crimes, Serious Penalties

Driving offences are serious crimes that carry serious penalties. In order to inform you about these penalties, we have prepared several blog posts that outline some of the different punishments Canadian law hands out to those who commit driving offences. You could face jail time for every one of these crimes, not to mention fines, and other consequences.

The maximum penalties vary from crime to crime. Every driving offence is either an indictable (more serious) or summary (less serious) offence and some are hybrid, which means they can be either indictable or summary, depending on the circumstances of your case.

All driving offences and their consequences are outlined in the Criminal Code, but hiring a good criminal defence lawyer is the best way to help you successfully navigate the complicated driving-related laws and their penalites. Working with a lawyer who specializes in driving offences will also help you determine what your options are and how to proceed with your charges.

Ottawa Lawyer Defending Motor Vehicle Charges

Charged with a serious motor vehicle crime? You are probably not a career criminal. More likely, you are someone who may have made a one-time serious error in judgment. You want to do your best so that this lapse does not ruin the life. If you are faced with Criminal Code or serious Highway Traffic Act offences, it is important to have a criminal defence lawyer who will defend you vigorously against any motor vehicle crime charge. In some cases, having that defense can make the difference between significant prison time and a traffic ticket.

Read moreOttawa Lawyer Defending Motor Vehicle Charges

Fighting Drinking and Driving Charges:

Fighting Drinking and Driving Charges, gives full consideration to and is a practical guide to the particular issues that affect any person charged with a drinking and driving offence in Canada.  Written by exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced counsel who understand the legal complexities and intricacies of drinking and driving offences, this book is a must read if you or someone you care about is charged with a drinking and driving offence.  The authors engaging writing style and clarity of expression transform a complex legal topic into a clear, straightforward summary of the legal issues raised in drinking and driving cases.”

Marc-Nicholas Quinn, Legal Counsel

Plant Quinn Thiele LLP, Ottawa