Government Aiming to Introduce Random Breathalyzer Tests for Impaired Driving

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Impaired Driving and “Over 80” charges are a serious threat and a very big concern for Ontario drivers. But up until now, you have only had to worry about receiving these charges if you have been pulled over for driving erratically, or showing signs of drunkenness behind the wheel at a roadside screening station.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is planning to change that with new legislation at the provincial and federal levels, which will give police officers the right to conduct breathalyzer tests at random – no erratic driving or drunken behavior necessary.

Canadian news sources are reporting that Minister Nicholson has already met with provincial lawmakers in Alberta and British Columbia. He will, however, need the support of every province before he can attempt to introduce the federal laws allowing random roadside breath tests.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada made the news earlier this month by making calls for new Canadian laws that would allow random roadside testing.

As far as criminal defence lawyers are concerned, there is one worrying aspect of these potential new laws: they may be a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms , which forbids unreasonable search.

I have successfully proven, in many cases, that arrests and charges for Impaired Driving were not appropriate – and I have had many of these charges dismissed. Laws which legalize tests at random would only serve to increase the number of unreasonable driving arrests in Ontario.

Have you been charged with Impaired Driving, “Over 80,” or any other criminal driving offence in Ontario? It’s important to speak with a top criminal defence lawyer who can inform you on your rights and help you win your case. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

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

Defending Drunk Driving Charges in Ontario

Criminal defence lawyer Richard Auger has defended many clients charged with motor vehicle offences, including impaired driving, driving “over 80” and refusal to provide a breath sample.

Call us at 613- 233-4529 so we can use our experience to help you.

There is a lot at stake…

If you are convicted of a drunk driving offence, the penalties are serious:

  • Minimum one-year driving prohibition
  • Fine ranging from $600 to $2000
  • Ignition interlock for at least one year (rental cost about $1200 annually)
  • Mandatory attendance at a remedial program at a cost of about $500 prior to licence reinstatement
  • A criminal record

In addition, you will likely suffer a significant increase in your car insurance premiums after conviction.

If your blood alcohol was more than double the legal limit,  or you had a collision, someone was injured or you have a previous conviction for a similar driving offence, the repercussions may be much more severe.

You could face a jail sentence and a life-time driving suspension.

How can Auger Hollingsworth help?

There are several defences that may apply depending on circumstances.

We know how to review the disclosure (the Crown’s evidence, primarily from the police) to determine if your Charter rights were violated during the process leading up to your arrest.  We will look at:

  • the reason you were stopped
  • if and how the road side screening test was administered
  • whether and how you were given your rights to counsel
  • whether the timelines prescribed by the Criminal Code were followed

…among other things.

We will consider whether there is evidence that you were not in fact over the legal alcohol limit.

We will consider whether you were actually driving, or in care or control, of the car.

Once we have an understanding about the weaknesses in the Crown’s case, we will discuss your options with you.  We can show the Crown the problem with the case and encourage a favorable resolution for you, including that the charges be withdrawn.

We are always prepared to defend you vigorously at trial.

How Can You Help Yourself?

It is tempting to tell your family and friends the “whole story” leading to your arrest.  Don’t.  Keep the details to yourself and your lawyer.

Make detailed notes of what happened of the events leading up to your arrest and provide them to your lawyer.  Try to make these notes as soon as possible after you are released from the police station while the events are still fresh.  At the top of these notes write the title “Private and Confidential Notes for the purpose of obtaining Legal Advice”.

In your notes, record:

  • what you ate and when (start with breakfast and work through the day)
  • where you were and at what time
  • what, if anything you had to drink
  • the size and strength of those drinks
  • how you paid for anything you consumed
  • who was with you
  • what route(s) you took
  • how you were stopped by the police
  • did you have a cell phone available
  • what the police said to you
  • what you said to the police
  • how the road side breath test was administered
  • how the breathalyzer was administered
  • what was said to you about your right to obtain legal advice
  • who you contacted for legal advice, and
  • any other details prior to your release from the station

Do not share the notes with anyone, but bring them with you when you meet with your lawyer.

Keep all receipts and credit card statements.

45 Facts You Should Learn about Ontario Drunk Driving Cases

Six elements that must be proven before you can be found guilty of impaired driving in Ontario:

  1. You identity
  2. As a driver
  3. Of a motor vehicle
  4. As a driver operating a motor vehicle in a public place while
  5. Your blood alcohol was over one of the prescribed limit by
  6. the introduction of alcohol into the body

Ten items your Ottawa defence lawyer wants to know:

  1. What your schedule was before the arrest.
  2. What you drank and how much.
  3. Described you observations of the officer.
  4. Why the officer says he or she stopped you.
  5. Were you asked to take roadside tests?
  6. The results on roadside tests.
  7. The results on roadside tests.
  8. What you said to the officer.
  9. The results of any breath or blood tests.
  10. The names and contact information for any witnesses to your arrest.
  11. How long it took from the time of your arrest to the time the breathalyzer was administered.

Three ways your defence lawyer can discredit the arresting officer’s testimony:

  1. Inconsistent statements by the officer or officers involved in the arrest.
  2. Failure on the part of the police officer to recollect your case.
  3. Failure to make important notations in the officer’s duty to book notes, for example failure to record the time of the arrest and the time of breathalyzer.

Three secrets the Crown Attorney does not want you to know:

  1. The Crown does not have all the witnesses available to prove the case.
  2. The Crown has exculpatory evidence which would prove your innocence.
  3. The Crown has evidentiary problems in proving your blood alcohol level.

Four things that are crucial to your defence:

  1. An excellent investigation of the facts.
  2. Skillful cross-examination.
  3. A thorough understanding of your Charter Rights.
  4. An experienced criminal defence lawyer.

Five ways to challenge the results of the alcohol tests:

  1. Prove the officer lacked a reasonable suspicion that you were violating the law.
  2. Prove that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest you or demand the roadside tests.
  3. Prove that the officer failed to inform  you of your rights concerning a breath or blood test.
  4. Prove that the officer lacked probable cause before he arrested you and before he required you to take a blood or breath test.
  5. Prove that the officer failed to tell you that you have a right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer.

Two considerations before deciding to please guilty to impaired driving:

  1. How strong is the Crown’s case against you?
  2. What will the outcome be of an impaired conviction?

Four pretrial motions that your defence lawyer should file, and the danger to you if they are not:

  1. Motion to exclude evidence on the ground that you were unconstitutionally stopped.
  2. Motion to exclude evidence on the grounds that there was an unconstitutional search and seizure.
  3. Motion to exclude statements on failure to give advise you of your right to remain silent and your right to consult a lawyer.
  4. Motion for disclosure of all Crown evidence.

If these motions are not filed by an experienced criminal defence lawyer, your case may not be dismissed when it should have been.  Plain and simple.

Seven defence tactics in pre-trial motions:

  1. Challenge the constitutionality of the stop.
  2. Challenge the constitutionality of the administration of the roadside tests.
  3. Challenge the constitutionality of the probable cause to arrest.
  4. Challenge whether the appropriate Charter warning were administered.
  5. Challenge how the roadside tests were given.
  6. Challenge the use of any blood or breath test.
  7. Challenge the constitutionality of any search and seizure.

Charged with impaired driving in Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Perth Ontario, Cornwall or other Ontario location?  A criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth would be pleased to review your case for you.  Contact us here or by telephone at 613 233-4529.

Quebec Seeks Dangerous Offender Status for Impaired Driver

It’s a legal provision generally reserved for the very worst criminals.

A Quebec prosecutor has applied to designate a repeat impaired driver who killed a 47 year old woman last year a dangerous offender.  Although it is unlikely that this application will succeed, it sends a message that Quebec Crown attorneys are getting tougher on impaired driving, over 80 driving and related criminal charges.

If you have been charged with impaired driving, driving over 80, dui or any related criminal charge, get the expert advice you require.  For a free consultation with an experienced Ottawa impaired driving lawyer, click here.

Impaired Driving Alleged in Highway 138 Accident

On Highway 138, a male driver of a pick up truck, collided with a car driven by Heather Saaltink.  Ms. Saaltink was killed in the accident.   The male is currently facing charges, including impaired driving.

If you face serious criminal charges from an impaired driving or over 80 incident, order a free copy of “Fighting Drinking and Driving Charges” and play an active role in your case.

Get a Copy of Fighting Drinking and Driving Charges

Ottawa Lawyer Richard Auger has recently published “Fighting Drinking and Driving Charges” because he believes that people charged with drinking and driving, impaired driving, Over 80 or a related criminal offence are entitled to receive the important information to play an active role in their case.

Help eliminate the myths about drinking and driving charges.  Order and review the book here.