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

What Should I do If I am Arrested by the Police?

As an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer, I am often asked what someone should do if he or she is arrested by the police in connection with a crime.

If you are ever arrested by the police for a crime like fraud, tax evasion, assault, impaired driving or even homicide, the worst thing you can do is to talk to the police about “what happened”.  Protesting your innocence to the police will not get you anywhere and may make things much more difficult for your criminal defence lawyer.

Instead of trying to talk your way out of the criminal charges, politely but firmly indicate that you would like to speak with a criminal defence lawyer.  You really should not say more than that.  Even small comments can be used by the Crown against you in a trial.

Make the most of your telephone call with a criminal defence lawyer.  Keep in mind that you do not only get one call as they say on television.  If you do not reach your counsel of choice, in many cases you can leave a message for a return call or select another lawyer of your choice to try to call.

During the call, the lawyer will probably not want you to talk about the nitty gritty of your case.  Instead, the criminal defence lawyer will want to explain to you how to cope with the arrest process and what to expect.  The strategy for defending against the charges will be developed after the arrest process is completed and you are either released on bail or moved to the detention centre.

While your arrest is processed, you may be placed in a holding cell.  In Ottawa, most areas of the cell blocks are video taped. In some circumstances there may be audio as well.  Your behaviour during that process will be recorded.  Accordingly, you should be calm, cool and collected.

An arrest for a criminal charge is scary and undesirable.  However, with thoughtful advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer like Richard Auger, the disruption to your life can be minimized.

So You Want to Be a Surety – What is a Surety? Seven Important Facts

1. What is a surety?

A surety is a person who agrees to be responsible for someone who is accused of a crime and out of custody while waiting for trial. It is a big job, not to be taken lightly.

2. What are a surety’s duties?

  1. To ensure the accused person comes to courts on time when required;
  2. To ensure the accused person obeys each condition of the bail order or recognizance. For example, the accused person may have to report to police or may have a curfew. He or she may be prohibited from drinking alcohol.

3. Does a surety have to deposit money and if so how much?

Sometimes a cash deposit is required if someone is a surety.

More often a surety signs a bond for a certain amount.

There is no fixed amount of money that a surety must pledge.  The amount will vary based on the accused person and the charges and also based on the amount that the surety pledges relative to his or her net worth.

In other words, if you only have $10,000.00 to your name the amount you may be asked to pledge could be less than if you are a millionaire.

4. What if the accused person does not comply with the bail order?

You should not accept to be a surety unless you are sure you can supervise the accused person.

If the accused person disobeys a condition, he or she may be charged with another criminal offence.

You may lose the money you pledge as a surety.

5. What if I no longer want to be a surety?

The obligations of a surety last until the case is completely over. This may take a long time.

If you wish to end your role as a surety before the case is over here are your choices:

  1. You can bring the accused person to court and ask that you be relieved of your responsibilities, or
  2. You can come to court and apply in writing to be relieved of your duties. The court will then issue and order for the arrest of the accused person.

It is also sometimes possible to substitute one surety for another, but this must be done on an application to the Court.

6. Who is eligible to be a surety?

Whether or not the judge or justice of the peace accepts you as a surety is dependant on the specific situation, including the type of charges and the accused person’s criminal record.

The Court will consider your finances, your character and background.  Although it is not impossible, it is unusual for someone with a criminal record to be a surety.

The Court will also consider whether the surety has the time to properly supervise the accused person.  Someone whose schedule is full may not be a suitable surety.

7. Can the accused person’s lawyer give me advice about being a surety?

No.  The accused person’s lawyer cannot give you legal advice.  Sometimes a surety will obtain independent legal advise ensure that he or she is fully aware of the rights and obligations.

If you or a loved one need help getting out of jail on bail, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  A criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth can assist you.  Contact us by clicking here or by telephone at 613 233-4529.

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

Husband and Wife Both Charged with Impaired Driving

According to the Ottawa Sun, a Mississippi Mills husband and wife were both charged with impaired driving inlate October. Apparently, the same officer arrested both spouses in two separate incidents within half an hour of one another.

The Sun reports that the husband left an event in the couple’s car on Scotch Corners Rd., west of Carleton Place at about 2 a.m. After he was arrested and while he was sitting in the police cruiser, the police spotted another car on Highway 7 near Ramsay Concession 5A. It turns out it was the wife who was out looking for her husband. She was arrested as well.

The case will be heard in Perth, Ontario.

Looking for a lawyer to assist with impaired driving charges?  Contact Richard Auger by email [email protected] or by telephone: 613 233-4529.  All calls are confidential.

Police Crime Tracking System Announced

A new crime tracker is now available locate criminal activity in the Ottawa area.  The police announcement is here.

Ottawa Criminal Lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth strive to keep you up-to-date on local criminal law related issues.  Why not subscribe to our feed?