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


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