In America this type of charge is often referred to as a “DUI” which is short for Driving Under the Influence. In Canada you will usually be charged, if it is alcohol related, with both an “.08” charge and a charge of “Impaired operation”. It is important to note that even though you may not meet the legal test for impaired driving, you can still be convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or over. They are two different, but related charges.
Also be aware that a “conveyance” is not limited to a motor vehicle, but also includes operating a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment. “Vessel” also includes a hovercraft.
The Crown will introduce into evidence a Certificate indicating your blood alcohol content taken by a certified technician. There are many technical offenses relating to the admissibility of such certificates. You must now may apply to the court for an order requiring the attendance of the person who signed the certificate for the purposes of cross-examination. The application has to be made in writing and given to the Crown prosecutor at least 30 days in advance of the hearing of the application. The application itself has to be heard at least 30 days before the trial date.
The Criminal Code provisions are as follows:
Operation while impaired
- 320.14 (1) Everyone commits an offence who
- (a) operates a conveyance while the person’s ability to operate it is impaired to any degree by alcohol or a drug or by a combination of alcohol and a drug;
- (b) subject to subsection (5), has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood alcohol concentration that is equal to or exceeds 80 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood;
- (c) subject to subsection (6), has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation; or
- (d) subject to subsection (7), has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood alcohol concentration and a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood alcohol concentration and the blood drug concentration for the drug that are prescribed by regulation for instances where alcohol and that drug are combined.
Operation causing bodily harm
- (2) Everyone commits an offence who commits an offence under subsection (1) and who, while operating the conveyance, causes bodily harm to another person.
Operation causing death
- (3) Everyone commits an offence who commits an offence under subsection (1) and who, while operating the conveyance, causes the death of another person.
Operation — low blood drug concentration
- (4) Subject to subsection (6), everyone commits an offence who has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation and that is less than the concentration prescribed for the purposes of paragraph (1)(c).
For a first offence, the minimum fine is $1000.00 and the minimum driving suspension is one year (and no, there is no limited suspension or ability for an exclusion to drive to and from work).
It is important to note that impaired driving charges are open to a number of defences but they can be of a very technical nature. It is best to consult an experienced defence lawyer to review the circumstances and provide advice. It may be possible to work out a compromise with the Crown or enter a plea to a provincial Motor Vehicle Act offence, which will not result in a criminal record.
You should also be aware that if you are convicted of certain criminal code driving offences you may fall into the exception to no-fault insurance in B.C. and open yourself up to a civil lawsuit for personal injury, loss and damages. ICBC will not cover you. Any insurance coverage you had will be held to have been breached. If a successful civil suit is brought against you expose your assets to seizure and sale if a judgment is obtained against you.
Contact PG Kent. He will work with you to ensure the best possible result.
Criminal Defence Lawyer
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