Ottawa DUI Lawyer
An arrest for drunk driving in Canada is no joke. Alcohol inhibits a person’s ability to think and act rationally, and, when combined with driving, often causes catastrophic auto accidents. Alcohol-related driving offences are the most common offences before the Courts in Ontario and Quebec. “Alcohol driving offences” refer to “over 80”, Impaired Driving, Fail to Provide a Breath Sample, DUI, “care and control” and breathalyzer refusal cases.
If police arrest you for driving under the influence in Ottawa or Quebec, cooperate and request a lawyer after you have been booked. At David Anber’s Law Office, we defend Canadians accused of driving with alcohol or drug impairment, with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit or failing to provide a breath sample, every day. We understand you may be nervous about your driving privileges, freedom, and future. Our legal team can carefully review your case and help you build a solid defence that safeguards your rights, freedom and reputation. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled defence lawyers, call 1-888-989-3946 or contact us online.
Plead not guilty: why a trial is the best option
In Ontario and Quebec, the Crown Prosecutors have policies that direct them to over-zealously prosecute these kinds of offences. Of course drinking and driving is dangerous and should be taken seriously. However, over the past few decades, damage and injury from DUI cases has decreased. Whereas decades ago DUI wasn’t seen as a serious issue, it is now generally understood to be a serious mistake.
It’s important to note that pleading guilty to a drinking and driving charge can have serious consequences, including a criminal record, fines, and even jail time. At David Anber’s Law Office, we rarely plead our clients guilty and instead work tirelessly to defend them and protect their rights.
However, the policies employed in prosecuting this crime are often unfair. First offenders who have made a “one-off” error in judgment are effectively treated the same way as someone who may be a higher risk. People who sleep in their car to avoid driving home are prosecuted as vigorously as people who get into minor/moderate accidents as a result of drinking and driving. People who blow 0.085 (just slightly over the legal limit of 0.080) are usually prosecuted with the same zeal as people who blow 2 or 3 times the legal limit. If you have been charged with one of these offences, the prosecutor wants you to be found guilty and to receive a criminal conviction.
Plea of guilty
In some rare cases, we recommend pleading guilty. Examples may include where:
- You have a prior conviction and the mandatory jail time is taken off the table;
- A careful consideration of the risks and benefits in your unique circumstances favour a quick resolution with a plea of guilty.
If you plead guilty, you cannot receive a conditional discharge or absolute discharge (which means you will have a criminal record). You will also receive a fine of $1,000.00 or more. Also, there is a 30% surcharge added (called the “victim surcharge” and also known as the “victim fine surcharge”).
A first-time impaired driving offence is worth fighting. If police stop your vehicle, they will request your licence and question whether you have been drinking. Next, they will determine if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If they believe you are impaired, they may then ask for a breath sample.
In the event that your breath sample registers over the legal limit, or if they believe you are seriously impaired, you will be arrested, notified of your right to a defence lawyer, and further samples of your blood and breath will be collected at the police station.
Keep in mind that a roadside breath sample is not sufficient evidence to convict you of an alcohol related offence. Instead, a device called the Intoxilyzer® 8000C must be used to gather an accurate sample.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty after a trial:
- You are guaranteed to receive a criminal record 100% of the time;
- You are guaranteed to be prohibited from driving for at least 1 year (subject to some provincial rules regarding early reinstatement);
- You are guaranteed to suffer serious consequences from things like insurance rate increases and thousands of dollars of fines, fees surcharges and costs.
If you plead not guilty and fight the matter at trial, none of these negative consequences are guaranteed even if your case looks weak. The fact is that a lawyer who knows DUI law in Canada will almost always be able to find some way of giving you a fighting chance. The law of impaired driving is very technical. The police take your bodily substance (your breath), without a warrant, and then they use it against you in Court. Since we live in a democratic country, these are not issues to be taken lightly.
The police must follow the rules the law imposes (similar to how they want you to follow the law) and if they don’t follow all the rules, the evidence they collect (such as breath tests) can be thrown out if the right arguments are made and accepted by the judge.
Examples of defences that can apply (this is not a complete list) are where:
- We cast doubt on whether the Crown prosecutor has convincingly proven that you were driving;
- We cast doubt on whether or not the prosecutor has proven that you were impaired beyond a reasonable doubt;
- The police did not follow the rules about what they are supposed to do, and when and how they are supposed to do it;
- A breath demand was improper;
- Where a road side breath sample was illegally obtained;
- Where a breath sample at the station was illegally obtained;
- Where you can demonstrate evidence to the contrary through things such as bolus drinking (a large quantity of alcohol consumed shortly before dealing with the police) post-driving-drinking, or evidence of consumption in some rare cases;
- Where there has been an unreasonable delay in bringing you to trial;
- Where the officer/key witness does not appear and the Crown does not get an adjournment, or where a key witness makes a crucial mistake in their testimony;
- Other defences
What are the penalties for impaired driving in Ontario?
Anyone found guilty of impaired driving in Canada faces a mandatory minimum sentence. Depending on the details of your case, these are the penalties you may face:
- A fine of at least $1,000 (excluding fees and surcharges)
- At least one-year driving prohibition
- An automatic minimum 30-day jail sentence
- A minimum two-year driving prohibition
- A fine based on the judge’s discretion
- An automatic minimum 120-day jail sentence
- A minimum three-year driving prohibition
- A fine based on the judge’s discretion
Listed above are the minimum penalties for impaired driving. Five years of imprisonment is the maximum penalty for impaired driving unless it results in injury or loss of life.
For injuring another person while driving impaired, you could face up to 10 years of imprisonment. If your impaired driving takes a person’s life, you could face a life sentence.
How to get a DUI case dismissed in Ontario
DUI cases are not open and shut. Our lawyers routinely get DUI charges reduced or dismissed for our Ottawa and Quebec clients.
Here are some examples of possible DUI defence strategies in Canada:
- Challenge the accuracy of the Field Sobriety Tests
- Challenge the breath test accuracy
- Prove the arresting officer failed to issue an implied consent warning
- argue that you were not notified of your Charter rights
- Explain that your Charter rights were violated
- Show that you were stopped at an unlawful checkpoint stop or arrest
- Establish that you are the victim of racial profiling
Every DUI case in Canada is different. After reviewing the details of your arrest, we can help you tailor a strategic defence that safeguards your rights and future.
Ottawa DUI lawyers defend you against impaired driving charges
At David Anber’s Law Office, we are dedicated to helping Canadians fight unjust alcohol related driving charges. Whether you are arrested for driving under the influence or refusal to submit to a breath test, we are ready to advocate for your rights. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our skilled defence lawyers, call 1-888-989-3946 or contact us online.