Steven Slimovitch will ensure that you get the legal guidance and representation that you need. Because driving charges are so common in this country, many people falsely believe that they do not require the skill of a legal expert. This is simply not the case. If you are facing a driving charge, you need an experienced lawyer on your side who will protect your rights and provide you with informed legal counsel throughout the process. What follows is a brief review of the law regarding driving offences in Canada.
There are three main driving offences in Canada:
Impaired: Driving or Care and Control (by alcohol or a drug)
Over 80: Driving or Care and Control
Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample
Each of these offences are prosecuted and defended in different ways, but the common thread is the potential punishment that a person faces if convicted. There are mandatory minimum sentences in place for these offences.
For a first offence, a minimum $1000 fine and a 12-month driving prohibition.
For a second offence, a minimum 30 days in jail and a 2-year driving prohibition.
For any subsequent offence, a minimum 120 days in jail and a 3-year driving prohibition.
In every case, if convicted of one of these offences, you will get a criminal record, most surely much higher insurance rates once you are able to resume driving, and finally, you will have to complete a course from the SAAQ in order to have your licence reinstated.
The potential penalties are even greater when a drinking and driving offence leads to a person becoming injured or killed.
In light of the significant consequences of being found guilty of one of these offences, it is important to have a lawyer experienced with defending drinking and driving charges, to review your case and assess your possible defences.
Care and Control:
Were you charged with a drinking and driving offence even though you weren't driving? Sometimes people are charged with being in “care and control” of a vehicle while impaired or while having excess blood alcohol. This is common where a person has decided to "sleep it off" in their car. These cases can be defended by assessing the intention of the person to operate the vehicle and the likelihood of the vehicle being accidentally set into motion. The location of the keys to the vehicle, the position of the person in the vehicle, and the person's plans of alternate method of transportation are all relevant considerations to defending a case of alleged care and control.
Refusal to Provide Breath Samples:
Canadians are under a legal obligation to provide samples of their breath when legally requested to do so, unless they have a “reasonable excuse” to refuse. The first step in defending a charge of refusing to provide a breath sample is to evaluate whether the demand for the breath samples was a valid one. If the demand was invalid, then it is not an offence to refuse to comply. Defence counsel must also evaluate whether there was a reasonable excuse for the failure or refusal to provide a breath sample. Refusals must be final and unequivocal, so it must also be assessed whether you were given a reasonable opportunity to provide the requested sample.
Accumulation of Demerit Points
Depending on the category of license that one holds, the number of demerit points that one can accumulate before losing one’s liscense differs. From a maximum of 4 points for a “new” driver all the way to 15 points in the case of a complete license. An experienced lawyer like Mr. Slimovitch is often able to negotiate with the prosecutor such that one does not accumulate an excessive number of demerit points, thereby saving one’s license.