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Receiving a DUI – Charges Over 80: Impaired Driving in Ontario

This article will explain what you need to know before meeting with a DUI lawyer to discuss a drinking and driving defense for your case. When deciding to fight a drinking and driving charge, the best place to start is to understand what charges over 80 actually means.

In this article we will discuss all of the factors that come into play when a client is fighting the drinking and driving charge of over 80 in Ontario.

What is the impaired driving?

Simply put, the definition of impaired driving in Ontario is operating a motor vehicle while the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many people are actually shocked to learn that the term "motor vehicle" does not only apply to just the traditional car.

What is considered a motor vehicle?

The following are considered motor vehicles, if you are caught over the legal limit of alcohol in your system and you are operating any of the following, charges over 80 charges may be laid by police:

  • Trucks
  • Cars
  • Motor Boats
  • Snowmobiles
  • Skidoos
  • Off-road vehicles

What does impaired driving over 80 mean?

The most common meaning of the term "charges over 80" refers to the fact that a driver was operating his or her motor vehicle with more than 80mg of alcohol for every 100ml of blood in their system. Operating a vehicle while your blood alcohol level is above 80 mg is considered impaired by Ontario standards and is against the law.

Most people who are arrested for driving over 80 mgs had no idea that they had consumed over the legal amount of alcohol. Many drivers say that they drive because they don't "feel drunk" and that they think they are ok to drive. Unfortunately, a driver does not need to feel drunk or impaired for them to be considered driving under the influence. Often times having just one more drink can be the difference between having too much alcohol in a drivers system, resulting in the driver receiving a DUI charge. Often times, the driver does not realize they are putting themselves and their passengers at risk by having "just one more drink". What if a driver is not weaving all over the road and doesn't appear drunk? What are other reasons a police officer would request that a driver take a breathalyzer test?

When can police give you a breathalyzer?

The police have the right to ask a driver to take a breathalyzer when:

  • The driver of the motor vehicle has been arrested before for impaired driving or a drinking and driving related charge
  • The police have pulled over the driver for an unrelated offence like speeding and the officer can smell alcohol on the drivers breath or inside the car
  • The police officer can see an open or unopen liquor within reach of the driver. Example, there is an open bottle of vodka on the drivers passenger seat
  • If the driver tells the police officer that they have consumed an alcoholic beverage prior to driving their motor vehicle
  • The police witness the accused is driving erratically and does not have control over his motor vehicle

How you can be charged with driving over 80 in Ontario:

  • The charge for driving with more than 80 mg of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood is commonly referred to as an "over 80 charges".
  • An over 80 charge is laid when a driver has been taken to the police station, provides 2 breath samples that are 15 minutes apart, using a breathalyzer and the lowest result of the 2 tests show a reading that indicates the driver exceeds the legal limit of 80 mg of alcohol for every 100 ml of blood.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?

If a police officer instructs a driver to take a breathalyzer test and they refuse to take it by either flat out refusing and saying no to the officer, or by not providing a sufficient sample, for example, pretending to blow into the device so it does not register a reading, that person will be charged with refusing/failing to comply. At this point, the Crown will be required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is the penalty for impaired driving in Ontario?

According to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario depending on how concentrated your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC), or how many times you have committed a drinking and driving offence, will determine how harsh or severe your punishment is.

The minimum penalty for a drivers first drinking and driving offence:

  • Attending a mandatory alcohol treatment and education program
  • 1 year min that an offenders car will be equipped with an ignition interlock device
  • No jail sentence first offence
  • $1,000 fine – Not including other fines or towing charges
  • Your Drivers Licence will be suspended for 1 year

The minimum penalty for a second drinking and driving offence is:

  • Having to attend mandatory alcohol education or treatment program
  • There is a 3 year minimum requirement to drive a car equipped with an ignition interlock device
  • 30 day min. jail sentence
  • The Judge will decide what the fine will be set at
  • Drivers licence will be suspended for 3 years

The third drinking and driving offence:

  • Driver will have to take a mandatory alcohol education/treatment program
  • There will be a lifetime min. requirement that the driver has his/her car equipped with an ignition interlock device
  • Driver will face120-day minimum jail sentence
  • The Judge will decide what the fine will be set at
  • Driver will receive a lifetime licence suspension (this suspension can be reduced to 10 years if certain conditions are met to the judges satisfaction)

In Ontario, the penalties that come with being found guilty of the drinking and driving charge over 80 drinking and driving charge can be embarrassing and scary. Receiving a driving over 80 charge will also wind up being expensive and devastating, it will lead to a suspension of your license, you will receive a criminal record and experience large increases in your insurance premiums (if your insurance company chooses to keep you as a customer). Seeking professional representation to fight your drinking and driving charges is crucial. Our experienced drinking and driving lawyers will help you get through this difficult process and do their very best to get you the best outcome possible.

Drinking and driving charges are all unique and require careful consideration, planning and deliberation when it comes to proving our clients case. When meeting with your lawyer for the first time, it is very important to tell him/her all of the facts that are related to your case. Sometimes, it is hard to know which facts are important and which are not, a general rule of thumb is to tell your lawyer everything and they will determine from there.

After you receive a drinking and driving charge:

In order to give you good legal advice, a lawyer must know all the facts. You should start thinking about your legal defence the moment you are arrested and taken to the police station. It is imperative to remember as many details as possible, such as: time, sequence of events, locations, and conversations you had. When meeting with your lawyer show up prepared, make copies of all important documents, and also print out a copy of everything you remember about the day/night you were arrested. This will speed up the process and provide a more clear understanding of your arrest to your drinking and driving lawyer .

What can a drinking and driving lawyer help with?

  • Discuss and advise client of their best options for a successful outcome
  • Review evidence
  • Make additional requests for evidence
  • Attend court on behalf of the client
  • Negotiate case with the prosecutor
  • Seek to have charges withdrawn, or reach a resolution

The Lawyers at Toronto DUI can deal with even the most complex, complicated and difficult cases for clients. We are experts in building a strong drinking and driving defense for clients we represent, which often times result in the best possible outcome. We have helped hundreds of our clients avoid jail time, large fines and license suspensions. We have also worked diligently to ensure some of our clients did not receive a criminal record. Let our expert legal team at Toronto DUI help you win your case!

A DUI is a severe charge that can stick with you for a very long time. Anytime you receive a DUI it is imperative that you fight your charges. Often times there is lack of evidence or there are interfering issues within your case that will prevent the Crown from proving their case. Hiring a drinking and lawyer will make sure that this incident will not derail your life.

Be sure to see an impaired driving lawyer as soon as possible, when all of the details are still vivid in your memory. Avoid having a criminal record and incurring expensive fines, contact us! To learn more about how we can help you fight your case, contact Toronto DUI today for a free consultation at: 416-800-1322.

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