NOTE: drunk drivers will rarely face criminal charges today in British Columbia. Instead, they will be subject to ‘administrative sanctions’ referred to as Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRPs) which carry far lesser consequences than the mandatory penalties set out under the Criminal Code of Canada. Outside of British Columbia, impaired driving remains a serious criminal offence.
Impaired driving refers to driving a car, boat, aircraft, train or other motor vehicle (OR being in care or control of such a motor vehicle) when the ability to operate the motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The offences are alternative offences, meaning that a court may convict of one offence or the other, but not both.
The Criminal Code of Canada sets out the mandatory minimum penalties:
(a) for a first, offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000, and a driving prohibition of not more than three years and not less than ONE year;
(b) for a second offence, to IMPRISONMENT of not less than 30 days, and a driving prohibition of not more than five years and not less than TWO years;
(c) for each subsequent offence, to IMPRISONMENT for not less than 120 days, and a driving prohibition of not less than THREE years.
Sentences imposed by the court frequently exceed the minimum penalties set out above.
For those convicted of impaired/0.08 in relation to the operation of a motor vehicle which causes bodily harm to any person, the offender is liable to imprisonment for up to ten years. Where death results, the offender is liable to life imprisonment.
Impaired driving historically carries one of the highest conviction rates of any charge under theCriminal Code of Canada. In order to successfully defend such a charge and avoid the potentially life-changing consequences of a criminal conviction, it is vital to retain skilled counsel dedicated to achieving the very best results.
Wade Jenson has devoted his career to defending those facing criminal allegations and has established a long record of success.
1) R. v. I.
Accused was charged with impaired driving and driving with a blood/alcohol concentration over 80 mg. His former lawyer set the matter down for hearing, but as the trial date approached, told him that he had “zero hope of winning at trial”. Without a valid licence, he would lose lucrative employment in the oil fields of Alberta. Accused decided he needed to hire Kelowna criminal lawyer Wade Jenson, who took over the case and went to trial. Court found accused ‘NOT GUILTY’ on both counts.
2) R. v. D.
The investigating officer arrested the accused for impaired driving and advised him of his right to consult with counsel. He then demanded, pursuant to section 254(3), that he provide the officer with samples of his breath. Once back at the police detachment, the accused attempted to exercise his right to counsel. When he was unsuccessful in reaching counsel of choice, he refused to provide samples and was charged under the Criminal Code. His ability to drive was vital to his career as a general contractor. Facing a mandatory driving prohibition of at least one year upon conviction, he retained criminal defence lawyer Wade Jenson. Wade Jenson succeeded in having all criminal charges dismissed. No driving prohibition.
3) R. v. C.
Driver charged with driving while impaired, having a blood-alcohol level above 0.08, and flight from police, contrary to s. 249.1(1). Original lawyer advised that there was no defence to the impaired or over 0.08 charges and recommended a plea bargain with Crown wherein she would plead guilty to the impaired driving charge in exchange for the Crown dropping the charge of failing to stop for police. However, because a criminal record and a mandatory driving prohibition would result in the loss of her job, her home, and possibly, she felt, her marriage, the driver decided she needed to hire criminal lawyer Wade Jenson to achieve the very best result. Wade Jenson recognized a technical flaw in the Crown’s case which the prosecutor was not able to overcome. ALL CHARGES DISMISSED.