Driving Over The Limit Lawyer in Toronto

Andrew Captan is a Toronto Criminal Lawyer with experience in defending individuals charged with Drinking and Driving offences, including the offence of “Driving Over the Limit, or Excess Blood Alcohol Concentration.  He often gets consulted by other criminal lawyers who are preparing for a trial in order to assist with legal strategy.

The Drinking and Driving Law was overhauled in December 2018 by Parliament, by making the laws more strict and affording the police with additional powers when investigating these charges. The new law — An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Act — amended the Criminal Code of Canada when it comes to DUI law and other driving offences.

The new wording of the DUI offences is set out under s. 320.14 of the Criminal Code.    The section now reads: (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;

The Excess Blood Alcohol offence, one of the most common DUI offences laid, falls under paragraph (b).  The offence has changed, making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 80mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood or more.  Before the change in law, it was anything over 80mg that was prohibited.  Moreover, the offence can now occur even after an individual has ceased driving.

Some of the other important changes in the law surrounding DUIs includes:

  • The police can perform randomized roadside screening tests on an Approved Screening Device, whereas before they required a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver had alcohol in their system
  • The minimum punishment scheme has changed, for example, by making the minimum fine on a Refusal of Breath Sample charge $2,000 rather than $1,000
  • It is now “aggravating” to have a BAC of 120 mg of alcohol in your system, while before it was 160mg.

The offence of Over 80 is a very technical one, offering a range of potential technical defences.   Blood alcohol levels are typically determined by a police officer (who is also a qualified breath technician) performing a breathalyzer test on a suspect.   If the readings are greater than the limit prescribed by the Criminal Code of Canada, then the suspect would be charged with the criminal offence of Over 80.

There are a variety of technical issues that arise when defending these charges, as well as Charter of Rights and Freedoms issues, particularly s. 8 (the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure), s. 9 (the right to not be arbitrarily detained) and s 10(b) (rights to counsel).

Call (647) 878 – 6355 to speak to an experienced DUI Lawyer in Toronto before deciding how you wish to plead.