Drinking and driving is a lot more common than you might think. More than 1,000 drinking and driving related deaths happen each year in Canada. This does not even account for the many charges that are issued each year without accidents occurring. Because of the widespread problem of drinking and driving, you can bet that the prosecution will come to court prepared if you get charged with impaired driving. Read on to learn what you should know about facing an impaired driving charge in a court of law.
Why was I charged with impaired driving?
A lot of discretion is left to the law enforcement officer who pulls you over and suspects that you have been drinking. While the legal breathalyzer limit throughout Canada is .08 percent, an officer can still charge you if your blood alcohol content is lower, but they believed that your driving was impaired.
How many drinks does it take to be impaired?
This varies greatly depending on a lot of different factors. The most practical thing to consider is your body weight. For a man who weighs 180 pounds, it will take approximately four drinks to get to the .08 percent. For a woman of 140 pounds, two drinks brings her close to the limit and can greatly affect her ability to control a vehicle.
Can an attorney really help me with an impaired driving case after I've failed a breathalyzer?
Absolutely. While a failed breathalyzer might scare the daylights out of you, attorneys recognize that a lot of factors go into proving your guilt. They use a variety of defenses to help you with your charge, including:
- A defense that the law enforcement officer had no probable cause to pull you over to administer a breathalyzer
- A defense rooted in medical issues. Acid reflux is known to cause abnormal spikes in breathalyzer tests
- A defense rooted in the accuracy of the breathalyzer machine
- A defense rooted in foul play by the law enforcement agency
What happens if I get convicted of the charge?
If you are convicted of impaired driving in Canada, the courts have the right to sentence you to 5 years in prison. Even on the first conviction, the courts have minimum sentences of 30 days. A judge can use their discretion on whether or not to suspend the sentence or force you to serve the full 30 days.
To get the representation that you are entitled to, hire a credible lawyer who can assist you. One business that offers this service is Connolly & Associates.