Toronto ON Canada Impaired Driving Offence Lawyer Video

 [GRAPHIC: Neuberger Rose LLP, Toronto Criminal Defense Lawyers, Impaired Driving Offences] Joseph Neuberger: Hello, I’m Joseph Neuberger and welcome to Neuberger Rose Online. I’m joined today by my partners, David Rose and Stacey Nichols, and we’re here to discuss drinking and driving and other impaired related cases. David is it true there’s zero tolerance on drinking and driving cases now? David Rose: Well, you have to be very clear about what zero tolerance means. There’s zero tolerance for impaired driving as it’s known in the criminal code. There’s also zero tolerance with driving with over 80 milligrams percent of alcohol in your blood. Zero tolerance means those two things. However, it’s possible to have one or two drinks and as long as you’re driving with less than 80 milligrams percent and you’re not impaired, then that’s not a criminal offence. It’s a little different when it comes to preventional legislation and license suspension and the license implications of drinking and driving because if you’re driving with over 50 milligrams percent, while it’s not a criminal offence, that could result in your license being suspended by seven days. Joseph Neuberger: Okay, so there’s a distinction between the preventional highway traffic act legislation and the criminal code? David Rose: Absolutely and they capture different types of remedies. Joseph Neuberger: Okay. Stacey, is it true that if somebody is found guilty of a drinking and driving related offence they can still drive? Stacey Nichols: In certain circumstances they can. On an early guilty plea and after having installed the ignition interlock in your car, as well as going through several other steps outlined by the ministry, you can potentially receive your license back. Joseph Neuberger: So an individual would have to apply to the ministry to be eligible for the program and it comes up front with a minimum of a three month period of suspension? Is that right? Stacey Nichols: That’s true. The ministry has complete discretion when it comes to the ignition interlock program and it’s not necessarily everyone convicted or everyone who pleads guilty early who would be eligible for the program. For example, if you have a prior offence, you’re not likely to be eligible for the program or if you’re involved in a more serious drinking and driving offence which involves an accident or something like that. Joseph Neuberger: But if somebody resolves a case in that manner they’re still guilty of an offence and they still have a criminal record. Is that correct? Stacey Nichols: Absolutely. Joseph Neuberger: Okay, but let’s talk about something different. Can a person only be charged with being impaired by alcohol or are there other means in which someone can be charged? David Rose: It’s always been an offence to drive a motor vehicle while impaired by a drug, just been a little bit more difficult for the prosecution to make out that type of case. The last few years, the government’s changed the legislation so that now they have what are called drug recognition experts. These are specially trained police officers who administer a battery of tests on a driver to find out whether they are impaired by, for instance, marijuana, cocaine, opiates and things like that. Joseph Neuberger: Prescription medication for example? David Rose: Even that too, absolutely. And that’s a very technical way of defending a case. We’ve done many of those cases over the years at Neuberger Rose and it’s important to absolutely know what those tests will prove, but more importantly what they won’t. Joseph Neuberger: Well Stacey, in an impaired by drug case, do the officers apply a test similar to an impaired case by alcohol and there’s something you blow in or are these some subjective tests that the officer conducts himself? Stacey Nichols: Well I think they are, I mean, in a regular drinking and driving offence an office generally uses very common initiative impairment that everyone knows about, slurring of words, bloodshot eyes, not walking in a straight line. Now some of the tests they use in the drug impairment cases are similar, but they’re more specialized and more refined and there’s actually officers who are very specially trained in order to detect impairment by drug. Joseph Neuberger: So, the sense I’m getting is these types of tests the officers are applying are really quite subjective because their observing behavior and their making determinations upon what their seeing. How does that allow a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to attack that type of case? David Rose: Well, I think you have to understand these tests as well, if not better than the police officer who’s testifying. So, you have to understand with these tests, first of all how they’re properly administered and they have to be very specifically administered under difficult circumstances and that’s a method of attack for a good lawyer because these tests are not taken under ideal circumstances at a police station. Quite often it’s at a roadside of a busy freeway and with no lighting and so forth. But I think it’s also important to know what these tests will not show. So for instance, there’s limitations to each tests and these are known in the literature. So, they have what they call false positives. Joseph Neuberger: Right. David Rose: It’s important for the lawyer to understand what limitations are attached to those tests to defend the client properly. Joseph Neuberger: I think it’s important then for a defense lawyer to have a good understanding and knowledge of the scientific basis of these tests that the officers are applying order to attack the case? David Rose: Absolutley. These people who have arthritic problems, people that are overweight; those people will have difficulty performing those tests even when they’re plain stone cold sober. Joseph Neuberger: Well thank you. Thank you for joining us at Neuberger Rose Online. If you have any questions regarding this topic or any other criminal law issues, please join us at www.nrlawyers.com. Thank you very much. [End of Audio]