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Etobicoke woman cleared of failing to provide breath sample

An exhaustive, detail-oriented approach is typically necessary to defend successfully against a charge of impaired driving or driving over 80. While many people are charged with impaired driving each year in Ontario, not everyone accused of this offence is guilty. To arrive at the facts of the matter, these questions should be asked:

  • Was the traffic stop legal?
  • Were any of the driver's Charter rights violated?
  • Is testimony from the arresting officer or officers consistent?
  • Was the breath test valid?

All of these matters came up in the case of an Etobicoke woman who was charged with failure to provide a breath sample during a traffic stop in December 2012. She was eventually acquitted, but not before her licence was suspended and her vehicle was impounded.

According to court documents, the woman informed the officer that she had multiple medical ailments that would prevent her from giving a proper breath sample. She said she tried unsuccessfully a number times to comply with the officer's request, but the officer claimed that the woman didn't have a "reasonable excuse" not to provide a sample.

The case proceeded to trial, where the officer was cross-examined. According to the woman's lawyer, the officer's testimony was inconsistent, and the judge was invited by the Crown to acquit the woman. The judge found her not guilty.

Drivers in Ontario should be aware that refusing a breath test can result in penalties such as licence suspension, fees and other penalties. Still, anyone facing an impaired driving charge has a right to mount a defence.

Our impaired driving overview has more on custom criminal defence strategies.