If you are facing criminal charges related to drinking and driving causing bodily harm or death, you have come to the right place. Our firm regularly handles impaired driving offences. Our criminal defence lawyers are equipped with the knowledge, practical experience and legal skills required to challenge impaired driving charges.
The Crown’s Onus to Prove Your Case
In order to convict the accused of the more serious offences of impaired driving causing bodily harm or impaired driving causing death, the Crown must prove the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high threshold to meet.
The Crown must establish a causal connection between the driver’s condition and the ensuing bodily harm or death. There is a distinction to be made between a person driving in an impaired condition who is involved in an accident with a person driving in an impaired condition whose impaired driving ability (i.e., as demonstrated by driving conduct, failure to react or failure to make a certain decision or judgment) comprises a contributing cause of death or bodily harm.
The Legal Test
The court cannot consider whether a sober driver might have driven in a similar manner to that of the accused person. The legal test to be applied is whether it is a reasonable inference that the accused’s drinking was a cause, at least beyond what is referred to as the “de minimis” range, of the faulty and problematic driving and the cause of the injury caused to the victim.
“De Minimis” refers to minimal or trifle matters. The principle considered is whether the impaired condition of the accused was at least a contributing cause of the bodily harm or death. This cause must fall outside the de minimis range. This might sound complex to the lay person, but the criminal defence lawyers at Aitken Robertson are equipped to present legal arguments on your behalf in an effort to mitigate the damages and obtain the best resolution possible.
The De Minimis Test
There are undoubtedly technical aspects to defending your case. That is why it is highly advised that you retain the services of one of our criminal defence lawyers.
Canadian case law has set out a de minimis test. The test requires that the underlying impaired driving must be shown to have been a “real factor” in bringing about any bodily harm, injury or death that ensues. The fact that a collision can be combined with high Breathalyser readings (i.e.: over the legal limit), without any evidence of any unusual conduct in the accused’s operation of the vehicle will not be considered sufficient to establish that the accused’s impairment was at least a contributing cause outside the de minimis range.
The case law suggests that there is no requirement of a marked departure from the norm or other graduated standard in order to find a causal connection between the impairment and the collision that occurred. The court needs to be satisfied, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the impairment of the accused was a cause of the accident. That is where the role of your criminal defence lawyer comes in. Our role is to challenge this causal connection such that the Crown’s case against you is weakened and unable to meet the required threshold of proving the offence.
The Aitken Robertson Team of Lawyers
Impaired driving causing bodily harm or death is a serious criminal offence. It is highly advised that you retain legal representation to ensure that you do not find yourself facing severe penalties that is sure to negatively impact your life. For example, a sentence of a lengthy period of jail and a lifetime driving prohibition is highly likely. Of course, this only follows if the Crown is able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and secures a conviction against you.
Why Aitken Robertson?
Our lawyers understand the law and the essential elements that the Crown has to prove to obtain a conviction. Our role as criminal defence lawyers is to point out the problems in the prosecution’s case. Further, we seek to present any and all defences available on your behalf.
We will be frank with you and let you know the strengths and weaknesses of your case. In any event, we zealously advance your rights and take every legal avenue to challenge the case against you.
The legal peril in a case involving serious injury or death is extremely high. As such, make the right decision to protect yourself as best as possible. One way to do this is to retain the services of a dedicated criminal defence lawyer, and yes, our firm is ready to help fight your charge.