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Impaired Care and Control in Peterborough

By Christina Ranasinghe-Bandara and Richard J. Aitken

What many of our clients in the Peterborough region, and elsewhere, come to inconveniently learn is that driving itself is not the only main necessity when it comes to a care and control charge. To their surprise, what is required is for a person to simply be in “care and control” of a motor vehicle while being “Impaired” or over the legal limit, “80 and over”. For many though, this lesson is often learned the hard way; after being charged.

80 and over refers to the amount of alcohol in your system and is often tested and verified by an Intoxilyzer machine. Impaired refers to that fact that no matter how much or how little alcohol is in your system, you still are not fit to operate a motor vehicle. When it comes to care and control, you may be over the legal limit (80 and over) and/or impaired, and that under s. 253(1) the presumption is made by law enforcement that an “intentional course of conduct associated with a motor vehicle; by a person whose ability to drive is impaired, or whose blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit; in circumstances that create a realistic risk of danger to persons or property.”

What Peterborough residents on and off the road need to know is that you can in actuality be arrested, prosecuted, and ultimately convicted of Over 80 or Impaired even if you are occupying a motor vehicle and that vehicle does not move or is ever turned on. If you sit in the driver’s seat waiting for a friend or are staying dry from the outside pouring rain, and you do so while impaired, you may be arrested. This is often met with disbelief by unknowing clients. Care and control can even include activities such as waiting inside a vehicle after calling a tow truck, changing a tire or putting gas in the car.

The good news though is that this charge is based on presumption and not definitive proof. This is where an experienced defence lawyer can move your case forward by highlighting you were indeed occupying the seat while allegedly impaired, but for a reason completely unrelated to driving the motor vehicle. Your defence lawyer may consider the following:

  • Were you inside the car, and if yes, where? It is worse if you were found in the driver’s seat
  • Where were the ignition keys located?
  • Where was the motor vehicle located?
  • What was the mechanical fitness and/or driveability of the vehicle?
  • What was the purpose the vehicle was being used for?
  • What was the probability of accidentally setting the vehicle into motion?
  • Did you have a ‘plan’ to head home that did not involve you driving, i.e. had just called for a cab etc.?

There are many factors and points of consideration that go into a Care and Control case. As such, individuals must not only be mindful about being anywhere near a motor vehicle while consuming alcohol or drugs, but that if he or she does find themselves in the unfortunate position of being charged, hiring an experienced, reliable, and cost-effective firm needs to be made a priority.

At Aitken Robertson, our team of criminal lawyers represent clients charged within Peterborough and its surrounding regions and provide an initial 30-minute consultation completely free of charge. Our schedules are flexible on weekends and evenings to better accommodate your availability and travel is never billed. Many of our lawyers have scientific training on breath testing instruments, which allows great insight into the proper operation of breath testing instruments in your care and control case.

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