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CASE DETAILS

Charge(s): Impaired driving, Over 80
Location: Oshawa, Ontario
Our Client(s): Mr. P
Year: 2023
Lawyer/Paralegal: Tarinpal Dhaliwal
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Please Note: Past results not predictive of future results.

The Background

Mr. P was a young man with no prior criminal record, but he found himself in legal trouble when he was charged with impaired driving and driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over 80mg alcohol per 100mL of blood. He was pulled over and accused of driving erratically before being arrested for impaired driving. Upon being brought to the police station, he allegedly provided a breath sample that was twice the legal limit for driving.

Section 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone the right to consult with counsel without delay and to be informed of that right upon arrest. In this case, our client’s requests to contact a third party for the purpose of finding counsel were denied by the arresting officers. He was essentially steered towards consulting with duty counsel.

The Goals

With the Crown unwilling to withdraw the criminal charges against our client, the goal was to go to trial and to have our client found not guilty.

The Strategy

In order to win at trial, Mr. Dhaliwal sought to argue that our client’s right to counsel under section 10(b) of the Charter had been violated, and that the evidence of his breath sample should therefore be excluded. In particular, he argued that the refusal of the officers to allow our client to contact a third party for the purpose of finding counsel had prevented him from exercising his right to counsel in a meaningful way. He argued that this was a serious Charter breach that warranted the exclusion of the breath sample obtained as a result.

Furthermore, Mr. Dhaliwal used video evidence of our client’s conduct during the incident to raise doubt as to whether he could have been perceived to be impaired.

The Results

The result was a success: our client was acquitted of both charges at trial. On the impaired driving charge, the judge agreed that Mr. Dhaliwal had raised doubt about whether the client was impaired, and consequently dismissed the charge.

With regard to the over 80 charge, the judge agreed with Mr. Dhaliwal’s argument that the client’s right to counsel had been violated when he was prevented from contacting his own counsel and instead steered towards duty counsel. He also agreed that this was a serious breach that had a significant effect on the client. The evidence of the breath sample was excluded, without which the Crown effectively had no case against our client. Both charges were dismissed, and our client was able to keep his criminal record clear.

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