Mr. M is a hard working laborer that spends his days landscaping in the sun on weekdays, returns home to his wife in the evenings, and makes time to go to church on Sundays. He’d earned the chance to enjoy a night out for his friend’s birthday and was even responsible enough to sleep at the friend’s house so he wouldn’t drive after drinking. But bad things happen to good people.
Mr. M was awoken to a message that the water tank in his home was leaking, something he had documents to prove. He got in his car to head home to take care of the water tank, and misread a sign listing the area as 60 km/h as 80km/h. He was stopped by police for the speed. He explained that his bloodshot eyes were due to sleeping with his contacts in, but the police insisted on a breath test anyways. He failed and was brought into the station for blood testing.
Getting the criminal charge of over 80 dropped was the priority. The Highway Traffic Act charges carried fines and penalties, but no criminal record. A plea deal to have the criminal charges dropped would be a fine option that avoided trial and saved the client money.
We identified 3 main topics to use in our negotiations for a deal with the Crown: The grounds for the initial breath test, the low readings of the alcohol test and lack of injuries or damages, and the delay between the initial test and return to the station.
First, the Crown would have to prove they had cause to give Mr. M the breath test in the first place. While his speed was a valid reason to pull him over, the only grounds they seemed to have for the breath test afterword was how bloodshot Mr. M’s eyes were. But he had explained that his eyes were bloodshot from sleeping with his contacts in.
Second, Mr. M’s reading on the alcohol test, while over the limit, was very low. He had caused no injury or damage to property, giving us a leg to stand on in negotiating a plea to a lower, non-criminal offence.
Finally, there was a delay between Mr. M taking the initial test and when the police left the scene with Mr. M to return to the station. During this wait he was not informed of his right to contact legal counsel by the police, as is required by s.10(b) of the Charter. If we could convince the Court of a possible Charter violation the Crown’s case would be severely compromised.
We had three very convincing arguments to use in our negotiations with the Crown.
We struck a deal with the Crown. Mr. M paid a $1,125.00 fine and received a 9 month driving suspension, but he received no criminal charges and the charge of over 80 was dropped.