Case Study: Impaired & Over 80 – No Conviction
Mr. L. was a young man who was never previously involved with the justice system. He had a clean driving record and held his driver’s licence for just a couple of years. During the late hours of one weekend night, Mr. L. and his girlfriend got in a verbal argument. Mr. L. was drinking. The argument between the two escalated and with little second thought, Mr. L. sat in his vehicle. With a surge of emotions, he then proceeded to driving a short distance away from his residence. Realizing he should not be driving in an intoxicated state, he drove back to where his vehicle was initially stationed. However, this was enough for police to be involved and charges to be laid. There were two witnesses on scene who provided statements regarding Mr. L.’s intoxicated state while operating his vehicle. Mr. L. regretted his actions greatly, but the fact of the matter remained: he was drinking and driving. Mr. L. was arrested and brought to the police station for the purpose of providing samples of his breath. His blood alcohol level was aggravating. He provided two samples with a blood alcohol concentration of 180 and 160. He was charged with Over 80 and due to his intoxicated and aggressive state the charge of impaired operation was also added.
The goal was to keep Mr. L. from losing his driving privileges and obtaining a criminal record. This is very challenging for each and every drinking and driving matter. It is even more challenging when the accused person is very young as the implications of a DUI are long lasting and attach a multitude of consequences on conviction.
After a thorough review of the Crown’s case, it was evident that Mr. L.’s chances at trial were poor. The only way to save Mr. L. from a criminal record and keep his driving privileges was through strategic negotiations with the Crown. Unlike other various offences, drinking and driving is a very technical offence, with little space for defence counsel to maneuver. Experience and common sense as well as tactical negotiations are the only tools a defence lawyer can apply in such a case as Mr. L.’s.
Upon completion of anger management and alcohol counselling, Mr. L. entered into a plea of careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act. There were no restrictions or limitations placed on his driving privileges. Mr. L. did not get a criminal conviction and all of his charges were withdrawn. Our efforts paid off.