Case Study: Withdrawal – Impaired Operation, Over 80
On February 22, 2019 the police were contacted in relation to an impaired driver. An employee from an LCBO informed the police that an intoxicated male had left the store after being refused service. The employee described Mr. G. as a male and his demeanour. The employee further stated that Mr. G. smelled of alcohol and admitted to having some beer. His car was also identified. The police, armed with this information, then found Mr. G.’s home address and attended there. The police spoke to Mr. G. and embarked on a criminal investigation. The investigating officer noted an odour of alcohol on Mr. G.’s breath and thereafter, explained the law in relation to suspected impaired drivers who had ceased to operate a vehicle within the previous 2 hours. A demand for breath samples was made. Mr. G. admitted to drinking after he arrived at home. Thus, the officer advised that after a 150 minute wait to eliminate the possibility of mouth alcohol, he was to provide his breath samples. Mr. G. was given his rights to counsel, which he understood. Following the breath samples, Mr. G. was arrested for impaired operation and transported to the police station for processing.
This was an interesting case. The goal here was to demonstrate to the Crown assigned to the case that, at the time of Mr. G.’s driving, he was not in fact intoxicated and over the “80” legal limit.
It is helpful to note that it is not an offence to consume alcohol after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle. This is a criminal defence in law. Our strategy was to provide the background and context with respect to Mr. G.’s decision to drink while in the privacy of his home. We wanted to ensure that the Crown understood that Mr. G. had no intentions of operating a motor vehicle while being “over 80” as he has always turned his mind to the dangers of drinking and driving. Mr. G. had arrived at home with no plans for the evening. Mr. G. also did not have work the next day. He was enjoying a few beers by the time the officers arrived at his door step and subjected him to the legal requirement of providing breath samples. Mr. G. willingly co-operated as in his mind, he had done nothing wrong. Mr. G.’s readings were above 80 however, on the lower end, around 105. He was then arrested. Our role was to engage the formula that illustrates a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of driving. To do this, we had to have meaningful discussions with the Crown, prepared with our defence and supporting evidence.
The charges in this case were withdrawn. The Crown could not prove that Mr. G. was “over 80”. In fact, the defence was able to prove that he in actuality was not. The City of Barrie Crown conceded that at the time of driving, Mr. G. was not over the legal limit.