An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to provide you legal counsel, tell you your rights, and advise you on the best course of action. Impaired driving cases are some of the most complicated criminal offences in Ontario.
Charges of drunk driving, “over 80”, impaired driving, refuse breathalyzer, or care and control, are among the most complicated areas of Canadian criminal law. What may seem like an impossible case to a layperson is a case full of legal issues to the trained eye of a professional DUI lawyer.
The criminal lawyers of Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman have extensive experience defending persons charged with impaired driving offences. We make use of every defence available to ensure the very best possible outcome. In 2005, Mr. Prutschi became one of a very small group of lawyers to become qualified to perform screening and evidentiary testing on the Intoxilyzer 5000 – the very same model used to take breath samples by every police department in Canada for many years and the direct precursor to the model 8000 now coming into service. This specialized certification provides our clients with a powerful edge in court when cross-examining police breath technicians. When interviewing dui lawyers under consideration for your impaired driving related case, be sure to ask them if they are certified Intoxilyzer Breath Alcohol Technicians.
The decision on whether to hire an impaired driving lawyer is up to the person charged with the offence. However, we strongly recommend anyone charged with this type of offence to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Impaired driving charges are extremely complicated, and this is a specialized area of law that requires experience and knowledge. An impaired driving lawyer can guide you through the process and help you understand the specific issues that may relate to your case.
There are thousands of criminal lawyers in Toronto, and many that claim to specialize in DUI or impaired driving cases. But not all lawyers are the same. Having the right lawyer by your side as you fight DUI charges in Toronto can make a huge difference in the outcome of the case. But with all of the options out there, it can be hard to tell the good lawyers from the bad ones. These are the 4 most important qualities you should look for when hiring a DUI lawyer in Toronto.
It’s important you find a lawyer that specializes and is educated in DUI laws and regulations. Laws are constantly shifting, so finding a lawyer that actively works on DUI cases is important. Make sure you ask how many DUI cases they’ve worked on, how much experience they have in general, and whether they’re up to date on all the regulations in the GTA.
People often overlook their personal feelings and relationship with their lawyer. DUI charges are serious and can have lasting consequences on your life. Hiring a lawyer you don’t trust, like, or respect can only end badly. This person will be responsible for the outcome of your case, so it’s important that you have confidence in them when you enter the courtroom.
Experience, knowledge, and skills are important but don’t underestimate your gut feelings when it comes to picking a lawyer. If you can’t work well with them, don’t expect them to work well on your behalf.
This is where past client testimonials and reviews come into play. You want to hire a DUI lawyer that has a good reputation in Toronto. If past clients have had issues with them, chances are you will too. It’s important to find a lawyer that not only is easy to work with, but that works ethically and morally. Reputation is important beyond past clients too. A lawyer with a poor reputation in the court system will only work against you. Find a DUI lawyer that is respected in Toronto, by both citizens and the court system.
Never underestimate the importance of communication, time management, and organization – especially for lawyers. Larger law firms will have assistants and fellow lawyers to help with the workload, but regardless of their resources, a good DUI lawyer in Toronto should be able to file all of the necessary paperwork on time.
Communication is especially important. DUI lawyers need to be able to communicate effectively with you and to the courts. If you find yourself leaving the meeting unclear about what needs to happen, that could be a warning sign.
Being over the legal limit and being impaired are two distinct offences that can and often are charged separately. If charged with both, to avoid a conviction, both charges have to be successfully defended. It is not enough to have the results of the breath test excluded, one must also show that whatever the amount of alcohol in their system, they were not impaired by alcohol.
It is a Criminal offence in Canada to have more than 80 millitres of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. This charge, often referred to as “Over 80”, means that the alcohol level in your blood exceeded the legal limit. That limit applies to everyone regardless of their alcohol tolerance or driving ability. As such, it is possible to be charged with one count of Over 80 by itself.
However, people charged with Over 80 are often also charged with the second charge of Impaired Driving (Driving while your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol – the full name).
The charge of Impaired Driving means that regardless of how much alcohol you consumed, and even if your blood alcohol level is under the Criminal Code or Highway Traffic Act limit, your ability to drive was nevertheless impaired by the consumption of alcohol. In other words, it is entirely possible to be under the legal limit and still be charged with Impaired Driving.
It is a criminal offence to have the care or control of a car while in a state of impairment or while having an unlawful amount of alcohol in your system. That means that even if you are not driving at the time of arrest, you can still be charged and suffer the same consequences.
If you are seated in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle while impaired or with blood alcohol over the legal limit, you are presumed to be committing the offence of care and control of the car. The only way to defeat that charge (other than raising a doubt as to your level of impairment or the level of alcohol in your system) is to convince the Court at trial that you were not intending to drive when you got into the car and that you were not likely to change your mind about driving.
The Charge of impaired care or control is a serious charge that carries the same penalty as the charge of the impaired operation. Legal assistance should be sought.
Once you are arrested for Impaired Driving, the vehicle you were operating will be towed and kept at the police impound for a period of 7 days.
Note: it is irrelevant that the car was registered to someone else, the car operated by the person charged with impaired driving will be impounded.
After 7 days, the car can be picked up from a police impound. You will be responsible for the fees associated with the storage of the car over the 7 days. (Click here for contact information of police impounds)
If you are charged with Over 80 your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days pursuant to an ADLS suspension. At the expiry of the 90 days, you can attend at the Ministry of Transportation and have your license reinstated. (Click here for a list of MTO locations)
If a police officer reasonably suspects that you have alcohol in your system, he/she will administer a roadside test to determine the amount of alcohol that you have. Depending on the amount of alcohol in your system, the officer will either arrest you on a criminal charge of impaired driving or issue and HTA summons. Click here for the limits and HTA penalties.
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will be able to provide you, legal counsel, tell you your rights, and advise you on the best course of action. Impaired driving cases are some of the most complicated criminal offences in Ontario. There are also time limits on different approaches for these types of offences, so delaying the decision to hire a lawyer could have consequences. Call 1-888-508-9178 to
Boris Bytensky received his LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School and proceeded to summer, article and associate at a prestigious Bay Street firm before starting his private practice.
Edward Prutschi received his B.A. in Political Science (International Relations) from York University and his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School.
Sonya Shikhman holds an Hon B.A. in both History and Law & Society from York University and received her LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School.
Brittany Smith graduated from the University of Guelph in 2013 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Public Policy.