Drug-Impaired Driving Lawyer Toronto
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Toronto Drug-Impaired Driving Lawyer
Many individuals believe that drunk driving is the sole form of impaired driving offence in Canada. However, it is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance.
If law enforcement suspect that you have drugs in your body based on your driving pattern, overall demeanor, physical coordination, and/or the scent of narcotics (such as marijuana), they may demand that you undertake physical coordination tests at the roadside.
If the authorities have reasonable grounds to believe that your ability to drive is impaired by drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol, after watching you do the physical coordination tests, they can arrest you for impaired driving. The police may then order you undergo a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) exam.
Being Charged with Drug-Impaired Driving
One of the most difficult experiences a person can experience is being investigated for or charged with a criminal offence. Charges are pressed against you and are directed at your character. If you are charged with a crime and convicted, you are solely responsible for serving your sentence. You are not required to go through a criminal investigation alone, despite how isolated you may feel. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get in contact with Karapancev Law right away. From our offices in Toronto and Mississauga, we can provide you with a criminal defence overview and explain all of your legal options.
Drug-Impaired Driving Crimes
- Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or a drug (s. 320.14(1)(a)): Operating a motor vehicle while your capacity to do so is impaired in any way by alcohol, a drug, or a combination of alcohol and a drug is illegal.
- Operating a vehicle with a blood drug concentration is equal to or over the legal limit (s.320.14(1)(c)) : Within two hours of ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, having a blood drug concentration at or over the legal threshold is illegal. A separate regulation establishes the legal limit.
- Operating a vehicle with low blood drug concentration (s.320.14(4)): Within two hours of ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, having a blood drug concentration equal to or greater than the “low drug” level but less than the legal limit is illegal. A supplementary regulation establishes the “low drug” restriction.
The offence of operation while impaired by a drug
Operating a motor vehicle while impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. This crime is extremely similar to the prior “impaired operation” offence. The only significant difference between the old and new offences is that the new offence adds language stating that “any level of impairment” will result in the offence being committed. This is not actually a shift in the law; courts have long recognized that even a minor level of intoxication from alcohol, a drug, or a combination of the two is enough to constitute impaired driving.
You could be wondering when someone is “impaired.” “Impairment” is not synonymous with “intoxication.” To be found guilty, your driving capacity does not need to be seriously compromised or much worse than normal. It is sufficient if a judge believes your ability to drive was at least slightly impaired as a result of your consumption of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of both. To be convicted of “operating while impaired by alcohol or drug,” the Crown prosecutors do not need to be able to determine your blood alcohol or drug level. There are distinct offences for driving above the legal limit.
Indicators of Impairment
In impaired driving trials in Toronto, it is common for police officers to testify about indicators of impairment they witnessed to demonstrate that a driver’s ability to operate a car was impaired by alcohol or a drug. Some examples of this type of evidence are:
• Any strange driving behavior, such as swerving between lanes or clipping the curb.
• Any statements by the motorist that he or she had taken alcohol or drugs.
• A liquor odor emanating from the driver’s mouth.
• A marijuana odor emanating from the motorist or from within the vehicle.
• Garbled speech or incomprehensible remarks.
• Glazed eyes or red eyes.
• Drug paraphernalia or empty alcohol containers discovered in the accused’s car.
• Wobbling, trouble standing, fiddling with paperwork, or other difficulties with movement.
There are sometimes other explanations for a driver’s behavior other than impairment by drugs or alcohol. The Crown Prosecutor must prove not only that a person has used drugs or alcohol, but also that the person’s ability to drive was impaired, and that the impairment was caused by alcohol or a drug, beyond a reasonable doubt, at trial. It’s critical to note that minor signs of impairment don’t always indicate that a person’s driving capacity is impaired.
Field Sobriety Testing for Alcohol or Drugs
If you are being investigated for impaired driving in Toronto, a police officer can require you to engage in standard field sobriety testing to see if you have any alcohol or drugs in your system. The following are the tasks that make up a standard field sobriety test:
1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus test – You will be asked to stand up straight and use your eyes to track a point that moves horizontally across your range of view without moving your head. This point is usually a finger, a pen, or a penlight. The officer will be observing your eyes and how they react.
2. Walk and turn test – You must take 9 heel-to-toe steps to as part of this test. After that, you’ll be asked to turn around on one foot and take nine heel-to-toe steps back the way you started.
3. One-leg stand test — In this exam, you must stand on one foot while lifting the other foot 15 cm off the ground. Your arms must remain at your sides, and you must count to 30 out loud.
DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) Testing
If you are arrested for drug-impaired driving. You may be required to partake in a DRE exam at the police station. When doing the examination, the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) follows a 12-step approach.
A Winning Defence
When you have been charged with drug-impaired driving, the prospect of a favourable outcome can seem bleak. In circumstances like this, having an experienced lawyer on your side is vital. We have experience representing clients in Toronto, Brampton, Newmarket, and throughout Ontario in impaired driving cases.
The foundation of our defence strategy is a comprehensive examination of your case. We’ll examine your allegations and the evidence collected against you. We’ll hold the Crown to their burden of proof and pursue every possible avenue in our efforts to win your case.