Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is the term used to refer to offences of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Impaired driving is sometimes called DUI, DWI, drunk driving, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.

The offences include:

  • driving while ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • driving with a blood/alcohol level over .08% (80mg in 100 ml)
  • refusing to provide a breath sample
  • 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP)

Review some of our Recent Impaired Driving Cases

Driving offences can have serious consequences for your future and your right to drive. We know that it is important for you to be able to drive and that is why it is important to us. Our Vancouver lawyers use all the advantages in the law to ensure you can keep driving.

You may still be innocent even if your breath samples were well over .08%.  Drunk driving cases are often won on technicalities.  The police often make mistakes and we know how to make their mistakes work for you in court.

In most cases, we can protect your driving privileges and keep you from being convicted of an impaired driving offence.

As experienced criminal lawyers practicing throughout British Columbia including Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey. Brian Mickelson, Joel Whysall and Cathryn Waker are skilled in the numerous defences that are available in defending impaired driving charges.

Defending Impaired Driving Charges

Criminal Code sections 253 to 259

In court the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol. Testimony of police officers and civilian witnesses is presented to establish that the driver’s ability to drive was impaired.

A proper defence emphasizes inconsistencies in witness testimony, unreliability of evidence and the fact that many of the observations made by the witness may be consistent with the behaviour of a driver who is not impaired in their ability to drive.

Typical Symptoms and Evidence:

Bad Driving:
Although evidence of a bad driving such as swerving, weaving or committing traffic violations may indicate possible impairment, driving such as this takes place on our roads every day with drivers who are not impaired by alcohol consumption.

Odour of Alcohol Beverage:
The scientific consensus is that an odour of alcohol beverage provides no indication of how much alcohol was consumed. The odour is from the flavoring of the drink. Consequently the police cannot reliably estimate how much alcohol a person has consumed or when the drinks were consumed.

Balance Problems:
The police often fail to properly record the type of shoes worn, the road surface or whether the driver has health problems. A deficiency in the evidence can lead to the conclusion that there may be other possible explanations for balance problems aside from alcohol impairment.

Slurred Speech:
Normally the officer has not heard the driver speak prior to the incident and therefore they cannot confirm whether the driver’s speech is affected by alcohol.

“Fail” on an ASD:
A “Fail” result on an Approved Screening Device or Roadside Breath Tester is not admissible in court to prove a driver was impaired. It is also not admissible to corroborate the results of a BAC Datamaster.