Drinking and Driving: DUI Defense

A drinking and driving (DUI) charge, often called DWI, is one of the most common offences in Canada. Over the years, legislation has been increasingly strict and has enacted laws that result in serious consequences for offenders.

There are three main offences in drinking and driving (DUI or DWI):

  1. 1) Impaired driving: operating a motor vehicle or having the care and control of a motor vehicle while your ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug

  2. 2) Driving over the legal limit: operating a motor vehicle or having the care and control of a motor vehicle while your blood alcohol concentration exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

  3. 3) Failing or refusing to comply to a breathalyzer test

When you are arrested for a drinking and driving (DUI) offence, you do not only face criminal charges but also face the possibility of losing your license for a period of at least a year.

If you have been previously convicted of an impaired driving (DUI) offence, the consequences are greater. The law states that a second conviction can lead to a 30 day jail sentence.

In addition, as a first time offender driving with a level that exceeds 0.08, your license will be suspended by the Societe de l'Assurance Automobile du Quebec for a period of 90 days and your vehicle will be seized for 30 days. A second or greater offence (in the last 10 years) will lead to a 90 day license suspension, 90 day vehicle impoundment and a mandatory alcohol and drug abuse risk assessment.

Penalties are also greater if your blood alcohol level exceeds 160 milligrams. You then risk the loss of your license for a period of three years.

Being arrested for impaired driving or even blowing over the legal limit does not mean you have to plead guilty.

In looking at the evidence, our lawyers help determine whether the arrest was done lawfully and following strict mandatory procedure. There are numerous ways to fight a drinking and driving offence. Did the police officer have reasonable grounds to believe you were driving while under the influence? Which breath test did he use and when? Did he respect a precise timeline while administering the tests? What about your constitutional rights?

There are also programs in Montreal that help offenders avoid some of the serious consequences of impaired driving.