Guilty without exceeding the famous .08?

A glass of alcohol with car keys on a table

Guilty without exceeding the famous .08?

Did you know that you can be found guilty of impaired driving even if your blood alcohol level does not exceed the legal limit of 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (.08)? Indeed, this concept is difficult to understand for most people who come in my office for legal advice. How can someone be found guilty of impaired driving if the tests demonstrate a blood alcohol level under the legal limit?

Simply because Section 320.14 a) of the Criminal Code provides that if you drive while your ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or a drug, it is criminal. In other words, whatever is the quantity of alcohol or drugs that you have consumed, if this consumption has contributed to diminish your ability to drive, it is criminal. In other words, the person who looks drunk after two sips of alcohol is as criminal as the person who does not show any symptoms of impairment but whose blood alcohol level (above the legal limit) would reveal a drinking party…

What are the symptoms or circumstances that can be taken into account to evaluate if someone is impaired?

Here are a few examples that are frequently seen in impaired driving files: accident, illegal or questionable driving manoeuvring, vitrous or red eyes, pasty mouth, hearing or speaking impairments, difficulty while receiving usual documents, balance or gait problems, mood swings. Of course, these symptoms can be explained otherwise than by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, namely by the fatigue, sickness, clumsiness, incompetence, bad mechanical condition of the vehicle. These other causes can also be taken into account during the evaluation.

Can a person be found guilty of impaired driving if the accused was driving when he should have gone to bed even tough he has not consumed anything?

Many people believe that it could be the case. This popular belief is not true. You cannot be found guilty of impaired driving even if you show symptoms that your ability to drive the vehicle is impaired, if you have not consumed alcohol or drugs (but you could be charged and convicted of dangerous driving…). Do I really need to add that it is far better not to get behind the wheel when you are too tired?

If you are accused of impaired driving, consult a lawyer who will evaluate your chances of being acquitted.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This article does not provide a complete review of the subject. It should not replace at any time the analysis made by a lawyer who has studied your file. Each case is different. Furthermore, the analysis made by a lawyer will take into account many aspects that are not covered in this article.