The information provided below is designed provide some basic legal information. It is not legal advice. If you would like legal advice about what to do with charges you are currently facing, you will need to talk to a lawyer. Please visit the Contact page or complete the form above to connect with Michael.
Drive Impaired Related Offences
Drunk driving is one of the most common criminal offences in Canada. Drunk driving charges are often seen in both Winnipeg and in rural areas of Manitoba. Drinking and driving is also one of the charges that people from all walks of life face. Michael Dyck understands the process and he explains every step to his clients.
As shocking as it may sound, you are allowed to drink and drive in Canada. However, it is illegal to drink alcohol and drive a motor vehicle if your blood-alcohol level exceeds the legal limit (80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood) or if the consumption of alcohol impacted your ability to operate a motor vehicle, even to a slight degree. It is impossible to know what your blood-alcohol content is without being tested. Because everyone has a different reaction and tolerance to alcohol, it is also impossible to know how many alcoholic drinks will reduce your ability to drive. Therefore, good advice is to simply avoid any risk and arrange for a designated driver or a taxi when you plan on consuming alcohol. However, after you have been charged with drunk driving or a drive impaired offence, good advice must be replaced by legal advice.
Many people charged with drunk driving think they are guilty and they quickly decide to plead guilty in court, even before they have had a first court appearance. The problem is, many people do not know how to think like a lawyer. For example, did you know that there is a difference between being factually guilty and legally guilty? Factual guilt is when the accused person committed the illegal act. Legal guilt is when the Crown Prosecutor is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person committed the illegal act and a defence does not exist. Michael Dyck can help determine whether you are factually or legally guilty and advise you how to proceed.
Many clients choose to fight drunk driving charges and drive impaired related offences at trial because if they are successful, they can avoid a criminal record and maintain their driver’s license. This specific area of criminal law is one of the most complex and detail-oriented. You need help from Michael Dyck to determine if there are triable issues in your case and what your chances of success at trial are. If the police did not conduct their investigation properly or if they violated your rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a judge may decide to exclude breath samples as evidence. The law is constantly changing as new decisions are made by judges every day. It pays to discuss your options during your free 30 minute consultation.
Types of Drive Impaired Related Offences
Every year, many people are charged with drive impaired related offences in Manitoba. Drive impaired related offences include:
- operate a motor vehicle while impaired by a drug or alcohol*
- operate a motor vehicle while impaired by a drug or alcohol causing bodily harm
- operate a motor vehicle while impaired by a drug or alcohol causing death
- care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired by a drug or alcohol*
- refusal of an approved screening device*
- refusal of a breathalyzer demand*
Getting My Driver's Licence Back
After you are charged with one of these offences in Manitoba, there is a mandatory 90 day driving suspension. After 90 days, you can usually obtain your licence but you are required to complete an assessment with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) first. You need to schedule an appointment in advance. To contact AFM, please visit their Impaired Driver Program or their Contact Information Page.
All of the impaired related offences above have a mandatory minimum sentence. If there is a mandatory minimum sentence for any offence, it means a judge has less discretion on how you should be sentenced. For a first offender, charged with one of the offences listed above with an *asterisk* the minimum sentence is a fine of at least $1000 as well as a 1-year driving prohibition. The judge has the discretion to impose a higher fine and a longer driving prohibition. In December 2013, the Winnipeg Free Press conducted a review and discovered the average fine for a first offender was approximately $1600 (link to article). If your breath sample readings are over double the legal limit (if you blow 160 or higher), it is considered an aggravating factor and a judge has to consider that when crafting an appropriate sentence. Once you are prohibited from driving by a judge, it is a criminal offence to drive a motor vehicle. Finally, if you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, you will have a criminal record.
Other Penalties and Consequences
Besides these criminal consequences, you will face other penalties from Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI). To visit MPI's website for more details about consequences, click here. You will lose merits and have to pay more for your driver’s licence and possibly more to register vehicles as well. In December of 2012, the Manitoba government changed the law so that anyone convicted of a drive-impaired charge will have to register for the Interlock Ignition Program in order to obtain a valid driver’s licence after the criminal driving prohibition ends. This program has an estimated cost of $2,000 per year for the driver. To read a news article about this, please click here. Every case and every person is different, so Michael Dyck will review all of the jeopardy you face in terms of both criminal consequences as well as the consequences from MPI.
For read more information about driving impaired related offences,visit the Manitoba Department of Justice site and click here.