In Police Custody? On-Call Lawyer 24 Hours - 204.415.5544 ext. 9

Legal News

Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg

What is the difference between impaired driving, driving over 80, and failure or refusal to provide a breath sample?


Impaired Driving
For a Crown Attorney to establish an impaired driving charge, the Crown Attorney must prove that the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol or drug. The offence can be made out by proof of any impairment ranging from slight to great. Impairment is objectively determined from the evidence of the driver’s pattern of driving and their conduct. Evidence of erratic driving, weaving, and drifting into other lanes may be used to support an inference of impaired driving. Signs of impairment that tend to show the driver is impaired may also be used to support an inference of impaired driving, including: an odour of alcoholic beverage emanating from the driver’s breath, lack of comprehension, slurred speech, bloodshot or watery eyes, dilated pupils, and a lack of coordination.

Driving Over 80
In order to establish an “over 80” charge, the Crown Attorney must prove only that the driver had a concentration of alcohol in their blood exceeding 80 milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood. The Crown Attorney does not need to prove impairment of any kind. Blood alcohol concentration may be determined by either an analysis of a breath or blood sample.

Failure or Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample
When a driver fails or refuses to provide a breather sample, to either a roadside screening device or an approved breathalyser machine, the driver may be charged with “refusal”. The consequences of a conviction on this charge are basically the same as those for a conviction on impaired driving or over 80: a criminal conviction, driving prohibition, license suspension and the possible insurance consequences.

To see Tom Rees & Company’s article on minimum sentences for driving offences, click here.

To read more articles written by Joshua Rogala, click here to view his website.

*Note: The information on this page is for general knowledge and is not legal advice.