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Drinking And Driving Offences Essay, Research Paper

Drinking And Driving Offences

My essay is on “Drinking and Driving Offences”. In my essay I will tell you the various kinds of drinking and driving offences, the penalties, and the defences you can make if you are caught drinking and driving. Let me tell you about the different offences. There are six offences in drinking and driving. They are “driving while impaired”,

“Having care and control of a vehicle while impaired”, “Driving while

exceeding 80 m.g.”, “Having care and control of a vehicle while exceeding

80 m.g.”, “Refusing to give a breath sample”, and “refusing to submit to a

roadside screen test. These are all Criminal Code Offences.

Now lets talk about the penalties of drinking and driving. The

sentence for “refusing to give a breath sample” is usually higher than

either of the “exceeding 80 m.g.” offences. Consequently it is usually

easier in the long run for you to give a breath sample if asked. If, for

example you are convicted of “Refusing ato give a breath sample” for the

first time, but was earlier convicted of “Driving while impaired”, your

conviction for “Refusing” will count as a second conviction, not a first,

and will receive the stiffer penalty for second offences.

For the first offence here is the penalty and the defences you can

make. Driving a vehicle while your ability to drive is impaired by alcohol

or drugs is one of the offences. Evidence of your condition can be used to

convict you. This can include evidence of your general conduct, speech,

ability to walk a straight line or pick up objects. The penalty of the

first offences is a fine of $50.00 to $2000.00 and/or imprisonment of up to

six months, and automatic suspension of licence for 3 months. The second

offence penalty is imprisonment for 14 days to 1 year and automatic

suspension of licence for 6 months. The third offence penalty is

imprisonment for 3 months to 2 years (or more) and automatic suspension of

licence for six months. These penalties are the same for the following

offences.

“Having Care and Control of a Motor Vehicle while Impaired” is

another offence. Having care and control of a vehicle does not require

that you be driving it. Occupying the driver’s seat, even if you did not

have the keys, is sufficient. Walking towards the car with the keys could

be sufficient. Some defences are you were not impaired, or you did not have

care and control because you were not in the driver’s seat, did not have

the keys, etc. It is not a defence that you registered below 80 m.g. on

the breathayzer test. Having care and control depends on all circumstances.

“Driving While Exceeding 80 m.g. is the next offence. Driving a

vehicle, having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the proportion of

alcohol in your blood exceeds 80 miligrams of alcohol in 100 mililitres of

blood. Some defences are the test was administered improperly, or the

breathalyzer machine was not functioning properly.

“Having Care and control of a Motor Vehicle while Exceeding 80

m.g.” is the next offence I will talk about. This offence means having

care and control of a vehicle whether it is in motion or not, having

consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the proportion of alcohol in your

blood exceeds 80 miligrams of alcohol in 100 mililitres of blood. The

defences are the test was administered improperly, or the breathalyzer

machine was not functioning properly. To defend against breathalyzer

evidence you must understand how the test should be administered. The

proper procedure for a breathalyzer test is as follows. Warming up the

machine until the thermometer registers 50 degrees centigrade. This should

take at least 10 minutes. The machine should then be turned to zero (by

using the “adjust zero control”) and a comparison ampoulel (of normal air)

inserted. if the metre remains at zero, the test can proceed. An ampoule

with a standard solution is then inserted. If the metre reads high or low

by more than .02% on two successive tests, the machine should not be used.

If the trial is valid, the machine should be flushed with room air and the

pointer set at start. You will then be asked to provide two breath samples,

about fifteen minutes apart. Normally they will take the result of the

lowest result and use it as evidence against you.

“Refusing to Give a Breath Sample” means refusing without a

reasonable excuse to give a sample or refusing without a reasonable excuse

to accompany a polic officer, when demanded by the police officer. Before

demanding by the police officer, he must have reasonable and probable

grounds to believe that you are committing or at any time in the preceeding

two hours have committed, one of the offences of driving or having care and

control of a vehicle while impaired or while having a blood alcohol level

in excess of 80 m.g. You can refuse to give a breath sample until you have

communicated in private with your lawyer even if this takes you beyond the

two hour period, unless it is shown that your request for a lawyer was not

genuine and merely to delay the testing. The test can be done after the

two hour period, but a technician must testify in court as to what your

blood alcohol would have been in the two hour period. You cannot refuse to

accompany the officer until you see your lawyer. You can argue that the

officer didn’t have reasonable and probable grounds to suspect you, but

this however depends on the circumstances.

“Refusing to submit to a Roadside Screening Test” is the last

offense. When you commit this offense you are refusing without reasonable

excuse to give a breath sample for a roadside screening device, or refusing

without reasonable excuse to accompany a police officer for the purposes of

giving such a sample, when demanded by an officer. Before the officer

demands a breathalyzer he must reasonably suspect that you have alcohol in

your blood.

The maximum penalties for impaired driving causing bodily harm to

someone is up to 10 years in prison and up to a 10 year prohabition from

driving. The maximum penalties for impaired driving causing death is up to

14 years and a 10 year prohabition from driving. The maximum penalty for

manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death is up to life in prison

and up to a lifetime prohabition from driving.

I think that these penalties for all the drinking and driving

offences are very appropriate, but I think impaired driving causing death

should be a lifetime imprisonment. Also if a person is impaired and causes

bodily harm to some one they should have their licence suspended from him

for 20 years instead of 10 years.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Highway Traffic Law, (Copyright January 1986: Community Legal Education

Ontario) p.17-32

Government Document, Canada Law Reform Commision Report on Investigative

Tests: Aclohol, Drugs, and Driving Offences (1983).

Erwin,Richard E. M.Bender ,Defence of Drunk Driving Cases, Criminal Civil

(Albany 1986) p.79-81

Purich, Donald John, Drinking and Driving:What To Do If Your Caught

(International Self Counsel Pr. 1978) p.22-25

Verticle File at Hill Crest Library, Drinking and Driving-Offences ands

penalties:A Summary (1988) p.2

Verticle File at Hill Crest Liabrary, Criminal Code-Part 6 (1989), section

3, section 11.

Verticle File at Hill Crest Library, HighWay Trafic (1989), section 26


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