Drinking and Driving



Every day in Ontario, otherwise law-abiding citizens find themselves charged with drinking and driving (also known as a “driving under the influence,” or a “DUI” charge). Anyone can find themselves facing these charges. In fact over eighty per cent of those charged with drinking and driving in Toronto and throughout Ontario have no criminal record prior to the charge.

Unfortunately, too many of those charged with drinking and driving just end up pleading guilty without ever consulting with a lawyer and learning the ramifications of failing to explore their rights under the law. If you find yourself charged with a DUI offence, you should immediately contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Toronto before you decide to plead guilty to the charge. You should know that a conviction for drinking and driving will result in you having a criminal record. You will lose driving privileges and your insurance rates will see massive increases. Before you plead guilty you owe yourself the chance to consult with a DUI lawyer.

If you are looking for a criminal lawyer in Toronto to represent you for a drinking and driving charge, you’ll need someone who keeps on top of the changes in the law and thus stays creative in defence. Defences in Canada to drinking and driving offences are always evolving and just as often being legislated away by members of Parliament. Toronto DUI Lawyer Graham Zoppi has dedicated himself to keep up with all the changes that arise in drinking and driving laws in order to remain one of the top DUI lawyers in Toronto.

For example, when the government legislated away the defence’s ability to challenge the accuracy of breathalyzer readings, Mr. Zoppi served as counsel on a landmark case that required the Crown and the police to give the defence information on the historical maintenance and performance of the breathalyzer device used by investigating officers.

Three specific offences fall within the classification of “Drinking and Driving” Offences: Impaired Driving, “Over 80,” and Refuse Breath Sample. Graham Zoppi, Toronto DUI Lawyer, regularly defends his clients with skill and tenacity against all of these charges. The following is further information about the different kinds of drinking and driving charges.

Impaired Driving (Impaired Operation)

For the prosecution to be able to establish guilt on this offence, it must be able to prove that the accused was operating a motor vehicle while his/her ability to operate said vehicle was impaired by consumption of alcohol. This can be contrasted with the lesser included offence known as Impaired “Care and Control,” for which an accused can be found guilty even when not actually operating the vehicle. This charge just requires that the accused be in a position of “care and control” over the vehicle during a time when his/her ability is impaired by alcohol.

Over 80

This charge needs to be contrasted with Impaired Driving in order to be understood. Unlike Impaired Driving, in which it must be proven that the accused’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by consumption of alcohol, for this offence the Crown only needs to prove that the accused’s blood alcohol level was over 80 milligrams per 100 milligrams of blood during a time when the accused was in care and control of a motor vehicle. Whether this blood alcohol level actually impacted the accused’s ability to operate the vehicle is irrelevant to whether or not the accused is found guilty for this charge.

Refuse Breath Sample

If requested to do so by an officer, it is illegal to refuse to give either a Roadside Sample or a formal Breathalyzer sample upon being taken to the police station. The offence carries the same penalty as either an Over 80 or an Impaired Driving charge. For the prosecution to be able to establish criminal liability in this situation, it must show the accused had failed to give a sample without what is called a “lawful excuse.”

Toronto DUI Lawyer Graham Zoppi has an established history of successfully defending his clients against all three types of DUI-related charges. He has frequently been able to accomplish this without his clients having to go through the cost and risk that come with a trial — because of his expertise with these charges and his experiences on the other side of the negotiation table, Mr. Zoppi is often able to convince the prosecution not to proceed with the charges. For those situations in which he is unable to do so, however, cases must go to trial to be litigated. Mr. Zoppi has a proven track record of success for DUI-related trials. You can read some samples of his winning cases in these situations in the Successes section of this site.