Posts Tagged ‘Impaired Driving’
I am working on getting my vehicle repaired after my accident and impaired charge/conviction. It has now been just over a year since the accident and I am eligible for the new program in Ontario which would allow me a reduced suspension if I can install an ignition interlock device in a vehicle and have it insured. Unfortunately for me, the cost of fixing my vehicle is going to be about $8,000.00. Of course, I could just get rid of the vehicle for scrap but the problem is I have another 4 years of a loan to pay off on it. Because of an impaired conviction, the insurance company that I had will not cover the damages to the vehicle or the loan.
I contacted my insurance broker to get a quote on what it would cost me to get insurance. He recommended that I call “Easy Insurance” at 866-388-3034 or Powell Insurance at 888-378-2223.
My first call was to Easy Insurance and I spoke with a broker there.
Their best rate that they could give me was $6,105.00 per year or $524.02 per month.
Not a very nice prospect. When they tell you that an Impaired Conviction will cost you, they are not kidding.
I called Powell Insurance however they had no brokers available at the time so they will call me back with a quote. When I get it, I’ll update this post.
Will we ever see a day when getting behind the wheel while fatigued is socially unacceptable, and where steep fines and even jail sentences might result? Most of us know the social disgrace of drinking and driving (especially if you’re caught), and millions of dollars spent each year on drinking and driving with enforcement, commercials and advertisements. When was the last time you saw a group raising funds to combat fatigued driving?
Yet the facts suggest that fatigued driving is as dangerous as getting behind the wheel after too much booze, and that the problem is growing. According to a study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 17% of all fatal accidents could be caused by driver fatigue.
Not only that, 41% of the drivers that were surveyed admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in their lives. Twenty-seven percent of the drivers admitted that in the past month, they had driven at least once while being so tired they had problems keeping their eyes open.
I can relate to this – having been a shift worker years ago, and working over a midnight shift after an afternoon doing some overtime and being honked at after stopping at a stop sign and falling asleep. Or long journeys when I just had to get home with my kids in the car – it seemed safer and better to try to get home rather than pull over on a cold winter’s night in the middle of nowhere on the highway.
Perhaps if this is about road safety (and it should be), and if the statistics are borne out, more people will become aware of the dangers of sleepy driving. Perhaps we’ll be seeing ads suggesting “Friends don’t let friends drive tired.”
There is often a misunderstanding among Canadians in regard to the charge of Impaired Driving. Many believe that the charge applies only when driving on public roads. This is simply not true.
Let’s take a look at the applicable section of the Canadian Criminal Code, Section 353:
Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,
I want you to note carefully, “or has the care or control of…”
It is essential to understand what this means so you can know under what circustances you could be charged under this criminal offense.
Have you ever had a few beers while you washed your vehicle in the driveway with the keys in the ignition, listening to tunes from the radio? Do you know if you were under the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration? Do you know if you would have been considered “impaired” by a peace officer while washing your car?
Legally, you have care and control of the vehicle, and if a police officer can prove he/she had reasonable grounds, they may enter upon your property and demand a sample of your breath. If you have a BAC of higher than 0.08 mg per 100 ml blood (over 80), you can be charged criminally in the very same way, and if convicted, have the very same penalties imposed upon you as someone who was actually driving on the road.
Another example of “care and control” could even mean you have the keys in the ignition so you could listen to tunes while raking leaves on your property. While raking leaves, you have several beers which put you over the legal BAC limit. A police officer that can prove reasonable grounds for demanding a breath sample, and finding you over .08%, can charge you with this criminal offense.
You don’t even have to have the keys in the ignition. You could simply have them in your pocket and be standing near your vehicle. Or, you could be inside your house, have drinks with some friends, and decide to show your friends the new golf clubs you bought today. But they are in the trunk. You go outside to retrieve the golf clubs from your trunk – you now have “care and control” of your vehicle and have committed an offense.
You may not find this “fair,” (this post is not my place at this time for opinion), but you ought to be aware that whether or not you think it is fair, it is the law – criminal law – with serious repercussions.
If you’ve been charged with Impaired Driving in Canada under any circumstances, it is highly recommended that you seek legal council of a lawyer that has experience in defending against these charges in Canada.
Previously, we reported that Edmonton Oilers’ goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin was charged with an “extreme DUI” in the State of Arizona.
On Friday, the judge in his case handed down a guilty verdict in three of the four counts the professional NHL player faced. Khabibulin apparently had a blood alcohol content of 0.164 and was traveling at a speed of 70 mph in a 45 mph zone when he was pulled over, driving his Ferrari.
The sentencing date for the goalie is unknown at this time but he faces a minimum of 30 days in jail.
More on Arizona DUI penalties.
Would Khabibulin still have driven if he had one of these?
In just about every part of the world, driving under the influence of alcohol is viewed as a very serious offense. Depending on where you live, the consequences can be absolutely life changing if you end up with an impaired driving charge. Yet our society includes the use of alcohol and of course, the majority of us enjoy a drink at least on occasion.
Years ago, driving while impaired was not seen as being as serious an offense as it is today. Often, a police officer would let a driver off with a warning or follow them home to make sure they arrived safely. However, in the 1980′s, attitudes toward driving after drinking changed and along with those changes, legal penalties.
Yet many continue to drink and drive. Perhaps because of the following myths that are still widely believed by some:
Myth #1 – Experienced Drinkers Have A Higher Alcohol Tolerance
While it is true that those who drink more heavily than the average seem to have a higher tolerance to the effects of alcohol, it has no bearing on what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will be. It may take an experienced drinker 4 or 5 drinks to feel the same effects as what 1 or 2 would have on a person that has less experience with alcohol. However, any amount of alcohol will begin to affect reflexes and judgment. As well, even though the uninhibited feelings are not as present, the alcohol in the blood stream is still present.
Myth #2 – You Can Beat The Breathalyzer
Over the years, there have been many different ways published and discussed that are supposed to help beat a breathalyzer test. These have included such ridiculous suggestions such as sucking on a penny, chewing a mint, licking tinfoil or sucking batteries. None of these methods will have any affect on the reading of an alcohol breath machine.
There may be some truth to the suggestion that if you take several deep hyperventilating breaths prior to blowing into an alcohol breath machine that the BAC reported will be lower, but there is no guarantee. Besides, you’ll get awfully dizzy!
Myth #3 – One Drink An Hour Is Safe
Perhaps one of the biggest myths of all, and the one that in believing it has caused the most damage to drivers who also enjoy social drinking is that a drink an hour will not impair you or cause you to exceed the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration. So many people believe that if they pace their alcohol consumption and keep it at no more than one drink an hour, they will be fine. This is simply not true.
In most jurisdictions, the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration is 0.08, or 80 mg. It’s a measure of how much alcohol is in the bloodstream. There are many factors which will determine how fast alcohol will get into the bloodstream and how long it will stay there for. It is impossible to account for every single factor and many people are dumbfounded to discover they have been driving impaired.
The only way to know for sure that there is no alcohol in your bloodstream is to simply not drink for at least 24 hours before you drive.
But many of us do drink and then drive. Can we know for sure what our blood alcohol concentration is? Read my story and find out how you can know for sure if you are legally impaired or not.
Before I was in my accident – before I even got into my vehicle, I did not think I was nor felt impaired. I had not “that much” to drink, and even after trying a variety of online calculators that are supposed to provide an estimate of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), I’m still not sure how I blew over .80. I would bet that there are a number of people who drive after having a few beers and who don’t think they are impaired or would blow over the legal limit. Even police officers.
On March 18, 2010, Sgt. Christopher McGuinness of the Ottawa Police Services hit a pole and then fled the accident scene. According to his lawyer, McGuinness has an exemplary record. I would imagine he felt the same fear and panic that I did.
On April 18, exactly a month later, another Ottawa Police officer, PC David Dubois was charged with Impaired Driving and Driving Over 80. Dubois was not on duty at the time.
It seems there are plenty of rich and famous people charged with impaired driving. Recently, Edmonton Oilers (of the National Hockey League – NHL) Nikolai Khabibulin was charged with “extreme” driving under impairment (DUI). The incident took place on February 8, 2010 near Khabibulin’s home in Arizona.
His lawyer has been arguing that the charges should be dropped. Khabibulin underwent back surgery a month before, and was asked to submit to a field sobriety test. This involves activities that might be very difficult for someone who has recently had back surgery even when sober.
Khabibulin admitted to having a glass of wine before driving. He was requested to take a breath test and the alcohol as measured by the breath test device was .164. Readings above .15 in Arizona are automatically upgraded to a charge of “Extreme DUI.”
The jury trial will begin on July 7th, 2010.
I am not asking for or looking for sympathy. I’ll figure this out.
When I was charged with Impaired Driving, the Ontario Government took away my driver’s license. One of the very few charges where you are punished before you are found guilty.
My court date is next week. Court is an hour and a half drive from where I live. There is NO public transportation. I had made arrangements with a relative and a girlfriend to get me there. But it hasn’t worked out so well.
My girlfriend was offered a job (that she desperately needs) conditional that she start immediately and also be able to work some days – that just happens to also be my court date. My relative has been assigned to work by his employer way out of town – like six hours away – the day I am to be in court next week. I can’t go asking people to take a day off work and drive me, out of their way to take me to court. A court date that I need to be at.
I hate asking for help. I don’t often ask for it. Most of my friends still don’t even know about the accident or the impending charges.
Hey – if you see a guy hitch hiking, with a garment bag probably containing his suit – pick him up. He might be heading to court, and is trying to be responsible.
And if you think it’s gonna be easy, to have a couple of drinks, get into an accident.. and the consequences are something you can deal with.. think again. Drinking and driving is tough. The consequences are harsh. Your life will be changed.
In Canada, according to this report in the Owen Sound Times, a typical defense to over 80 charge has been virtually eliminated:
“Lawyers say it has become harder to beat drinking and driving charges since Criminal Code changes last year all but eliminated the so-called “two-beer defence,” which attacked breath test results.
“I think that it has very significantly affected the scope of defence that can be put forward on impaired operation and over-80 charges,” said Clayton Conlan, president of Grey County Criminal Lawyers’ Association, in a recent interview.
Until July 2, 2008, people could testify the accused drank less than the breathalyzer instrument indicated, so critics called it the two-beer defence.
A hired toxicologist would testify the accused’s blood-alcohol concentration must have been lower than the test indicated, based on body weight and consumption.”
This is unfortunate, and one wonders whether Canadian jurors and legislators are more interested in justice or conviction rates.
As I have written before, I have gone over the details of the night I had my accident a hundred times a day. I couldn’t believe what happened, happened to me. And no, I am not in a state of denial. I do drink. I enjoy drinking. I make my own wine. I am ashamed of what happened that night, and the decision I made to go for a drive and go and surprise my girlfriend, who had just surprised me pleasantly.
Not only have I gone over the details of the accident many times, I have gone over exactly what I drank prior to the accident. I’ve used just about every online BAC calculator I can find, and none of them say I should have blown over .08. I know what alcohol was available, I know what I drank, and I know what alcohol was left over – and it just does not add up.
I know I should not have driven. I was tired – but could not sleep. I had some alcohol. Perhaps any amount of alcohol and fatigue do not mix. I can accept that. But I couldn’t sleep – so I felt awake at some level.
I can account for all the alcohol that was consumed over a 48 hour period. By the amount I had in my possession, and the amount that was left over and what was purchased.
Years ago, I worked in a specialized area of law enforcement that sometimes required us to make arrests and charge people. During that time, my own political and philosophical views changed and I became frustrated and annoyed at the growing emphasis on “enforcement” and charging people, away from an emphasis on solving problems through crisis intervention techniques and de-escalating situations with the goal of resolving problems without charges or arrests.
Eventually, we had “benchmarks” for certain things that we were expected to attain or “come close to” when we were evaluated. They didn’t call it a “quota,” rather a “benchmark.” Somehow, a “benchmark” is different than a quota. Actually, there is a minor difference I suppose in that a benchmark meant that you didn’t actually have to meet a minimum quota – one could argue that due to other circumstances, meeting the actual “benchmark” number was not attainable – and depending on who was doing the evaluation, the fact the “benchmark” was not reached was then excused.
Personally, I objected to this sort of thing strenuously. I also realize that my own case likely has nothing to do with any benchmarks or quotas imposed, but as far as news and DUI enforcement, it is notable that apparently the State of Alabama police have imposed quotas on their officers in regard to DUI charges. Lawrence Taylor at his DUI Blog provides this:
“The number of tickets for DUI written by state police from the Birmingham post doubled in March after a memo from the acting post commander threatened to punish any trooper who did not make at least three DUI arrests by the end of that month.
Trooper officials defended the memo from now-retired Sgt. Steve Bryant and obtained by The Birmingham News. The memo said each trooper should make at least three DUI arrests by the end of March, and that those who failed to do so could lose their day-shift assignments or opportunities for overtime pay…”
According to the article,
“The Birmingham post made 50 arrests in both January and February, but in March the number jumped to 97, according to data provided by the state troopers. In April there were 91 DUI arrests and 117 in May.”