Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm: Sentence & Charges

There are many misconceptions about impaired driving causing bodily harm sentences and charges.

One of the biggest is that you must have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 (80 milligrams) or over to be charged with impaired driving. Unfortunately, this can lead people to presume, because they have not had “too many”, they cannot be charged with impaired driving. 

According to the provisions of the “Operation While Impaired” offence under paragraph 253 of the Criminal Code of Canada:

253 (1) 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,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or

(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

In other words, under the law, you can be considered “impaired” while driving a motor vehicle even if your BAC is below 80 milligrams.

Maximum sentences for impaired driving (DWI) convictions are identical to those of driving under the influence (DUI – over 80 milligrams BAC) convictions.

Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm Sentences

Canada recently introduced new, more stringent impaired driving laws and they are now among the toughest in the world. 

While the maximum penalty for summary convictions of DWI and DUI are 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fines, impaired driving causing bodily harm is a more serious, indictable offence and liable for a maximum penalty of imprisonment for a term of 10 years. In addition to fines and being liable to imprisonment, sentencing penalties can include driving prohibitions for many years following conviction.

Considering the potential severity of sentencing, you should get the legal advice of a criminal lawyer with experience and expertise in defending against impaired driving causing bodily harm charges to ensure your full rights are protected.
If you found this article helpful, check out our post “First Offence Dui: 4 Things You Should Know”.

How Long Does A Criminal Record Last For Theft?

It can seem harmless enough. No one gets hurt in a theft. At least not physically. You’ve done it before and you got away with it. You know how to get around the security and you need the money. And, after all, how long does a criminal record last for theft anyway? Especially for something like theft under $5000. Can’t be that long? Can it?

Yes, it can. It can be a lifetime.

This is how long a criminal record lasts for theft in Canada

In trying to justify the execution of a crime, people can start telling themselves things that may or may not be true. In trying to find reasons why things will work out, you can get some things confused. Like the nature of criminal charges and the criminal record that follows a conviction.

Criminal charges, and the sentences you may have to serve, vary based on the seriousness of the crime. Of course, without extenuating circumstances, the sentence for being convicted of murder will be much more serious than the sentence for a theft conviction.

Even within certain criminal offense categories, like theft, sentences can vary widely. The sentence for a theft under $5000 conviction will be substantially less than that for another form of theft like robbery.

But there is one consequence of being convicted of a criminal act that lasts for the same amount of time regardless of the seriousness of the crime.

In Canada, if you don’t get a criminal record suspension, your criminal conviction will be on your record for life. For a theft under $5000 convictions: life. For an armed robbery conviction: life.

That means you’ll have to endure all the difficulties of having a criminal record for the rest of your life, including difficulty in being allowed to travel outside the country, difficulty in finding a job, even difficulty in going back to school.

That’s why, if you’ve been charged with theft, you need expert legal advice and representation that specializes in fighting theft charges to minimize the impact of the charges on your record, and your life.

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent post about what to do when you’re accused of fraud.  

How To Get Domestic Assault Charges Dropped In Ontario

Let’s just get the biggest myth about being charged with domestic assault out of the way before we go any further. You cannot get domestic assault charges dropped in Ontario if the complainant decides to withdraw the charges. Canadian law says that victims of an assault cannot simply drop criminal charges against the accused. 

But that doesn’t mean that a victim who wants to withdraw domestic violence charges can’t help in having charges dropped.   

3 Ways to Get Domestic Assault Charges Dropped in Ontario

  1. Hire a Specialized Lawyer – Only the Crown Attorney’s office can have charges withdrawn. That makes the best thing you can do to maximize your chances of having the charges dropped is to hire an expert criminal assault lawyer who specializes in domestic cases of assault.

  2. Recants – Victims in assault cases can recant their statements that support the charges. By itself, a recant will not get the charges dropped. But a recant tells the Crown Prosecutor that the chances of conviction are somewhat mitigated and that may be enough to persuade the Crown to drop charges.

  3. Your Criminal Defence Lawyers Negotiate with The Crown – The circumstances of your case may result in the withdrawal of charges. This can include if they are less serious charges, it’s a first offence, you have no criminal record, there were no children present during the assault and/or it was an isolated incident. Your defence lawyer can engage in pre-trial discussions with the Crown Prosecutor to have the charges dropped.

If you found this article helpful, check out our recent post about what to do when you’re accused of fraud

First Offence DUI: 4 Things You Should Know

The most important thing to know about a first offence DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is that, even though it is a first offence for which you won’t be given jail time, it is still a criminal charge that could result in a criminal record.

In Ontario, you will face a DUI charge if you are found driving or in the care and control of a vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the case of alcohol, you must show visible signs of impairment or register a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08.

What You Should Know About a First Time DUI 

Drivers in Canada and especially Ontario, face some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the world. The federal government recently increased fines and the powers police have to make DUI arrests.

In Ontario, not only is it illegal to drive under the influence, but it’s also illegal to drive when you are in the “care and control” of a vehicle, which includes even if the vehicle is stopped with the engine off. Here are a few other things that first-time DUI offenders should know.

  1. Police Officers Can Now Demand that You Take a Breathalyzer Test – Before recent changes to federal laws, officers needed to have a reasonable suspicion that you were impaired. Refusing to take the breathalyzer test can result in charges being laid.

  2. Penalties Are Stiff – If you get a first-time DUI conviction, the minimum penalties include:
    1. A $1,000 fine
    2. drivers’ license suspension of one year
    3. Installation into your vehicle of an ignition interlock device for alcohol screening for one year, at your own cost
    4. Participation in a counselling treatment program, at your own cost
    5. Criminal record

  3. You Are Now Exposed to the Penalties of a Second DUI – While some are able to tolerate first-time impaired driving penalties, what most don’t consider is how they leave you exposed to even stronger penalties if you get a second DUI conviction.

    Among others, minimum penalties for a second conviction include a three-year license suspension, 30 days in jail and installation of an ignition interlock device for three years.

  4. You Need Expert Legal Advice – Considering the consequences of a first-time conviction, and the exposure you have to even more severe penalties for a second conviction, it is crucial that you seek specialized legal advice and representation as soon as you can after you are charged.

X-Copper’s winning defence team has the knowledge and experience to get the best possible outcome for you. Get in touch with us today to get Canada’s winning legal team on your side.
If you liked this post, please check out our recent article “Demerit Points Aren’t What You Should Be Worried About. Here’s Why”.

How To Choose The Right Theft Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with theft, regardless of whether it’s under or over $5,000, you should retain a theft defense attorney as soon as possible. As a criminal offence, if you’re found guilty of theft charges, the consequences can last a lifetime starting with jail time and, if you get a criminal record, potentially affecting your ability to find future employment and/or travel outside the country.   

3 Steps to Choosing the Right Theft Defense Attorney

Most people don’t know what to do or where to turn for help when faced with criminal charges. You have the right to get an attorney’s advice from the moment you are arrested. Here are some tips for finding the right criminal defense lawyer.

  1. Talk to a Lawyer You Know – If you have any friends or family members who are lawyers, your best first step may be to contact them, even if they are not criminal defense attorneys. They may have contacts they can recommend. Even if they have no suggestions for a lawyer or law firm, they may be able to help you choose from a short list.

  2. Look for a Specialized Theft Crime Lawyer(s) – Like anything else, the more specialized lawyers are in an area of practice, the more likely they are to be better at it. While there are many commonalities in law between different types of crime, there are also many important differences. Different circumstances and types of theft crime may need different defense strategies to be successfully defended. Choosing an experienced theft defense lawyer increases your chances of finding one who knows best how to defend you considering your particular circumstances and charges against you.

  3. Find Out What Else the Lawyer/Law Firm Offers – Of course, finding good legal representation is most important. But does the lawyer or law firm employ police officers who can offer insight into the nature of your charges that can help you have those charges dismissed? Or do they have an entire legal team with a history of successfully defending people in theft cases like yours?

Looking for the right theft defense attorney can be hard. Get our winning team on your side and let us fight for the best possible outcome for you.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about how long a speeding ticket stays on your record in Ontario.

What to Do When You’re Accused of Fraud

As unbelievable as it may be that you will ever be accused of fraud, it is even more shocking and destabilizing when it happens. Whether or not you know of any reason or situation that may have lead to the accusations, they must be taken with the utmost seriousness.

Charges of fraud will fall under either “Fraud Under $5,000” or “Fraud Over $5,000”, depending on the monetary value of the fraud that occurred. Over or under, fraud is a criminal offence that could result in you serving jail time and having a criminal record, which can make it difficult to find work, get a mortgage or travel outside the country.

Fraud occurs when there is a breach of trust or misrepresentation of facts that results in financial gain for the perpetrator. Frauds can involve employment or government benefits, credit and debit card transactions, real estate transactions and financial investments.

In Canada, fraud over $5,000 is punishable by a maximum term of 14 years in prison.

4 Things to do When You’re Accused of Fraud

Considering the implications for your freedom, prompt action is the key to defending yourself against fraud charges. 

  1. Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer – This is number one for a reason. The longer you wait to hire a legal representative who specializes in fraud cases, the more chances there are of taking an irreversible misstep that could change the course of your life.

  2. Do Not Admit Guilt or Fault – Just because allegations were made, it doesn’t mean they are based on real facts. Fraud charges and allegations are regularly made due to a misunderstanding or miscommunication of what are otherwise not fraudulent facts.

  3. Get Complete Information About the Charges Against You – The details are important. Ask for everything in writing. If the charges are brought against you by your employer and their representative asks to talk to you about the charges, ask that a representative from the human resources department be present.

  4. Write Everything Down – Once you have a clear idea of the charges, start writing down your version/interpretation of the relevant facts. Take detailed notes of every meeting you have relating to the charges.

If you’ve been accused of fraud, don’t wait. Get in touch with our winning team of Criminal Defence Lawyers so we can start fighting for you.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out our recent article “I’ve Been Pulled Over by the Police. Now What?

What To Do If You Get Caught In A Speed Trap

Getting caught in a speed trap always seems so unfair. Police officers conceal themselves or the police car just to catch you when you’re not ready. That’s entrapment, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t. Entrapment means coercing you to do something illegal and using radar or laser speed gun to enforce speed limits does not qualify as entrapment. Entrapment is one of the myths of fighting a speeding ticket that many drivers believe when they get caught speeding. Another one is that the officer must show you the reading on the radar or laser gun.

Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding what to do after you get a speeding ticket. If you don’t learn the realities, it could end up costing you a lot of money   

3 Steps to Take if You’re Caught in a Speed Trap

The real cost of traffic tickets is often not the fine on the ticket, but the ticket’s impact on your driving record and, subsequently, your insurance rates. So it pays to do everything you can to minimize the charges and fines, or have the ticket dismissed

  1. Accept the Ticket – Don’t argue with the law enforcement officer who gives you the ticket. It is highly unlikely to work. It also runs the risk of reducing the chance that the officer will not lower the speed listed on the ticket to save you fine costs and/or demerit points, which happens relatively often.

  2. Always Take the Trial Option – After getting a speeding ticket, you have three options, which are listed on the back of the ticket.

    1. Option 1: Plea of Guilty – This option means you admit that you didn’t obey the speed limit and you pay the ticket. Do not choose this option if you want the ticket to be reduced or dismissed.

    2. Option 2: Early Resolution – Meet with the Prosecutor sometimes called Plea of Guilty – Submission as to Penalty – This option can sound enticing because it often means your fine and/or demerit points may be reduced due to your explanation. Don’t fall for the “Early Resolution” marketing speak. You will still be found guilty and your insurance rates may still go up.

    3. Option 3: Trail Option – Choose this option. The reasons are many. At worst, it gives you the most time to pay, even if the fines and demerit points are not reduced at trial. At best, it gives you time to check your options, seek advice and do everything you can to have the ticket dismissed.

  3. Hire A Lawyer or Legal Expert Who Specializes in Defending Against Speeding Tickets – Unless you are specifically trained, it is impossible for you to know the laws, the court procedures and methods of law enforcement well enough to successfully defend yourself in court. Yes, it will cost you a legal fee, but the savings in a reduced or eliminated fine, and lower insurance rates for years to come, are more than worth it.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article about how long a speeding ticket stays on your record in Ontario.

How Long Do Demerit Points Stay on Your Record in Ontario?

The system of demerit points in Ontario and how long they’re on record has confused the province’s drivers for as long as anyone can remember. You get demerit points when you are convicted of breaking certain driving laws, and when you’re convicted of more serious infractions of other driving laws. 

For example, you can expect to get demerit points every time you are convicted of racing. But you will generally only get demerit points for speeding when you are convicted of driving at more than 15 kms over the speed limit. 

Demerit points remain on your driving record for two years from the offence date. A conviction will stay on your record for three years from the date that you are convicted. Insurance companies calculate any increases to your insurance based on the number of convictions and the severity of the convictions on your driving record.

3 More Things You Should Know About Demerit Points

In a video game world where you need mega gazillions of points just to survive, 15 points doesn’t seem like much. But they’re enough to get your driver’s license suspended for 30 days. Then you’ll have to make arrangements and pay for alternate transportation during the license suspension, and potentially face higher insurance premiums when you get back behind the wheel. 

  1. You Start with Zero Points – Again, drivers in Ontario earn points for being convicted of breaking driving laws according to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. If you have no demerit points, that’s as good as it gets.

  2. How Many Points Do You Get When Convicted? The number of demerit points you get for any conviction depends on the seriousness of the offence. It is also up to a police officer’s discretion to reduce the charge on a traffic ticket so that you won’t get any demerit points if you are convicted. Here are some examples of offences and the demerit points they can add to your record.
    1. Failing to Signal a Turn – 2 demerit points
    2. Exceeding the Speed Limit by 30 to 49 kms – 4 demerit points
    3. Failing to Stop When Signalled or Asked by a Police Officer – 7 demerit points

  3. You Should Get Legal Advice – As we pointed out above, the implications of demerit points on your driving record can have a serious impact on your ability to get around (how are you going to get to work now?) and finances. It pays to invest in qualified legal advice and representation to avoid any convictions that involve demerit points.

X-Copper can help fight for the best possible outcome for any case. If you’ve been convicted of an infraction and received demerit points, let our team fight for you.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article about how long a speeding ticket stays on your record in Ontario.

Got a First Offence Stunt Driving in Ontario? Here’s What to Know

If you’ve received a stunt driving first offence, Ontario laws and penalties can be quite strict and severe. For example, if a police officer stops you for exceeding the speed limit by 50 km or more (the most common offence that’s classified as stunt driving), You will get a drivers licence suspension for seven days and your vehicle will be impounded for seven days – even if you were never convicted of stunt driving or racing in the past. 

If you are convicted, you can face fines of up to $10,000, get six demerit points, or be sentenced to a maximum of six months in jail. On top of that, the conviction can have a lasting effect on your life, including a license suspension of up to 10 years and increased insurance premiums.  

The seriousness of being charged with stunt driving means you should learn as much as you can about the offence to minimize the impact of a conviction. 

4 Things to Know if You Got a First Offence Stunt Driving in Ontario

There are lots of myths about what is considered stunt driving and the implications of receiving a stunt driving ticket.

  1. You Should Get Legal Advice – Again, due to its gravity, the most important step you can take if you are charged with stunt driving is to get legal advice and representation in court from lawyers and experts well-versed in how to fight a stunt driving ticket.

  2. It’s Not Just for Speeding – While exceeding the speed limit by 50 km or more is the most common reason for a stunt driving ticket, the Ontario Highway Traffic Act outlines many more, including:
    1. Doing burnouts, drifts or donuts
    2. Driving while you’re not in the driver’s seat, or with someone in the trunk
    3. Jumping the green light at an intersection to make a left turn before oncoming traffic begins to move.

  3. The Costs of Getting a Ticket Are All Yours – If you are stopped and given a traffic ticket for stunt driving, the consequences are all your responsibility, including the financial ones.
    1. If your license is suspended and/or vehicle impounded, you must find and pay for your own transportation (police officers are only obligated to take you to a safe place).
    2. You are responsible for the costs of towing your vehicle to the impoundment lot and the cost of storage for the duration of the impoundment.
    3. You must pay a $180 fee to get your driver’s license reinstated. 
  1. You Will Likely need to Make More Than One Court Appearance – When you get the ticket, you will also get a summons to appear in court. You or your licensed legal representative must appear in court or face a bench summons for your arrest. If you do not intend to plead guilty at that first court appearance, another court date will be set for your trial.

If you’ve been charged with stunt driving, make sure to get the right legal team to fight for you. Our team at X-Copper is ready to fight your stunt driving offence to get you the best possible result. Contact us today to get our team behind you.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about how long a speeding ticket stays on your record in Ontario.

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

You may have heard differently, but Ontarians have never been able to refuse a breathalyzer without facing a consequence of one form or another.

What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

The reasons for confusion around whether or not you can refuse to comply with a breath sample request includes the laws as they were up until late last year. Before new laws came into effect last December, police needed to have reasonable suspicion of impaired driving before demanding a roadside breath test.

Today, police no longer need to have reasonable suspicion to demand an on-the-spot roadside breath test. And refusing a breathalyzer can result in criminal charges similar to those of being convicted of a DUI charge.

What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer?

The government was forced to eliminate the need for reasonable suspicion because studies showed that up to 50% of impaired drivers were not being detected by police officers at roadside stops.

In Ireland, authorities credit mandatory roadside breathalyzer tests with a 40% reduction in the number of road deaths due to impaired driving.

Here are just some of the minimum penalties a driver can face for a first-time conviction for refusing a breathalyzer. You can also face these penalties for refusing to give a breath sample at a police station, mobile police station and/or hospital.

  1. Drivers license suspension for one year.
  2. Pay a fine of $1,000 or more
  3. Mandatory participation in a Provincial counselling program at your own expense
  4. Installation of an ignition interlock system, also at your own expense, for one year

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about the law for drinking and boating.