Drinking & Driving – Defence Strategy

Impaired Driving and ‘Over 80′ Require Different Defence Strategies.

Most people refer to driving offences involving alcohol as ‘drinking and driving’ offences.  But this term generally encompasses two distinct offences and thus requires different defence strategies.  These offences are loosely referred to as ‘impaired driving’ and ‘over 80’.  A person charged with a ‘drinking and driving’ offence may be charged with either or both of these charges.

If you have been charged with ‘over 80’, this means that you are being accused of having been in the care or control of a motor vehicle while your blood alcohol concentration exceeded the legal limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.  It does not matter that your ability to drive may not have been affected by the alcohol.  The only thing that the State needs to prove in order to obtain a conviction is that your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit at the time you were driving or in the care or control of a motor vehicle.  This is typically achieved through the introduction into evidence of the breath test results that the police obtain from you at the police station.

If you have been charged with ‘impaired driving’, this means that you are being accused of having been in the care or control of a motor vehicle while your ability to do so was affected or impaired by alcohol.  You can be convicted of this offence even if your blood alcohol concentration was below the legal limit or the state is unable to prove that your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit.  In other words, what the state needs to demonstrate is that you had alcohol in your system at the time you were driving and that it affected your ability to drive.  The type of evidence that is typically relied on to prove this charge is observations of driving, observations of physical behaviour such as speech, demeanour, walking, standing and so forth, the smell of alcohol on your breath and any breath test results that were obtained.  Again, in proving this charge, the state need not demonstrate that your blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit.

Regardless of whether you’ve been charged with Impaired Driving, Over 80 or both, you need an experienced DUI lawyer to help in your defence.

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