UPDATED on February 8th, 2022
Are you searching for how to beat a DUI charge (also known as “Over 80mg charge” or “Over 80 charge”) in British Columbia?
Beating a DUI charge is not easy.
If you’re looking to beat the charges…and possibly even avoid jail time…you’ll need really good information. And that’s what we are aiming to provide you. And since this is a terrible case to DIY, you’ll also probably need a really good criminal lawyer like former Crown Prosecutor Rob Dhanu of the Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group, especially if you want to maintain a good, clean criminal record. Yup, it’s a criminal charge!
Imagine a device in your car you have to blow into to check your alcohol level…just so that you can start the car and go to work! That’s what Ignition Interlock is, and believe me when I say, you don’t want it…or have to pay for it!
And with The Cannabis Act passing into law and legalizing recreational cannabis use nationwide in Canada, the police are ever more vigilant about impaired driving and are ever more ready to hand out DUI charges involving Marijuana use.
So, you might be feeling hopeless right now. You might even be panicking because you don’t know what to do next.
That’s all completely understandable; dealing with the Justice System can be extremely scary and most people don’t even know where to start.
That’s why we wrote this article. As Criminal Defense Lawyer’s, we’ve seen it all and have helped a lot of people through it.
The following article will help you decide how to best handle your DUI charge and how to get on with the rest of your life.
Should You Fight Your DUI Charge?
Before we get into the how of beating a DUI charge, we’ll address the why. We often get asked the question: “Should I fight my DUI charge?”
Many people with a DUI charge weigh the costs of fighting the charge with the costs of penalties and wrongly come to the conclusion that they should just take it on the chin and save the money on lawyer fees.
That is absolutely the wrong decision. And we’re not just saying that because we’re a law firm.
As you’ll see, the penalties associated with a DUI charge are much more severe than even the most expensive legal fees. On top of that, a conviction could inhibit your employability in the future, so it’s best to invest a little bit now in your defence than to bear the future cost of a conviction.
What Are The Penalties For A DUI?
If you don’t handle it well, a DUI charge will ruin your life. No joke. The consequences of DUI charges are pretty severe in British Columbia and you shouldn’t take any of it lightly.
On top of everything else, Federal and Provincial matters concerning DUIs are handled differently.
The federal Criminal Code sets out impaired driving offences, enforcement procedures and penalties. These laws are based on the .08% BAC legal limit.
Conviction under federal laws can result in fines, driving prohibitions and jail time. While the Criminal Code offences are established federally, enforcement, apprehension, prosecution and application of penalties fall within provincial and territorial authority.
The provinces and territories also have constitutional authority over highways and licensing of drivers within their jurisdictions, which gives them the ability to enact additional laws and sanctions.
1st DUI Offence Penalties: In terms of money, a first DUI offense carries a minimum fine of $1,000. On your first offense, you won’t be able to drive for at least one year. So, going to work to pay off your DUI fine just got a lot harder.
2nd DUI Offence Penalties: If you get a second DUI offense within a 10-year period, that offence is punishable by a minimum 30-day jail term. There is also a large monetary fine that is associated with this.
Any subsequent DUI conviction you get will result in jail time of at least 120 days! And that’s just the beginning. Subsequent DUI conviction penalties are severe.
In addition to these penalties, a judge may issue a probation or restitution order.
The terms of probation may include abstaining from alcohol, undertaking community service, submitting to an alcohol or drug assessment or participating in treatment.
A restitution order compels the offender to compensate the victim, but these are rare in impaired driving cases.
First, Some Liability Disclaimers from Us
Before we jump into our discussion on how to beat any DUI charge, it’s important that we are clear that this post is meant to be an exploration of possible methods to beat charges or mitigate charges on an existing DUI.
We don’t condone driving under the influence. But mistakes can happen and humans are not perfect, so that’s why we provide legal representation even to those who have made mistakes or broken the law.
But, if you’re looking for ways to avoid police roadblocks, find information on how to cheat a breath test or breathalyzer, or really any type of behavior that is meant to otherwise circumnavigate the law, we can’t support you. Because that’s just not cool. You’re better than that.
So, if you plan on drinking or using legal recreational substances, we advise you to either stay at home, call a taxi or rideshare service, or make an arrangement with a designated driver. Because that’s what good, responsible people like you do, right? 🙂
Ok, so with that being said, mistakes happen!
There are literally hundreds of defences to DUI and Impaired Driving charges. Thousands of judgements of acquittal are published yearly.
And there’s lots of ways in which a lawyer may defend your case; an experienced criminal lawyer may even be able to have the charges dropped!
The “Last Drink” Defence
In this situation, the police arrest a driver very shortly after the driver has had their last drink.
These types of impaired driving arrests are common outside of bars and nightclubs, where the police will wait for people to leave and then follow them on suspicion of being impaired and driving.
This particular criminal defence argument works basically like this: any alcohol consumed right before the cop pulls you over is not yet in your blood at the time of driving…but it would be in blood at the time of breath tests later at the station.
Why does this matter? It’s only a crime to drive with over 80mg in your blood, not in your stomach!
So if you use this argument, it can make the breath tests results open for challenge in court.
Intoxilyzer Maintained or Operated Improperly
Is it possible to successfully challenge breathalyzer results in court? The short answer is…yes, it is possible to successfully challenge the breathalyzer results in court.
The Criminal Code of Canada says breath readings are deemed to be accurate if the first test is taken within two hours of the time of driving.
An accused person can undermine this presumption by showing the machine was operated improperly.
If the intoxilyzer machine used to test your breath for alcohol was not properly operated by your arresting officer, or if it was not properly maintained by the department, your charges may be dropped.
So, if we look into the specific technical details of how the machine was operated by the police department, and if something is not right, we can have the results of the test be declared invalid.
Arrest without Reasonable & Probable Grounds (RPG)
All arrests made in British Columbia under the Canadian Criminal Code must be made with Reasonable and Probable Grounds, otherwise known as RPG.
What is RPG? Reasonable and probable grounds is the point where credibly-based probability replaces suspicion. It is the reasonable belief that an event not unlikely to occur for reasons that rise above mere suspicion.
Basically, it’s a credibility test of the reason the police stopped you in the first place. In simpler terms, did the police have a good reason to arrest you in the first place?
If we can determine that you were arrested without reasonable probable grounds, a judge may be forced to drop or lower your charges.
In the case of a DUI charge, there are very specific circumstances that constitute reasonable and probable grounds that must be met. Otherwise, you can beat the DUI charge.
Certificate Not Served
Were you served a certificate from a qualified technician to prove your BAC?
In an impaired driving offence involving alcohol in British Columbia, the Crown (Justice Department) has to produce a certificate from a qualified technician to prove your blood alcohol concentration (otherwise known as “BAC”).
The Crown has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the certificate was presented to you in a proper time period.
If the Crown doesn’t prove this, you may be able to beat the DUI charge.
Beating Your DUI Charge With A Criminal Lawyer
These are just a few of the many ways in which an experienced DUI lawyer can defend your case.
Though, again, we don’t condone driving under the influence at all, a DUI does not have to be a life-altering charge for you.
But you need a professional to help you through it. You don’t want to go up against the Justice system by yourself and alone, because more than likely you will lose…and lose big. Remember, this is a criminal charge.
Fortunately you found the lawyers at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group, who are experts at beating DUI charges in British Columbia.
One of the founders of the law firm, Rob Dhanu, worked for the Justice Department as a Crown Prosecutor and has a long history of prosecuting DUI cases, so he knows all the tricks in the book.
Moral of the story?
If you were charged with a DUI, you’re definitely better off contacting a lawyer who knows how to handle cases like this.
At the Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group, our experienced criminal lawyers have your best interests in mind and will fight for your rights. Click the button below to find out what specific rights you have in your situation and what you can do about it.