Is Driving Under The Influence a Criminal Offence in Canada?

Do you know that a DUI charge has been a Federal Criminal Offence in Canada since 1921? It is, and it is also the most common type of criminal charge in the entire nation. Luckily for those convicted with driving under the influence, it is possible to get a record suspension or a DUI pardon in Canada.

What Is DUI?

A DUI is a charge for driving under the influence. In Canada, it refers to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is categorized as a criminal offence.

The above means that anyone driving with a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in Canada can be punished under the Criminal Code. This is usually found out by a breath test that can be administered on it’s own or after a failed physical coordination test.

It is normal for a police officer to ask someone suspected of being under the influence to undergo the mentioned tests to ensure road safety; more so if someone has been observed to be driving erratically or is smelling strongly of alcohol. An evaluating officer may also request for a urine or blood sample to test for drugs in order to determine if someone has been driving under the influence of such.

A DUI Arrest and Conviction

Having a high blood alcohol level or failing a physical coordination test can lead to a DUI arrest. Failure to comply with the tests can result to license suspension as well.

Note that fines and suspensions will have some differences depending on which province and territory a suspected DUI occurred. The severity of the consequences are dependent on whether someone was harmed and/or how cooperative the person being arrested is.

Charges may also be dropped if it was later revealed that the taking of breath, urine, and blood samples were done in violation of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms particularly Section 8.

It should be noted that penalties and suspensions may still be dealt with even though someone passed the blood alcohol level assessment and other related tests. Some people may simply have a lower tolerance and different provinces and territories each have their own parameters of assessment.

Impaired Driving in Canada

The Government of Canada has introduced stiffer penalties and more rigid restrictions for impaired driving since 2008. A $1000 fine for the first offence and 30 and 120 days jail time for the second and 3rd offences.

People convicted of a DUI charge will have it as a criminal record attached to their name until they get a DUI pardon or a record suspension. Having a DUI charge attached to one’s name will mean a harder time getting employment, applying for insurance, going out of the country, and so on.

Apply for DUI Record Suspension or Get a DUI Pardon

Calvin Barry Law can help you apply for a DUI pardon or a record suspension even though it is not yet 5 years past the date when you paid your DUI fine (but be sure to pay any fines as soon as possible!). The Calvin Barry DUI Lawyer team can gather all the paperwork you need before the application process and work with you throughout the 10-12 months process of cleaning your records.

Need help from Calvin Barry, DUI Lawyer to get a DUI pardon? Calvin Barry Law has been helping people get a DUI pardon for years. Contact us or drop by our office so we can talk about your case as soon as possible.

Definition of Impaired Driving Has Limitations As Shown on an Ontario Ruling

Getting convicted for driving under the influence means that a DUI charge will be linked to your name. This link will be there for years to come until such time that you’re able to get a record suspension or a DUI pardon with the help of a DUI lawyer.

But what constitutes impaired driving?

Is it impaired driving if you simply slept in your parked car while waiting for the effects of alcohol intoxication to go away?

Would you be fine with going to jail for sleeping in your car when you’re drunk because you did not want to drive until you are feeling much better?

Location, Location, Location!

What defines impaired driving or driving under the influence differs widely between provinces and territories. In a 2016 case in Ontario, a drunk man was found sleeping inside his car which was parked outside a housing complex in Burlington. He was charged with DUI.

The Ontario ruling by Justice Alan D. Cooper stated that the man, Ryan Toyota, was not guilty of any criminal offences despite leaving the engine and the exterior lights on because of several factors. One factor is that he meant to stay in a friend’s house but got locked out. Another is that he had to stay inside the car because this occurred in February 2015 in sub-freezing temperatures.

The ruling focused on a section of the Criminal Code which establishes the presumption of care or control of the vehicle – stating that the risk of danger is a fundamental element of care and control.

In the court’s opinion, they believed that Mr. Toyota had no intention of driving his vehicle and that the engine was just left on to keep himself warm. They also believed that Mr. Toyota had no means of getting inside his friend’s home because the homeowner passed out after accidentally locking the door on the way in.

The court said that it was clear that Mr. Toyota intended to spend the night in his friend’s home and made do with the safer course of action when given no other options except staying in his car or driving home.

What Really Happened

The police report did say that they found the defendant inside his vehicle which was parked outside the housing complex in sub-zero temperatures. The officer opened the door and smelled alcohol so he asked Mr. Toyota to step out and found that he was intoxicated. Mr. Toyota was then arrested and brought to the police station to be tested.

Real Justice

Justice Cooper noted in his ruling that the data from the police clearly stated that Mr. Toyota’s car was parked properly and in no danger to anyone at the time the police officer found him. Although there was a realistic risk of the defendant choosing to drive in his intoxicated state, the fact remains that he did not.

The court also believed that although Toyota’s blood alcohol level was lot higher than what defines legally drunk, it is highly unlikely that he would have suddenly change his mind and go driving if the officer didn’t find him. At the end of the day, the details of the circumstances dictated the court’s ruling.

The above is why you need a seasoned DUI Lawyer to help you deal with a DUI charge. Not everyone who is in a vehicle and intoxicated mean to do harm or is a danger to people. Calvin Barry Law specializes in uncovering the truth. He is the Toronto Criminal Lawyer that you need on your side! Contact Calvin Barry today!

What To Do When You Get a DUI Charge for The First Time

Hiring a DUI lawyer is the first thing that anyone accused of driving under the influence or facing a DUI charge should do.

The above is to ensure that a good defense is established early on more so that territorial, provincial, and federal governments are quite strict and ruthless when it comes to prosecuting DUI cases.

Groundwork for Good Defense

Whether or not one is guilty of driving under the influence, the courts follow a procedure wherein the accused will be asked to appear in court. Should the first court appearance is to be without a lawyer, the defendant can file a request for two to three weeks continuance to find and hire a DUI lawyer. In the event that the prosecutor provides a disclosure package containing witness statements and police notes, a charge screening form, and a synopsis of DUI charge, this should be safeguarded and shared with the selected lawyer.

Going for A Guilty Plea

Hiring a DUI lawyer is a must even for those who plan to plead guilty. This is because even with a guilty plea, there are still negotiations to be done that can turn events to be more favourable for the defendant.

Note that pleading guilty will lead to a criminal conviction that will be tied to one’s name for life. It will be there no matter how much fine was paid and no matter how  long a jail time was served. It is one thing to be accused and convicted and a totally different thing to convict one’s self. For one, holding a public office will be next to impossible as well as having a career as a medical professional, a legal professional, part of the law enforcement, and many more. You will have to be fully aware of the consequences of pleading guilty before doing so. Having a DUI lawyer can help you with this.

Defend Against a DUI Charge

Choosing to fight a DUI Charge should begin with a good strategy formulated by a Criminal Lawyer. This requires a detailed initial consultation between the accused and the DUI lawyer to counter check all details which include but are not limited to:

  • What the accused drank or ingested
  • What the police saw and said
  • What the defendant saw and said
  • How were the intoxication tests administered
  • Were there any witnesses
  • Was the protocol followed
  • How the arrest was done

Part of the defense for a DUI charge is for the defendant to behave as a model citizen and not cause trouble during the case’s duration. This means dressing appropriately for court, showing up on time, responding respectfully when addressed, and generally showing a sense of social responsibility. Know that no matter how amazing a DUI lawyer is, things will not end well with a client that comes to court late and obviously intoxicated.

A good DUI lawyer will prepare the client for cross examinations and giving testimonies, possibly going over questions the other party will ask to help the client be more confident and eloquent when speaking in court. All in all, a defendant that can show the court that he’s repentant and shows commitment to be a better person is a dream client to defend for DUI lawyers.

A DUI conviction can mean a stain on your record that can affect what jobs you can take, where you can buy or rent a home, how much insurance you’ll have to pay, and more. You need to ensure that you don’t hurt your chances of getting a DUI pardon as soon as possible and that you have a DUI lawyer that can mitigate your charges. Calvin Barry is a Criminal Lawyer in Toronto that can help with this. Contact Calvin Barry Law today!

Calvin Barry Asks for 60 Day Jail Sentence for Driver of Deadly Hit and Run Incident

Calvin Barry speaks outside 361 University Court alongside his client Miguel Oliviera who was accused of leaving the scene of an accident that caused the death of a Toronto cyclist.

His lawyer, Calvin Barry, is asking for a 60-day jail sentence, to be served on weekends, and a one-year driving prohibition. Crown attorney Helen Song wants 12 to 18 months in jail and a five-year ban on driving.

Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt will deliver her ruling on Jan. 12.

Oliveira was driving westbound on Davenport Rd., facing a green light at Lansdowne Ave., when he collided with Samson at approximately 6:43 a.m., according to an agreed statement of facts.

Gallant, Jacques (2015, Dec 21) Parents, widow describe anguish over death of cyclist Tom Samson, The Toronto Star. Retrieved from

Read the full Toronto Star article here.

Toronto Defense Lawyers Comment on a Strong Week for Jian Ghomeshi

Calvin Barry was asked his opinion on the first week of the Jian Ghomeshi trial.

Looking back at the first week, how has the Crown been doing?

“Right now you don’t really see the formidable cross-examining skills of the seasoned Crown . . . he’s no pushover, he knows his stuff.”

How about the defence?

“I don’t think she’s being unfair. She’s being balanced and in a case like this you don’t want to come out of the starting gate over the top because the judge could almost draw inference that these people are being re-traumatized.”

Do you think Jian Ghomeshi will testify?

“I think he will testify because he has allegations to . . . the case is far from over, the defence is having their opportunity to score points, but the Crown will soon have theirs if and when Ghomeshi decides to testify.”

Taekema, Dan (2016, Feb 5) Local defence lawyers see strong week for Jian Ghomeshi, The Toronto Star. Retrieved from

Read the full Toronto Star article here.

Former OPSEU Spokmesman See’s Charges Dropped

Calvin comments on his clients 1 year peace bond in exchange for 12 sexual assualt charges being dropped against him.

Ford’s lawyer Calvin Barry said in court that his client disputes those allegations but will consent to the peace bond.

“It is not an admission of guilt in any way, shape or form,” Barry told the court, adding that if the case had gone to trial his client would have pleaded not guilty.

Barry said Ford agreed to the peace bond to put an end to the proceedings so he could move on with his life.

Hasham, Alyshah (2016, Sept 27) Sex assault charges against former OPSEU spokesman dropped, The Toronto Star. Retrieved from

Read the Full Toronto Star article here.

Woman who gave butt injections with caulking gun ‘remorseful,’ lawyer says

Calvin calling the case ‘unique’ called for a sentence of roughly 2.5 years.

“In her mind, she wasn’t going to hurt anyone. She wanted to make people happy,” Barry said.

“Time served is more than adequate. She’s broken. Her life is ruined.”

Perkel, Colin (2015, Feb 27) Woman who gave butt injections with caulking gun ‘remorseful,’ lawyer says, The Canadian Press. Retrieved from

Read the full CTV News article here.

3 Year Sentence for Drunk Driver who Killed Stepson

A London, Ontario man has pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death, following a crash that killed his stepson and left him with serious injuries, and having to be extracted from the vehicle.

Andrew Rutherford, 42 was apparently teaching his son how to drive at the time. Something that is supposed to be a bonding time, and soon turned into the ultimate tragedy. The car itself was not insured at the time of the accident and was in need of many repairs before the accident.

Read the full article at the London Free Press here.

Intoxicated Man Runs Himself Over After Police Pursuit

30 year old Isaac Bonsu of Alexandria Virginia has been charged with DUI as well as marijuana possession after a police pursuit, which resulted in him fleeing his car and getting run over by his own vehicle after forgetting to put it in park.

This was caught on dashcam by the Fairfax county police. Bonsu was unhurt, however, his reputation surely is after the video went viral online.

Read full article and see the video here.