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Pardons

Driving after drinking alcoholDo you wish that you could get your DUI off of your criminal record? Fortunately, driving under the influence is one of the most commonly pardoned crimes in the country. You can go back to living your life almost as if the crime never happened. However, you need to understand fully how his program works, how to apply for a pardon, and what kind of timeframe you can expect from a pardon.

What are Pardons?

The Parole Board of Canada is responsible for issuing pardons to the citizens who have served their sentence and demonstrated a law-abiding nature for a specific period of time. Pardons are now often called record suspensions. Receiving a pardon allows you to have your criminal record removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre database.

It should be noted here that a pardon does not erase the conviction. Instead, the record will be kept separate and apart from other criminal records. In the case of a former sexual offence, the record suspension will still be flagged in the system in order to prevent an offender from doing harm to a vulnerable group of people.

What is the real benefit of receiving a pardon? Getting a pardon means that your record will no longer show up when you apply for jobs or more educational opportunities.

How Can You Apply for a Pardon?

Applying for a pardon involves a lot of paperwork and the associated documentation to support it. You will need to get copies of all of the following paperwork:

  • Convictions, Conditional and Absolution Discharges from the Criminal Record from the RCMP
  • Proof of Conviction documents, if required
  • Court Information
  • Military Conduct Sheet
  • Local Police Records Check
  • Proof of Citizenship of Immigration Documents
  • Photocopy of your Document to Support your Identification

Once you have all of this paperwork in hand, you will need to fill out the required forms. There are three separate forms known as the Record Suspension Application Form, the Measurable Benefit/Sustained Rehabilitation Form, and the Schedule 1 Exception Form.

When all of the appropriate paperwork is gathered, you can mail it in with a $631 processing fee. For more information on how to process the record suspension paperwork, you can follow this step-by-step guide offered by the Parole Board of Canada.

What Are the Times Associated with Pardons?

Unfortunately, you can’t immediately apply for a pardon in Canada. The waiting period associated with a record suspension will vary depending on what sort of crime was committed. The first step is to complete all of your sentences, including fines, imprisonment, and parole. A prohibition order does not need to end prior to starting the waiting period.

Once these steps are over, you must wait five years for a summary offence or ten years for an indictable offence.

Getting a pardon is a great way to improve your future chances of obtaining a job or getting into a good school. You should know how to follow these steps to obtain the record suspension you need. Next time you get into trouble, you need a competent DUI lawyer who can help lessen your sentence. Give Matthew Gould a call to see how he can help you!

Ignition Interlock Program

Drunk driving can cause some serious consequences for your health and the safety of those around you. You should never be behind the wheel of a car once you have had something to drink. However, that doesn’t change the fact that many people do actually drink and then drive themselves around town. A new device might be changing how frequently this happens with the Ignition Interlock Program.

What is the Ignition Interlock Program?

The Ignition Interlock Program is often mandatory, though there are a few individuals who voluntarily opt in. Manitoba law dictates that you must participate in this program if you have had any type of impaired driving offence. You will be transitioned into the program once your driver’s licence is being reinstated and the suspension has expired.

The program itself is an in-car breathalyzer that is wired directly into the car’s ignition. It is located just inside the car on the driver’s side, making it easy to blow into each time you enter the vehicle. In order to hold you accountable for making good decisions while driving, the device keeps a record of every sample you give. When you haven’t been drinking, the car will start normally. If it detects any alcohol on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not be able to start.

Keep in mind that the ignition interlock device will take your breath samples at random throughout the ride. You will have to provide one to avoid it recording the event and setting off an alarm system.

How Long Does It Last?

How long can you expect to need the Ignition Interlock Program? This depends on how many prior offences you have for impaired driving. Once your licence is reinstated, you will have to figure out which term length you qualify for. The following are the typical term lengths based on the number of convictions you have had:

  • First and second convictions: One year in the program
  • Third conviction: Three years in the program
  • Fourth or subsequent conviction: Lifetime in the program

What Does It Cost?

Unfortunately, it isn’t free to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program. The fees associated with it are similar to paying a hefty fine for your actions and convictions. Prepare yourself now for the upcoming costs so that you can afford them when your licence is reinstated. All of the obligations will be your responsibility.

  • Administration Fees: $250
  • Installation Charge: $145
  • De-Installation Charge: $50

If you can’t afford the charges, there may be financing available through Manitoba Public Insurance. In addition to the one-time charges for the device itself, you will also be subject to an $89 monthly fee for the monitoring.

The Ignition Interlock Program holds a lot of promise for preventing drunk drivers on the streets of Winnipeg. If you feel that you might be facing charges related to impaired driving, you might need a recognized criminal lawyer. Be sure to give Matthew Gould a call today to see how he can help you to understand your rights and protect yourself in court.  

License suspensions

Criminal Code Section 253 Impaired Driving in Canada

 

Not all of the negative effects of driving after consuming alcohol or drugs come from the Criminal Code. Most provinces allow for license suspensions in addition to criminal charges—or in some cases, even without criminal charges.

What is a license suspension?  

A license suspension is a temporary loss of your ability to drive legally. When your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive any type of vehicle, on or off the road. Your vehicle may be taken from you and impounded at your expense. Reinstatement of your license costs $50, and for certain suspensions you may also be forced to retake a driving test (at a cost of $30 – 175) and/or attend programming with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (costing over $600). You will also be forced to pay an additional driver’s license premium.

License suspensions are issued by the provincial driver’s licensing agency (in Manitoba, this is Manitoba Public Insurance). They are different than driving prohibitions, which are issued by the Criminal Code.

How can my license be suspended?

Your license may be suspended if you fail a roadside breath screening, refuse to comply with a police officer’s demand for a physical coordination test or breath sample, or have a blood alcohol content of 0.05 or higher. Note that this is lower than the blood alcohol content of over 0.08 required for a criminal charge. You can also have your license suspended if a police officer believes you are too impaired to perform a coordination test or provide a breath or blood sample.

How long do suspensions last?

If a police officer believes you are too impaired to perform a coordination test or provide a sample, your license will be immediately suspended for 24 hours.

If you fail a coordination test, have a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, or get a result of “warn” on an ASD, your license will be immediately suspended for 3 days (if it is your first offence). This length of time increases each subsequent time you commit the offence:

  • Second offence within 10 years: immediate 15 day suspension
  • Third offence within 10 years: immediate 30 day suspension
  • All subsequent offences within 10 years: immediate 60 day suspension

If you have a BAC over 0.08, refuse to participate in a coordination test, or refuse to provide a sample, your license can be immediately suspended for 3 months.

Suspensions following conviction

If you are convicted of a driving offence under the Criminal Code, you will be subject to an even longer license suspension:

 

First offence Second offence Third offence Subsequent offences
Impaired driving 1 year 5 years 10 years lifetime
Driving “Over 80” 1 year 5 years 10 years lifetime
Refusal to provide a sample 2 years 7 years 10 years lifetime
Impaired driving
causing bodily harm or death
5 years 10 years lifetime lifetime

 

In order to get your license back after a criminal conviction, you will also need to participate in MPI’s Ignition Interlock program.

Driving prohibitions

While the effect of a driving prohibition and license suspension is basically the same (that is, you are prevented from legally driving), it is important to understand the differences. A driver’s prohibition comes from the Criminal Code and can only be issued upon a criminal conviction for certain offences: impaired driving, driving over 80, or refusal to provide a sample . A license suspension can be issued by MPI for a wide variety of reasons, including things like speeding.

Driving prohibitions under the Criminal Code have the following sentences:

  • First offence: 1–3 years
  • Second offence: 2–5 years
  • All subsequent offences: minimum 3 years

These prohibitions do not begin until any prison sentence imposed by a judge ends. Driving while suspended or prohibited is a separate offence under the Criminal Code and can lead to a sentence of up to 5 years.

Do they affect my criminal record?

License suspensions do not show up on your criminal record, but they will show up on your driver record through MPI. If your suspension is the result of a criminal conviction, however, your conviction will appear on your criminal record.

Disclaimer: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice, contact Matt Gould now to discuss your case.

Sentencing – 253 and 254

You Need an Expert So Hire an Excellent Criminal Defence Lawyer

Offences under Section 253 and Section 254 of the Criminal Code have stiff sentences. These are the offences of impaired driving, driving over 80, and failure to provide samples. All offences under these sections have the same minimum sentences:

First offence: minimum $1000 fine

Second offence: minimum 30 days

All subsequent offences: minimum 120 days (4 months)

Because these are minimum sentences, the judge cannot go easier on you.

The maximum sentence for these charges varies depending on whether the Crown is proceeding by indictment (for more serious matters) or by summary conviction (for less serious matters).

For an indictable charge under Section 253 or 254, the maximum sentence is 5 years. For a summary conviction charge, the maximum is 18 months (1 ½ years). However, if one of these offences causes bodily harm to another person, it automatically becomes an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of 10 years. If the offence causes death, there is a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Sentences for multiple charges may run either concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one after the other).

 

MINIMUM MAXIMUM
(no harm caused)
MAXIMUM
(causing bodily harm)
MAXIMUM (causing death)
First offence $1000 fine 18 months (summary)
OR 5 years (indictable)
10 years Life in prison
Second offence 30 days 18 months (summary)
OR 5 years (indictable)
10 years Life in prison
All subsequent offences 120 days 18 months (summary)
OR 5 years (indictable)
10 years Life in prison

Aside from any fines or prison time, offences under Sections 253 and 254 may also lead to additional license suspensions and driving prohibitions.

Disclaimer: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice, contact Matt Gould now to discuss your case.

Roadside demands

What To Do If You Get A DUI

Section 254 of the Criminal Code gives police the power to make certain demands if they reasonably suspect a person has alcohol or a drug in their body and has operated or had care or control of a motor vehicle within the past three hours. It is an offence for a person to refuse one of these demands.

When can the police make a demand?

A police officer may make a demand when they have reasonable suspicion a person has consumed alcohol or a drug and operated a motor vehicle within the past three hours. Their suspicion may be based on their own observations or by others’ observations that have been communicated to them. The officer does not have to suspect the person is actually impaired by the alcohol or drug, just that they have consumed it. For example, an officer seeing a person leave a bar and get into the driver’s seat of a car might be enough to form reasonable suspicion and make the demand.

What tests can be demanded?

If an officer suspects a person has consumed a drug, they can demand a person to submit to a physical coordination test. If they suspect a person has consumed alcohol, they can demand a physical coordination test, a breath sample, or both.

The physical coordination tests that may be demanded are prescribed by regulation.

Breath samples must be given on an approved screening device (or ASD). A full list of ASDs is also prescribed by regulation.

Approved Screening Devices

ASDs are portable devices used by police to determine whether or not a person has consumed alcohol. If a person fails an ASD test, police can demand the person accompany them to a police station to give another sample on an “approved instrument”. The results from an ASD are not admissible in court as evidence of blood alcohol content.

Approved instruments”

Approved instruments” are non-portable devices that measure blood alcohol content. A list of approved instruments is prescribed by regulation. Breath samples on an approved instrument must be taken by a qualified technician.

Other samples

If a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe a person cannot provide a breath sample (for example, because of a health problem), a demand for a blood sample may be made. A blood sample must be taken by someone qualified to do so, under the direction of a qualified medical practitioner.

If, after a physical coordination test, a police officer believes a person is impaired by a drug or combination of alcohol and a drug, they may demand a sample of oral fluid or urine for analysis. They may alternatively demand a blood sample, but this must be taken by someone qualified to do so, under the direction of a qualified medical practitioner.

Failure to provide a sample

It is an offence to fail or refuse to provide a sample demanded by a police officer without a reasonable excuse. The court usually interprets “reasonable excuse” very narrowly, and it is up to the person claiming an excuse to prove it.

The sentence for failing to provide a sample is the same as a sentence for impaired driving or driving over 80. These offences are separate offences, which means driving while impaired and refusing to give a breath sample will result in two criminal charges rather than one.

Disclaimer: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice, contact Matt Gould now to discuss your case.

Driving “Over 80”

is a dui a criminal offense in canada

Section 253(1)(b) of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to operate or have care or control of a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood (also called “0.08” or “over 80”). This is usually measured by breath analysis, but can also be measured by taking a blood sample.

Am I okay if I’m under 0.08?

It is not a criminal offence to drive with a BAC of less than 0.08, but this does not necessarily mean you will be completely off the hook. Most jurisdictions in Canada allow for license suspensions at lower BAC levels. In Manitoba, a BAC of 0.05 – 0.08 will result in an immediate 3-day suspension of your driver’s license.

What about other substances?

There are currently no laws stating how much of other substances must be found in the body to create an offence. However, police officers may make demands for samples of oral fluid, urine, or blood if they suspect a driver is impaired by a drug, and their findings may lead to a charge of impaired driving.

Sentences for driving “over 80”

Disclaimer: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice, contact Matt Gould now to discuss your case.

Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle

A Short Overview of Canadian Drunk Driving Laws

Section 249 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to operate a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public.

What is a “motor vehicle”?

The Criminal Code defines a motor vehicle as “a vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power.” This includes road vehicles, like cars, trucks, and motorcycles, as well as recreational vehicles like boats, snowmobiles, ATVs, and dirt bikes.

This definition does not include railway equipment. However, section 249 also makes it an offence to operate railway equipment, an aircraft, or any object towed over water (such as water skis, surfboards, and water sleds) in a manner that is dangerous to the public.

What does “dangerous” mean?

Dangerous operation refers to use of a vehicle in a way that poses a threat to the public. There is no clear test to determine what is dangerous operation, but it must be a noticeable and significant departure from the way a reasonable person would operate a motor vehicle.

To show dangerous operation, the lives or safety of others do not have to actually have been in immediate danger. It is enough to show that members of the public were present at the time of the offence, or that they could reasonably be expected to have been present at the time of the offence. However, all of the circumstances must be taken into consideration, including the nature, condition, and use of the place where the offence occurred.

Sentences

Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle can lead to a maximum prison sentence of 5 years.

If bodily harm is caused to another person, the sentence could be as high as 10 years.

If death is caused to another person, the sentence could be as high as 14 years.

Disclaimer: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice, contact Matt Gould now to discuss your case.

 

Impaired driving

How Roadside Drug Tests Are Conducted for an Impaired Driving Offence

Section 253(1)(a) of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or a drug. It is also an offence to have care or control of a motor vehicle while impaired, even if the vehicle is not in motion.

What is impairment?

Impairment refers to a lessened ability to operate a motor vehicle. There is no special test in the Criminal Code for determining impairment. If the evidence shows any level of impairment, a driver may be charged under section 253(1)(a).

Evidence of impairment may include the smell of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, difficulty walking, and belligerence. Bad driving may also be a symptom of impairment, but ultimately this offence is about a person’s ability to drive rather than the quality of their driving. If there is evidence of impairment, it does not matter if an impaired driver is driving well and following all the rules of the road.

What is a drug?

A drug can be any substance causing impairment, whether illegal or not. It is possible to be impaired by legal substances (such as the fumes from certain chemicals) or by prescription drugs ordered by a doctor. This does not mean it is illegal to drive while taking prescription drugs, but it is illegal to drive if impaired by those drugs.

It is not necessary to be able to determine the drug used, or to be able to determine whether it is a drug or alcohol causing impairment; it is only necessary to show impairment. Impaired driving may be found even if the impairment is partly caused by a drug or alcohol and partly by fatigue.

What is “care or control”?

Care or control of a vehicle is a complicated concept, but basically refers to the risk that a vehicle will be put in motion. Occupying a position needed to operate the vehicle is sometimes enough to show care or control of the vehicle (for example, sitting in the driver’s seat of a car). Usually there must also be an intention to set the vehicle in motion, but this may not be the case if certain actions are taken that could lead to the vehicle unintentionally being set in motion (for example, turning on the ignition to listen to the radio or stay warm). Care or control may also be found when a person has the means and immediate capacity to operate the vehicle (for example, being in the vehicle with the keys).

Sentences for driving while impaired

Disclaimer: this article is for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice, contact Matt Gould now to discuss your case.

Is Vandalism Considered a Property-Related Offence?

Understanding the charges for specific items like vandalism can be a little challenging if you aren’t accustomed to the criminal justice system. You should know where each of your charges falls in terms of its type and its severity. After all, these charges directly influence your impending sentencing. You should take a few moments to learn more about property-related crimes and how vandalism fits into this category below.

What are property-related offences?

A property crime is any action that purposely defaces or destroys someone else’s property. This could refer directly to their personal property, such as electronics, their home, or even their car. It doesn’t have to include any type of bodily injury to the other party in order to fall into the property-related offences category. Property-related offences is a relatively broad category that includes low-level crimes all the way up to felony charges.

Stealing and theft of property do fall under this category unless there is an express intent to harm or to take the items by force. This then transforms into robbery, which is considered a crime of violence. It is still considered a property-related offence even if the perpetrator does not actually get away with the items in question.

Common examples of property-related offences include:

  • Theft
  • Larceny
  • Burglary
  • Shoplifting
  • Arson

How does vandalism fit in?

You might be wondering how vandalism fits into the property-related offences category. The very definition of vandalism is when you purposely destroy or deface the property of another person, allowing it to fit squarely into this category. In order for it to be considered vandalism, your actions must have taken place without the permission of the owner. It is not considered to be art, even if that was its primary intention.

Vandalism may be referred to by another common term depending on the damage: criminal damage, malicious trespass, or malicious mischief.

There are several different forms that vandalism can take. Graffiti isn’t the only act of vandalism that a person can commit. For more examples of property-related offences that fall under this category, you will want to see below for a more extensive list:

  • Throwing eggs at someone’s car or window
  • Scratching the paint off a car with a key or other object
  • Breaking windows
  • Slashing car tires
  • Defacing park benches
  • Knocking down or spray painting on street signs
  • Destroying property using your body

An officer may also charge you with a property-related offence of vandalism if you have the specific means to commit vandalism in your possession. This include spray paint bottles in a backpack, a glass cutter, or any other suspicious objects.

 

The penalty for vandalism can range from fines to imprisonment, and it most often includes restitution.

Being charged with a property-related offence can be extremely serious for the individual charged. You need to make sure that you have an effective criminal defence lawyer on your side. Give Matthew Gould a call today to see how he can help you to move forward through the court system with your charges.

Youth Offence: Why Young People are Treated Differently than Adults by Criminal Justice

Judge watching prosecution in court

When facing the consequences of a potentially serious crime, young people are frequently treated much differently than adults. The criminal justice system does handle adults and juveniles in different ways, primarily based on their age. However, many people struggle to understand why there is this subtle difference between the consequences of an adult’s crime and a child’s crime. Shouldn’t the punishment be equal across the board for everyone?

There’s an inherent flaw in issuing an equal consequence for everyone who commits the same crime. If we were to do this in our current justice system, we would lose all of the ability to have subtle nuance in our sentencing. Instead, we rely on a few of these primary differences to help explain why youth offences are treated differently than those committed by an adult.

Maturity Levels

Children under the age of eighteen have a much lower maturity level than most adults. This can lead to impulsive actions where a child may not have thought their choices all the way through before acting on them. You might also be aware that children lack the ability to plan for the future in the same manner as an adult. The developmental differences between children and adults can be significant. Youth offences are often treated differently because children lack the cognitive capacities of an adult.  

Instead, the criminal justice system focuses on helping children learn to take responsibility for their actions in order to achieve a healthier community reintegration later. They can help to increase a youth’s maturity to level to prevent recidivism in the future. This is also why the access to juvenile records is incredibly restricted. Criminal justice prevents children from being haunted by their misdoings as a result of their developmental and maturity levels.

Behavior Malleability

Children can be easily swayed and taught to change their actions over a long period of time. It might require a lot of intentional work, but it is definitely possible to see a positive shift for the future. It’s this malleability that allows the criminal justice system to treat children differently than adults. With intensive work and programs, youth can learn to make wiser decisions that support their community instead of the criminal ones that led to placement in the juvenile justice system.

As a result, juvenile justice adds an extra focus on rehabilitating its members. They provide treatments and interventions to help reintegrate them successfully back into the community once their term is over.

Because of the inherent differences between youth offences and their adult counterparts, criminal justice does tend to take a different approach. Children can be evaluated using a psychological framework that includes their social history whereas adults are judged solely on the crime they committed.

Whether you need criminal defence representation for a youth or an adult, you want to find one of the best. Matthew Gould can help you to expertly navigate the criminal justice system for a more favorable outcome to your next trial or hearing.