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).


(no harm caused)
(causing bodily harm)
MAXIMUM (causing death)
First offence$1000 fine18 months (summary)
OR 5 years (indictable)
10 yearsLife in prison
Second offence30 days18 months (summary)
OR 5 years (indictable)
10 yearsLife in prison
All subsequent offences120 days18 months (summary)
OR 5 years (indictable)
10 yearsLife 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.


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.

How to Prevent White Collar Crime

White collar crime in the business place seems to be on the rise these days, but employers feel powerless to put a stop to it. The good news is that you don’t have to blindly accept that crime is a part of every workplace. You can start to take preventative measures to deter your employees from committing a crime like an embezzlement before it ever happens. All it takes is a little bit of tact and expertise to put the necessary systems in place.

Stop worrying about when white collar crime will hit your place of business and start taking action. With these top tips to prevent it, your business will be in a much better place.

Install internet tracking software

Do you know what your employees are doing on their computers during work hours? They could be wasting hours playing on social media or starting to scheme their next crime. Either way, employers should be very cautious when allowing employees to have free reign over the internet. Install internet tracking software companywide to help hold everyone accountable to a much higher standard.

Monitor your staff better

Make sure that all of your security cameras work and be vigilant about checking for blind spots. You should definitely keep an eye on areas that house valuable items or cash drawers. Many employers grow lazy about watching their surveillance footage, but this could give you some insight into who is plotting an upcoming crime. If you don’t have any equipment yet, you need to be certain to purchase cameras and recording equipment that can store the videos. This enables you to access it again in the future just in case you missed something important.  

Hire a compliance officer

It might not be a glamorous position but hiring a compliance officer gives you a little more security. They can take over monitoring the business for a potential crime while you return to running the numbers. They may have the experience and training necessary to prevent this type of crime in the workplace. Don’t forget to give them the power they need to act on any suspicions they might have about a pending crime.

Hire an actual felon

According to expert Walter Pavlo, hiring a felon who previously committed a white collar crime might be a great way to deter future issues. You may not want to make this person your compliance officer, but it could be helpful to have them around the office. Your employees are faced with the real consequences of what a prison term might look like. It could make your employees think long and hard about what the consequences of their actions will be. After all, very few people realize just how long the prison sentences can be for white collar crime.

No matter how many preventative steps you take, you might still find that white collar crime is an issue. When you need an effective criminal defence lawyer, be sure to contact Matthew Gould to represent you or your business.

What is Considered Domestic Violence in Canada?

examples of criminal harassment

Domestic violence is on the rise in Canada with thousands of women and children seeking refuge in shelters across the country. According to the 2010 data, there were close to 99,000 victims of family violence in the country. This staggering statistic accounts for almost one-fourth of all the victims of violent crime. Women tended to be more susceptible to experiencing domestic violence than their male counterparts. In fact, the majority of the people injured by domestic violence were spouses.

Understanding what Canadian law considers to be domestic violence can be challenging because of the broad range of activities it can include. This charge can include the use of physical or sexual force, even if it is only threatened. A single instance of violence is sufficient enough to be considered domestic violence, even though regular abuse with assaultive or controlling actions will also fall into the same category.

Other actions that can result in domestic violence charges include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse (such as child pornography)
  • Kidnapping or forcible confinement
  • Trafficking of persons
  • Stalking (including indecent phone calls, trespassing, and other mischief)
  • Threats to harm children, pets, other people, or property

These actions must be done to a partner in an intimate relationship. While this can include current romantic entanglements, it also encompasses relationships between people in former dating relationships, common-law relationships, previous marriages, and couples who are parents of a child (even if they do not live together or have a relationship).

Domestic violence can be referred to by many different names including abuse, domestic assault, or domestic conflict. If the actions are directed toward a spouse, it may be labeled as spousal abuse or assault. Intimate partner abuse and assault also apply if you have not entered into wedlock with the perpetrator.

Still, there is a much broader category for family violence that can include an even greater number of offences. For example, financial abuse can also qualify under the family violence category. This includes actions such as theft, misappropriation of money held under direction, credit card theft, extortion, forgery, and fraud.

There is a rather broad understanding of what domestic violence is considered across Canada, but it is always taken very seriously. Many courts will issue a no-contact order until the trial is set and a final decision can be rendered. Most parts of Canada have developed initiatives that help to prevent domestic violence and protect the victims of the ordeal. It is best to abide by whatever terms have been set until the trial or appeal is over to prevent harsher measures from being taken. These are put in place to protect everyone’s best interests in a case.

If you face domestic violence charges or need criminal defence representation, you need a top-notch attorney to help. Contact Matthew Gould to serve as your experienced criminal defence trial lawyer. He can help you to know your rights, understand the law, and protect yourself from the harsh punishments that can come along with domestic violence charges.

Consequences Of The Canadian Impaired Driving Law

Canada has a law of prohibiting its citizens to drive when drunk. This is to prevent any road related crime due to alcohol.

DWI or driving while intoxicated is a criminal act, too. This is strictly implemented and charges when caught driving under the influence can be serious. Below are the consequences when you get a DUI in the country:

Consequences Of The Canadian Impaired Driving Law

What Happens When You Get A DUI In Canada

1. Criminal Conviction

Driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a criminal offense. Thus, one of the consequences of the Canadian impaired driving law is being charged with a criminal conviction on the record of the offender.

Most prosecutions of DUI charges in the country lead to summary convictions, while sometimes they are also prosecuted as an indictment.

2. Jail Time And/Or Fines

The charge on your first offers when found guilty with DWI is that you will be fined with $1,000. However, if you get the same offense again within 10 years after the first one, it will result in being arrested and put to jail for a minimum of 30 days.

Subsequent penalties will cause you to be put in jail for at least 120 days. Moreover, when the prosecution is pursued as a summary conviction, the sentenace can be as long as 18 months.

3. Suspension Of License

What happens when you get a DUI in Canada is that your driver’s licensed will also be revoked. On your first offense, you won’t be able to drive for at least one year. On the second time of conviction, your licensed will be revoked for at least two years, and at least three years on the third case.

4. Additional Fines

Charges when caught driving under the influence also include having to pay other additional fees due to conviction which the amount may be between $500 to $2,000 on your first offense. On the second, aside from being put to jail, you may still need to pay fines on top of the arrest.

5. Restricted Entry

When you have a record of DUI or DWI in the United States in the past 10 years, you may have the chance not to be allowed to enter Canada. Since DUI is considered a criminal offense, one who is charged with DUI is only allowed to enter the country when claimed to be rehabilitated.

The consequences of the Canadian impaired driving law may be quite serious and can result to inconvenience for years. Thus, when charged with a DWI offense for whatever reasons, contact a DUI lawyer to help you plead and be free from the record of such crime.

What Actually Happens When You Get A DUI In Canada

Charges When Caught Driving Under The Influence

Avoiding all of these consequences by simply abiding the law is the best option. However, in case that you have already been charged with such criminal offense, defend yourself to avoid experiencing the consequences of the violation of the law, and contact the best DUI lawyers in the area.