Drinking and driving charges are very technical. The police must follow many procedures, like the timing of breath demands and how they conduct the arrest. If the procedures are not followed, the readings will not be admitted as evidence. In addition, the readings of blood alcohol level may not always be accurate. Any oversight may create a defence to the charge.

Below are some of the most common defences for drinking and driving offences:

Reasonable Probable Grounds: police must have a reason, called “reasonable and probable grounds”, to stop someone and ask for a sample of their breath. Without reasonable grounds, there cannot be a proper sample.

Rights to Counsel: police must inform you of your right to speak to a lawyer before you provide a sample into the breathalyzer. The police must inform you of this right promptly, and offer you the opportunity to speak with the lawyer of your choice in private.

Timing of Breath Sample: the Criminal Code tells police at what intervals and when to take a breath sample. If the samples were taken too late, or the timing was overlooked, the alcohol readings may not be accurate.

Recent Driving: it is important to speak to your lawyer about the last drink you had. For example, if your last drink was less than 15 minutes before you provided a breath sample, the result is inaccurate. In addition, if your last drink was after you drove, the breathalyzer readings would not be an accurate reading of your blood alcohol level at the time you were driving.

The Crown Can't Prove DUI: the Crown must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an offence has been committed: that you were either impaired, over 80 or that you were in care and control of your vehicle. If the Crown cannot prove that you were DUI, the judge cannot convict you.

Delay: under the Charter, you have a right to a trial within a reasonable time. If there is a delay of more than 10 months between the day you were charged to your trial date, excluding a timeframe for case preparation, the Crown and Court are responsible and this may be a defence in and of itself.

Please call 613.695.8595 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with Celine Dostaler.


Have you been accused or charged with a crime? Are you worried about losing your freedom, or a damaged reputation? losing your job? losing your family? going to jail?

Contact Céline Dostaler to schedule a free half-hour confidential consultation at:

OFFICE: 613.695.8595
CELL: 613.863.8595 (24/7)
200 Elgin St, Suite 901,
Ottawa, ON K2P 1L5

EMAIL: [email protected]