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Canadian Criminal Law/Offences/Motor Vehicle Offences/Print version

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Contents[edit | edit source]

Motor Vehicle Offences[edit | edit source]

Offences/Impaired Driving and Over 80[edit source]

Impaired Driving, Over 80 and Refusal
s. 254 253, 254 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid
Jurisdiction Prov. Court
SC Judge + PI (I)
SC Jury + PI (I) (536(2))
Minimum $1,000 +
12 months Driving Prohib.(first)
30 days jail + 2 to 5 years Driving Prohib. (second)
120 days +
3 or more years Driving Prohib. (three or more)
Maximum 18 months jail or $5,000 fine
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Minimum same as summary
Maximum 5 years jail
References
Offence Elements
Sentence Principles
Sentence Digests

Summary[edit | edit source]

Section 253 describes two distinct but related offences. The offence of "impaired driving" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's ability to operate it is impaired by drug or alcohol. The offence of "over 80" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 80mg per 100ml of blood.

These offences are some of the most heavily litigated of all criminal offences. The proof of impaired driving has basis largely on the observational evidence of eye-witnesses, usually the investigating officer. They can become complicated when involving drugs rather than alcohol as it requires a Drug Recognition Expert. The proof of the Over 80 offence requires a procedure of taking a breath or blood sample and then extrapolating the estimated BAC at the time of the offence. There are several short cuts to proof that are available under s. 258.

Both offences have the common element of operation or care and control, which becomes most uncertain when examining whether there was care or control arising from the risk of the vehicle being put in motion. These offences also often engage Charter rights under s. 8 and 9, 10(b).

Legislation[edit | edit source]

Operation while impaired
253. (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

...

CCC

Failure or refusal to comply with demand
s. 254
...
(5) Everyone commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand made under this section.

...

CCC

Proof of Offence[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time and date, jurisdiction, and identity of the accused, the essential elements are:[1]

Note, the items in bold are essential elements.

Operating while impaired - 253(1)(a)[edit | edit source]

  1. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  2. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  3. there was any amount of impairment of the accused ability to drive at the time
  4. the impairment was by alcohol or drug at the time
  5. The accused voluntarily consumed the alcohol

Operating while BAC over 80 - 253(1)(b)[edit | edit source]

  1. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  2. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  3. The Accused's BAC was over 80 at the time
    1. each sample taken as soon as practicable after offence was committed
    2. first sample taken not later than two hours
    3. interval of at least 15 minutes between samples
    4. each sample received from suspect directly into instrument
    5. the instrument was an approved instrument
    6. the instrument was operated by a qualified technician
    7. the technician made an analysis of each sample

Refusal[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time, jurisdiction, and identity, the crown should prove:[2]

  1. A proper demand was given and understood;
  2. there was a refusal or failure to provide a proper sample; (actus reus)
  3. the accused intended not to provide a proper sample; (mens rea) and
  4. there was no reasonable excuse for refusing.


  1. R. v. Andrews 1996 ABCA 23 at 31 [1] discusses impairment
  2. R v Lewko, 2002 SKCA 121 at 9

Interpretation[edit | edit source]

Mens Rea[edit | edit source]

The charge of impaired driving is a general intent offence. [1]

The mens rea of the offence of impaired driving is made out by the accused's voluntary consumption of alcohol for the purpose of becoming intoxication or the accused "acting recklessly, aware that impairment could result, but persisting despite the risk". [2]

It is not necessary that the accused have actual knowledge of the effects of drugs or alcohol. Proof of recklessness is sufficient.[3]

Where the voluntary consumption of alcohol is proven, there is a rebuttable presumption the mens rea is made out. [4]

The intent to be impaired can be negated in certain circumstances where the accused's drink may have been drugged.[5]

  1. R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 40
  2. R. v. Mavin 1997 CanLII 14625 (NL CA), (1997), 154 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 242 at paras. 37-39
    R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 41
  3. R. v. Pomeroy, 2007 BCSC 142 (CanLII)
    R. v. Honish, 1993 CanLII 156 (SCC), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 458
  4. R. v. King, 1962 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1962] S.C.R. 746 at p.763
  5. e.g. R. v. Sitarz, 2012 ONCJ 561 (CanLII)

Motor Vehicle[edit | edit source]

Under s. 2, "motor vehicle" is defined as "a vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power, but does not include railway equipment;" Certain vehicles, such as scooters, are powered by either pedal or motor, the crown will generally have to prove that the vehicle was being operated by motor power at the time of the offence.[1]

A vehicle that is inoperable, such as were it is out of gas, will still be a motor vehicle.[2]

  1. see for example R v Rookes, 2012 SKPC 80
  2. R v Lloyd, [1988] SJ No 216 (SKCA)

Issues[edit | edit source]

Kienapple Principle[edit | edit source]

Kienapple does not prevent a conviction for dangerous driving causing death or bodily harm and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death. The first offence concerns the ability to operate a vehicle while the second offence focuses on the manner in which the vehicle was operated.[1]

  1. R v Ramage, 2010 ONCA 488 at para. 59 to 66

See also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Impaired Driving and Over 80/Proof of Impairment[edit source]

Proof of Impairment by Alcohol[edit | edit source]

The Crown need only prove any degree of impairment of the person's ability to drive, not matter how great or minor. [1]

This must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.[2]

Impairment refers to the physiological of alcohol upon the mind. This is separate from intoxication, which refers to the observable physical signs of impairment. [3]

Note, however, impairment is relative to a particular task. It is not simply a degree of general impairment but rather the accused's ability to drive is impaired and that the impairment is caused by alcohol or a drug.[4] The judge should not assume that mere impairment of any functional ability is equivalent to impairment by alcohol.[5]

To prove any degree of impairment of ability to drive, the crown should present evidence of aberrant driving and consumption of alcohol. If evidence of driving is not available there is greater responsibility of establishing impairment through signs of the accused.[6]

Impairment cannot be inferred merely by the readings from the breath sample results.[7] A judge cannot take judicial notice that a certain reading necessarily means that the person is impaired.

It is not necessary to prove that the driver intended to become impaired.[8] Proof of the actus reus alone is sufficient to create a presumption that the accused intended to operate while impaired.[9]

Where fatigue is combined with alcohol, the only issue is whether the alcohol was a contributing factor to the impairment.[10]

  1. R. v. Stellato 1993 CanLII 3375 (ON CA), (1993), 78 C.C.C. (3d) 380 (Ont. C.A.)[2]; affirmed 90 C.C.C. (3d) 160 (S.C.C.)
    R. v. Brannan 1999 BCCA 669, (1999), 140 C.C.C. (3d) 394, ("the test for driving while impaired contrary to s. 253(a) is any impairment")
    see also R. v. Pijogge, 2012 NLTD(G) 94
    R. v. White (2004), 50 M.V.R. (4th) 177 (NLSC)
    R. v. Loveman (2005), 15 M.V.R. (5th) 280 (NLSC)
    R. v. Thompson, 2012 ONCJ 377 at para 13
  2. R. v. Czarnecki, 2000 Carswell Man. 215 (Q. B.)
    R. v. Stellato, 1994 CanLII 94 (SCC), [1994] 2 S. C. R. 478
  3. See Andrews [1996] AJ no 8 in the analysis section discussing this difference
  4. As observed in R. v. Raven, [1999] O.J. No. 48 (Gen. Div.) per Durno J. at paras. 47 and 50: it is incorrect to read Stellato as requiring only proof of a slight degree of impairment by alcohol as opposed to a slight degree of impairment of one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle as a result of the consumption of alcohol
  5. R. v. Andrews [1996] AJ No 8 (ABCA) at para. 17 (Courts "must not fail to recognize the fine but crucial distinction between ‘slight impairment’ generally, and ‘slight impairment of one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.")
    R. v. Sampson, [2009] N.S.J. No. 280
  6. R. v. Polturak, (1988), 90 A.R. 158, 61 Alta. L.R. (2d) 306 (C.A.), at para. 3
    Beals v. R.(1956), 25 C.R. 85, 117 C.C.C. 22 (N.S.C.A.)
    R. v. E. (A.L.), 2009 SKCA 65; 359 Sask. R. 59
    R v Thomas, 2012 SKCA 30 at 13
  7. see R. v. Letford, [2000] O.J. No. 4841 (C.A.)
  8. R. v. Pomeroy, [2007] B.C.J. No. 170 (S.C. at para.44 R. v. Mavin 1997 CanLII 14625 (NL CA), (1997), 154 Nfld & P.E.I.R. 242, at para. 37
  9. R. v. King, 1962 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1962] S.C.R. 746
    R. v. Lamha, 2011 ABPC 303 -- impaired by a mix of drugs
  10. R. v. Christopher, (1982) BCJ No. 2008 (BCCA) at para 2-5
    R. v. Pelletier, (1989) SJ No. 493 (Sask. Q.B.)
    R. v. Payette, (1991) BCJ No. 795 (BCSC) at para 2 to 3
    R. v. Barry, (1991) BCJ No. 2212 (BCSC)
    R. v. Bartello, (1996) OJ No. 1000 (OCJ), appeal dismissed, (1997) OJ No. 2226 (ONCA) at 22
    R. v. Isley, (1997) BCJ No. 2678 (BCSC) at 23
    R. v. Cosentino, (2008) OJ No. 5263 (OSCJ) at 54, 92-93
    R. v. Comte, (2011) ABPC 131

Physical Signs of Impairment[edit | edit source]

Factors to consider include:[1]

  1. erratic or abnormal driving
  2. blood-shot or watery eyes
  3. flushed face
  4. odour of alcoholic beverage
  5. slurred speech
  6. a deterioration of the accused’s judgment, attention, or comprehension
  7. a loss of motor co-ordination or control,
  8. increased reaction times,
  9. diminished sensory perceptions, or
  10. inappropriate or abusive behaviour


  1. See R v Landes [1997] SJ 785 (SKQB) at para. 16

Equivocation of Signs[edit | edit source]

Where the evidence of impairment is equivocal on the totality of evidence, it would be dangerous to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that there was impairment.[1] This would include circumstantial evidence alone or equivocal evidence of impairment that shows only a “slight deviation from normal conduct”.[2]


  1. R v Peterson, [2009] OJ No. 671 at 35 citing R . v. Andrews 1996 CanLII 6628 (AB CA)
  2. Andrews, supra

Proof of Impairment by Drugs[edit | edit source]

The standard to proving impairment by drugs is the same as impairment by alcohol. The main difference involves the manner of detecting the presence of drugs and presenting evidence that there is impairment.

The investigation of an impaired by drugs case commences with the initial investigation wherein an officer forms a reasonable suspicion of impairment by drugs.

Under s. 254(2), the officer may demand that the driver submit to screening test to determine if there is reasonable grounds to believe that the driver is committing an offence under s. 253 regarding drugs.

The investigating officer will generally have a Drug Recognition Expert (or Drug Recognition Evaluator) attend the scene of the investigation to perform a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) to determine if the driver may be impaired by drugs.

If the driver presents sufficient indicia of impairment then they will be given a demand to attend the police station to undergo the full 12 step assessment as set out in the Regulations.[1]

Standardized Field Sobriety Test[edit | edit source]

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test will frequently take place at the roadside, when it is safe to do so and where the officer has not already formed the requisite grounds to believe that an offence under s. 253 has been committed.

The SFST will involve the examination of the driver's eyes for signs of Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, a heel-to-toe walk, and a one-legged standing test.

Drug Assessment[edit | edit source]

The Drug Recognition Expert follows a 12 step assessment process that is generally uniform across all of North America.[1]

  1. Breath Alcohol Test
  2. Interview of the Arresting Officer
  3. Preliminary Examination and First Pulse
  4. Eye Examination
  5. Divided Attention Psychophysical Tests
  6. Vital Signs and Second Pulse
  7. Dark Room Examinations
  8. Examination for Muscle Tone
  9. Check for Injection Sites and Third Pulse
  10. Subject’s Statements and Other Observations
  11. Analysis and Opinions of the Evaluator
  12. Toxicological Examination

See: DRE Symptom Chart; [14]

Blood or Urine Sample[edit | edit source]

Either a blood or urine sample will be taken during or after the Drug Assessment. The purpose of the sample is largely confirmatory of the independent conclusion of the DRE on whether there is impairment.


Case Digests[edit | edit source]

  • R. v. Conron, 2012 ONCJ 171 -- DRE impaired acquittal

See Also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Impaired Driving and Over 80/Screening Device[edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The grounds to arrest on either s. 253(1)(a) or (b), requires that the officer have reasonable and probable grounds that:

  1. the offender was in care and control of a motor vehicle while his ability to operate the motor vehicle was impaired (s.253(1)(a)), or
  2. the offender was in care and control of a motor vehicle while his blood alcohol concentration was over 0.80

Signs of intoxication do provide some reasonable grounds to suspect impairment, but given that impairment does not imply a BAC over 80 and the strength of odour tells the observer nothing of the concentration in the body, a screening device will provide further information.

There is no right to counsel on a roadside screening demand.[1]

  1. R v. Thomsen [1988] 1 S.C.R. 640

Roadside Screening[edit | edit source]

A police officer may employ a road-side screening test on a suspect under s. 254(2):

s.254

...

Testing for presence of alcohol or a drug
(2) If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person has alcohol or a drug in their body and that the person has, within the preceding three hours, operated a motor vehicle or vessel, operated or assisted in the operation of an aircraft or railway equipment or had the care or control of a motor vehicle, a vessel, an aircraft or railway equipment, whether it was in motion or not, the peace officer may, by demand, require the person to comply with paragraph (a), in the case of a drug, or with either or both of paragraphs (a) and (b), in the case of alcohol:

...

(b) to provide forthwith a sample of breath that, in the peace officer’s opinion, will enable a proper analysis to be made by means of an approved screening device and, if necessary, to accompany the peace officer for that purpose.

CCC

For there to be a valid screening device demand under s.254(2) the demand must be:

  1. must be made by a peace officer;
  2. with reasonable grounds to suspect
    1. that a person has alcohol or a drug in their body; and
    2. that person has within the preceding three hours operated or had care and control of a motor vehicle.

This second requirement was brought in with the July 2, 2008 amendments. Prior to the amendments it was necessary that the officer find the accused in the state of operation or care and control. This amendment is not retrospective as it provides the police with a new power.

"Reasonable grounds to suspect"/"Reasonable Suspicion" that Alcohol is in the Body[edit | edit source]

A police officer may demand that a person who is found in care and control or in operation of a vehicle undergo a roadside screening test for alcohol. The officer must have "reasonable grounds" to suspect (or "reasonable suspicion") that alcohol is in their body to make a roadside test demand.[1] The quantity of alcohol and the level of impairment is irrelevant.

The burden is on the Crown to prove that there were grounds to administer the test on a balance of probabilities.

Where an officer administers an ASD without reasonable suspicion, a Charter violation under s. 8 and 9 result. [2]

The standard required for the ASD test under 254(3)(a)(i) is not a “standard of proof” as understood in judicial proceedings.[3]

  1. R. v. Maslanko, 2011 ABPC 202 [3]
    R. v. Haas 2005 CanLII 26440 (ON CA)
    R. v. Church, [2008] BCSC 686 at 6
    R. v. Gaudaur, [2008] BCSC 981 at 40-42
    R. v. Lemma, 2011 ABPC 312 [4] (no grounds)
    R. v. Beechinor, [2004] S.J. No. 187 (SKPC)
  2. e.g. R. v. Zoravkovic, [1997] O.J. No. 1010 (Ont. C.J.), 1998 CanLII 3202 (ON CA)
    R. v. Hendel, [1997] O.J. No. 2849 (Ont. C.J.)
    R. v. Smith, [1997] O.J. No. 3677 (Ont. C.J.)
    R. v. O’Flanagan, [2009] S.J. No. 55, 2009 SKPC 14
    R. v. Thompson, [2003] S.J. No. 240, 2003 SKPC 56
  3. R v Loewen, 2010 ABCA 255 at 13

Reasonable Suspicion Test[edit | edit source]

A reasonable suspicion lies between a mere suspicion and reasonable and probable grounds. [1]

Reasonable suspicion does not require that it be the only possibility, but merely one possible conclusion based on supported facts.[2]

The standard only requires a belief on the presence of alcohol and not the amount consumed or the effects.[3]

Reasonable suspicion can rely on information that is less reliable than for establishing "reasonable and probable grounds".[4]

Reasonable suspicion must include objective reasonableness. [5]

The assessment is based on the totality of the evidence-all surrounding circumstances-rather than piece by piece consideration of whether the evidence is consistent with the factors. [6] This means considering not only evidence suggestive of alcohol in the body but also evidence suggesting otherwise as well as the absence of evidence.

The officer who makes the demand does not need to be the officer who had initial contact with the accused.[7] However, the officer making the demand must be the one who formed a reasonable suspicion that the accused has alcohol in his system.[8] This basis can be based on information received from another officer.

  1. R. v. Kang-Brown, 2008 SCC 18 (CanLII), [2008] 1 S.C.R. 456, at para. 75
    see R. v. Monteyne, 2008 SKPC 20 (re suspicion)
    R. v. Donald, [2010] S.J. No. 564, 2010 SKPC 123 at 18
  2. R v Chipchar (2009) AJ No 1058
  3. R v Gilroy 1987 ABCA 185; R v Thomas 2008 ABQB 610
  4. R v Kang-Brown [2008] SCJ No 18 at para 75 at 79
  5. R. v. Smith, [2011] S.J. No. 650 (Sask. Prov. Ct.) at para 44
    R. v. Ajula 2011 ONCJ 10
  6. R. v. Todd, 2007 BCCA 176
    R. v. Wong, 2001 BCCA 13
    R. v. Usher, 2011 BCCA 271
    R. v. Nahorniak, 2010 SKPC 68 at para 23 R. v. Cuthbertson, 2003 ABPC 83 at 46
  7. R. v. Telford 1979 ABCA 244
  8. R. v. Sahota [2000] OJ No 3943 (ONCJ)
    R v Telford, supra

Subjective Component[edit | edit source]

There should not simply be signs of consumption of alcohol, but also signs of impaired driving skills. Once both are established, the analysis must consider the degree of each and the totality of the circumstances. [1]

Impairment to driving skills requires that on an objective basis there is impairment “such as coordination, comprehension and a poor (but not simply illegal) driving pattern.” If any one of these is found as well as evidence of alcohol consumption, then there is an objective basis to conclude the driver’s ability to drive is impaired by alcohol.[2]

Alternate explanations or imprecise descriptions do little to reduce the value of the observations. This is because the observations to not need to meet a formal burden of proof. Also, most any signs can be explained by something other than alcohol.[3]

An admission of "two drinks", without any indication of the time of these drinks, was enough to support a reasonable suspicion.[4]

An admission of “two drinks” is not relevant to establishing impairment. It is only where there is an admission of many drinks, that the inference of impairment can be made.[5]

Evidence of an amount of consumption can also be enough to create a reasonable suspicion.[6]

Grounds should include more than simply an admission of the accused that they had drank alcohol within the past three hours. [7]

The subjective belief for the demand is a question of fact.[8]

  1. R. v. Baltzer, 2011 ABQB 84 at 40-41
  2. R. v. Baltzer, 2011 ABQB 84 at 38
  3. R v Baltzer 2011 ABQB 84 at 36-37
  4. R v Kimmel 2008 ABQB 594
    R v Thomas 2008 ABQB 610
    R v Ross 2011 ABPC 173
    c.f. R v Dyer 2007 ABPC 116
  5. R v Baltzer at 36-37
  6. R. v. Gilroy, (1987), 79 A.R. 318 (C.A.), leave to appeal to S.C.C. refused;
    R. v. Stauch, ABQB 85
  7. R. v. Mowat, 2010 BCPC 430 [5]
    R. v. Baker, [2004] A.J. No. 1355, R. v. Hnetka, [2007] A.J. No. 806, R. v. Klontz, [2007] A.J. No. 1283, R. v. Hemery 2008 ABPC 209
  8. R v Bernshaw, supra
    R v MAL [2003] OJ No 1050
    R v Shephard [2009] SCJ 35 at para 18 to 20
    R v Biccum [2012] AJ No 234 (CA) at para. 9 to 10

Objective Component[edit | edit source]

The judge is permitted to consider the police officer's training and personal experience in determining objective reasonableness[1]However, the evidence of a police officer is no less worthy of scrutiny.

The officer himself cannot dictate what is reasonable and what is not. [2]

To be reasonable it does not need to be the only conclusion derived from the circumstances. The court considers whether a reasonable person in the circumstances would have a suspicion that the person was impaired by alcohol.

The smell of alcohol on the breath of the driver, by itself, is sufficient to support the suspicion that the driver was operating the vehicle while impaired.[3]

The grounds need not be proven a on balance of probabilities.[4]

It is not necessary to consider the timing at which the suspected alcoholic beverage was consumed.[5]

The lack of evidence of consumption can weigh against the formation of a reasonable suspicion.[6]

An officer need not spell out his subjective suspicion that there is alcohol in the accused’ body using the words of s. 254(2). The court may infer the suspicion based on all of the evidence.[7]

It is generally considered that the “point in time” for the issue of reasonable grounds is at the time of the arrest. Certain cases have concerned the moment being at the time at the time of the demand.[8]

If the accused had drank alcohol within 15 minutes of the first test may render the ASD test unreliable. The mere possibility of consuming alcohol within 15 minutes does not affect the reliability of the ASD.(R v Einarson, (2004) 183 CCC (3d) at para 35) The main issue is whether there was any evidence which may have caused the officer to investigate when the accused had his last drink. If "credible evidence" exists the officer should delay test for 15 minutes to ensure reliability.[9]

  1. R. v Rajaratnam, 2006 ABCA 333 at para. 25
    R. v Juan, 2007 BCCA 351 at paras. 18-21, 222 CCC (3d) 289.
    R. v MacKenzie, 2011 SKCA 64
  2. R. v Payette, 2010 BCCA 392 at para. 29
  3. R v Stauch (2007) AJ No 142 (QB)
    R v Carson (2009) OJ No 660
    R v Gannon 2007 ABPC 65
    R v Redstar (2009) ABPC 79
    R v Tellefson 2009 ABPC 159
  4. R v Loewen, 2010 ABCA 255 at 18
  5. R. v. Aujla, 2011 ONCJ 10 at para 36 [6]
  6. R. v. Zoravkovic 1998 CanLII 3202 (ON CA), (1998), 112 O.A.C. 119 (Ont. C.A.)
  7. R. v. Imanse, 2010 BCSC 446; R. v. Gibbons, 2009 ONCJ 354;
    R. v. Dietz, [1993] A.J. No. 45 (C.A.);
    R. v. Church, 2008 BCSC 686
    R. v. Donald (No.2), 2010 SKPC 123 (CanLII)
  8. R. v. Shaw, 2011 SKQB 425
  9. R v Szybunka, 2005 ABCA 422 at para 8

Observational evidence[edit | edit source]

Compelled Admissions[edit | edit source]

A person compelled by statute to make admissions with respect to the operation of a motor vehicle cannot be used as grounds to administer a roadside test, or arrest.[1]

A statement compelled by statute must be proven on a balance of probabilities that: [2]

  1. That he was in fact compelled by statute to provide a report.
  2. That the statements he made were a “report” within the meaning of the compelling statute.
  3. That he gave his report with the honest and reasonable belief he was compelled by the statute to do so.

Short and straightforward questions by the police about alcohol consumption for the purpose of screening without giving access to a lawyer is a reasonable limitation to a persons s. 10(b) Charter right.[3]

See also: Canadian Criminal Evidence/Admissions and Confessions/Right Against Self-crimination

  1. R v. Soules, [2011] O.J. No. 2500 - admission of driving and drinking
    R v. White, 1999 CanLII 689 (SCC), (1999) 2 S.C.R. 417 - admissions to striking and killing pedestrian excluded due to compelled admissions
    R v. Powers, (2006) 213 C.C.C. (3d) 315 - admission of operation in collision case excluded
  2. R v. Parol, [2011] O.J. No. 2641
  3. R. v. Ellerman 2000 ABCA 47, (2000), 255 AR 149: The court stated the inquiry was prescribed by law under the provincial Highway Act

Physical signs of impairment[edit | edit source]

It is not usually sufficient to observe signs of alcohol consumption. [1] However, cases have that the smell of alcohol on a person’s breath alone is enough to create a reasonable suspicion.[2]

The smell of alcohol on a driver's breath alone can be sufficient to create a reasonable suspicion.[3]

Where an officer states there is a sign of slurred speech but fails to provide details on what words were slurred, this can be used against the reliability of the evidence.[4]

Determination of impairment is on an objective standard of “an ordinary citizen” or a “reasonable person”. Observations to consider include:[5]

  1. evidence of improper or abnormal driving by the accused;
  2. presence of bloodshot or watery eyes;
  3. presence of a flushed face;
  4. odour of an alcohol beverage;
  5. slurred speech;
  6. lack of coordination and inability to perform physical tests;
  7. lack of comprehension; and
  8. inappropriate behaviour.

The odour of alcohol originates from the non-alcoholic content of the drink. There is no relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and the odour. A stronger odour tends to show more recent consumption. [6]

  1. R. v. Forsberg, [2000] Sask. J. No. 154 [7]
  2. R. v. Butchko, 2004 SKCA 159[8]
    R. v. Skwarchuk, [2010] A.J. No. 894 (Alta. P.C.)[9]
    R. v. Lindsay 1999, 134 C.C.C. (3d) 159 [10]
    R. v. Gilroy, [1987] A.J. No. 822
    R. v. Mowat, 2010 BCPC 430 at 10
  3. R. v. Lindsay 1999 CanLII 4301 (ON CA), (1999), 134 C.C.C. (3d) 159 (Ont. C.A.);
    R. v. Butchko, 2004 SKCA 159
  4. eg. R. v. Hizsa, 2011 ABPC 358 at footnote 8 and para 14
  5. R. v. Landes 1997 CanLII 11314 (SK QB) at 16
  6. R. v. Landes (T.) 1997 CanLII 11314 (SK QB) at para. 21

Limitation on evidence collected during roadside test[edit | edit source]

The right to retain counsel under s. 10(b) is effectively suspended during the roadside demand.[1] The trade-off of this is that the test results can only be used to provide grounds of arrest and demand under s.254(3).[2] Alternatively, where the tests and statements constitute the actus reus of the offence.[3] Otherwise, the evidence is inadmissible. This includes for the use of credibility.[4]

  1. This violation of s.10(b) was saved under s.1 due to operational necessities of the roadside testing regime.
    See the roadside “trilogy”: R. v. Elias and Orbanski 2005 SCC 37 (CanLII), (2005), 196 C.C.C. (3d) 481 at para. 58 (S.C.C.)
    R. v. Milne 1996 CanLII 508 (ON CA), (1996), 107 C.C.C. (3d) 118 (Ont. C.A.)
    R. v. Coutts 1999 CanLII 3742 (ON CA), (1999), 136 C.C.C. (3d) 225 (Ont. C.A.)
  2. R. v. Bleta, 2012 ONSC 1235 at 5
  3. See: R. v. Rivera (2011), 270 C.C.C. (3d) 469 (Ont. C.A.)
    R. v. Stapleton, (1982), 66 C.C.C. (2d) 231 (Ont. C.A.)
    R. v. Hanneson, (1989), 49 C.C.C. (3d) 467 (Ont. C.A.)
    R. v. Ha, 2010 ONCA 433
  4. Summarized R. v. Bijelic (2008), 77 W.C.B. (2d) 118 at para. 31 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Screening Demand[edit | edit source]

A typical screening request will go as follows:

Approved screening Device Demand

"I demand that you forthwith provide me with a sample of your breath, suitable for analysis by an approved screening device, and to accompany me to <location of ASD> for the purpose of obtaining a sample of your breath. Should you refuse this demand, you will be charged with the offence of refusal.

Do you understand?"

For discussion on the requirements of a valid demand, see: Breath Sample Demand

Timing of Screening Demand ("forthwith")[edit | edit source]

"Forthwith" should be "as soon as possible and before there is any realistic possibility that the subject could successfully contact counsel and get legal advice”. [1]

A delay in the "forthwith" requirement is permitted where "proper analysis" may not be immedilately possible, such as where the sample might be contaminated by cigarette smoke or recent consumption of alcohol. In such cases a short delay is permitted so that an accurate test can be taken.[2]

It is not necessary for the ASD machine to be on scene to violate s.254(2).

A wait of 5 minutes between a demand for a ASD and the arrival of the ASD on the scene can be forthwith.[3]

The ASD device does not need to be on scene at the time of forming the grounds. However, where the an officer performing a roadside check did not keep an ASD at the scene out of convenience resulted in a violation of the "forthwith" requirement.[4]

Where the "forthwith" requirement is complied with, the period of time from the demand to the test is a justifiable infringement of the section 10(b) Charter rights.[5]

The consideration of “forthwith” requirement under s. 254(2), summarized in R v Quansah [2012] ON 779 (ONCA), requires that:

  1. There is a contextual analysis, keeping in mind the legislation’s balance between the interest to eradicate drunk driving and the protection of Charter rights.
  2. the demand must be made promptly once the officer has reasonable suspicion there is alcohol in the driver’s body;
  3. the “forthwith” requires a prompt demand and an immediate response from the driver. However, the circumstances may dictate the need for greater flexibility. In such case the time must be no more “than is reasonably necessary to enable the officer to discharge” his duty.
  4. the immediacy requirement must take all circumstances into account. For example, short delay in administering the ASD due to a need for accurate results or articulable and legitimate safety concerns is permissible. The delay must be “no more than is reasonably necessary to enable to officer to discharge his...duty”.
  5. the circumstances must not allow for the police to realistically have implemented the accused’s 10(b) rights.

Further principles were summarized in R. v. Mastromartino[6]:

  1. Officers making ASD demands must address their minds to whether or not they would be obtaining a reliable reading by administering the test without a brief delay.
  2. If officers do not, or reasonably could not, rely on the accuracy of the test results, the results cannot assist in determining whether there are reasonable and probable grounds to arrest.
  3. Officers making ASD demands may briefly delay administering the test if, in their opinion, there is credible evidence which causes them to doubt the accuracy of the test result unless the test was briefly delayed.
  4. Officers are not required to wait before administering the test in every case where a driver may have been in a bar shortly before being stopped. The mere possibility that a driver has consumed alcohol within 15 minutes before taking the test does not preclude an officer from relying on the accuracy of the screening device.
  5. Whether or not officers are required to wait before administering the screening test is determined on a case-by-case analysis, focusing on the officer’s belief as to the accuracy of the test results if the tests were administered without delay, and the reasonableness of that belief.
  6. The fact the driver is observed leaving a bar is a relevant circumstance in determining whether it was reasonable for the officer to delay the taking of the test in order to obtain an accurate sample. However, officers are not required to ask drivers when they last consumed alcohol.
  7. If the officer decides to delay taking the sample and that delay is challenged at trial, the court must decide whether the officer honestly and reasonably felt that an appropriately short delay was necessary to obtain a reliable reading.
  8. If the officer decides not to delay taking the sample and that decision is challenged at trial, the court must decide whether the officer honestly and reasonably believed that he could rely on the test result if the sample was taken without delay.
  1. R. v. Ritchie, 2004 SKCA 9 at 17
    See also R. v. Janzen 2006 SKCA 111, (2006), 285 Sask. R. 296
  2. R. v. Pierman 1994 CanLII 1139 (ONCA)
  3. R v Higgens 1994 CanLII 6405 (MBCA), 88 CCC 3d 232
    R. v. Misasi, (1993), 79 CCC (3rd) 339
  4. R. v. Megahy, 2008 ABCA 207
  5. R v Degiorgio, 2011 ONCA 527 at para. 46
  6. 2004 CanLII 28770 (ON SC), (2004), 70 O.R. (3d) 540 (S.C.J.) per Durno J. at para 23

Access to Counsel[edit | edit source]

The right to retain counsel under s. 10(b) is effectively suspended during the roadside demand.[1]Consequently, the is no right to counsel before or during the administration of the screening device so long as it is being properly administered.

However, if any of the requirements for a valid screening demand are not met, such as a failure to use the screening device "forthwith", will render the demand invalid and so will revoke the s. 10(b) rights suspension and consequently result in a breach of 10(b).[2]

See Canadian Criminal Procedure and Practice/Arrest and Detention/Right to Counsel

  1. This violation of s.10(b) was saved under s.1 due to operational necessities of the roadside testing regime.
    See the roadside “trilogy”: R. v. Elias and Orbanski 2005 SCC 37 (CanLII), (2005), 196 C.C.C. (3d) 481 at para. 58 (S.C.C.)
    R. v. Thomsen 1988 CanLII 73 (SCC), (1988), 40 C.C.C. (3d) 411 (S.C.C.)
  2. R. v. Grant 1991 CanLII 38 (SCC), (1991), 67 C.C.C. (3d) 268 (S.C.C.)

Approved Screening Device[edit | edit source]

The crown must present at least some evidence establishing that the device used was an "approved screening device". It cannot simply be assumed.[1] Nevertheless, assertion by the officer can be sufficient.[2] It will often be conclusive where the issue is not challenged on cross-examination or evidence to the contrary. Details about the make, model and similar do not need to be completely accurate for the judge to accept the evidence. It is only necessary that the officer reasonably believed it was an approved device.[3]

If there is some evidence establishing that the device is an approved screening device, it is for the defence to prove on a balance of probabilities that the device was not reliable.

Factors relating to the functioning of the machine:[4]

  • whether the device booted up normally
  • whether machine appeared to be working (the machine would likely signal if it wasn't working)
  • the expiry date of the machine (i.e. when it was due for re-calibration) [5]
  • if past expiry, the number of days past expiry
  • if past expiry, whether there was access to another machine readily
  1. R. v. Arsenault, [2005] N.B.J. No. 529 (N.B.C.A.), at para. 21
  2. R. v. Gill, 2011 BCPC 355 at 27
  3. See R. v. Gundy, [2008] O.J. No. 1410 (Ont. C.A.), at paragraphs 44 to 50
    R. v. Kosa, [1992] O.J. No. 2594 (Ont. C.A.)
    Followed in:
    R. v. Graham 2009 ABQB 100
    R. v. Balough 2009 ABPC 10
    R. v. Kestner 2010 ABPC 3
    R. v. Stafford 2010 ABPC 85
    R. v. Chipesia 2010 ABPC 75
    R. v. Ference 2010 ABPC 99
    R. v. Halabi 2011 ABPC 99
    R. v. Menjivar 2011 ABPC 355
    R. v. Winters 2011 ABPC 327
    R. v. Donald 2011 SKQB 408
    R. v. Helm 2011 SKQB 32
    R. v. Kukrudz 2011 SKPC 141
    R. v. MacLeod 2009 YKCA 5
    R. v. Korn, 2012 ABPC 20
  4. eg.R v Biccum 2012 ABCA 80 at 25
  5. note even if it is past expiry by a few days, is not on its own enough, see Biccum at 24-6

Calibration[edit | edit source]

Calibration of an ASD is done by applying a solution with a known alcohol concentration level to the ASD. The calibration is adjusted until the readings are correctly measured two times in a row.[1]

The frequency of calibration of the machine varies on police policies. A typical frequency is 14 days.[2]

The list of Approved Screening Devices can be found in the Approved Screening Devices Order, Regulation SI/85-200.

  1. e.g. R. v. Black, 2011 ABCA 349 at 8
  2. Biccum 2012 ABCA 80 at 27

Timing of ASD Test ("Forthwith")[edit | edit source]

Where the ASD is not readily on hand, the delay waiting for the device may result in invalidating the demand. The question is whether the delay afforded time to have a "realistic opportunity to consult counsel".[1]

There is generally no difference between the word "forthwith" and "as soon as practicable".[2]

A delay of 11 minutes to clear the driver's lungs after recently smoking is reasonable.[3]

The question of whether the ASD was administered forthwith is a question of fact and warrants deference to the trial judge on a standard of "palpable and overriding error".[4]

  1. R v George [2004] OJ 3287 (ONCA)
  2. R v Seo [1986] OJ 178 (ONCA)
  3. R v Kaczmarek, [1994] OJ 9
  4. R. v. Rienguette, 2012 ONSC 4633 at para. 11

Administering the ASD test[edit | edit source]

Results[edit | edit source]

A “failed” test of an Approved Screening Device will be considered along with other indicia of imapirment as forming reasonable grounds to demand a breath sample. Normally, a “fail” alone is sufficient to form the grounds for the demand.[1]

The crown should prove a part of its case that a failed ASD test was accurately recorded.[2] To prove this the officer must have had an honest basis to believe that the machine was accurate and the belief was reasonable. There is no burden, however, to prove that the machine was in fact measuring accurately. [3]

  1. R. v. Bernshaw 1995 CanLII 150 (SCC), (1994), 95 C.C.C. (3d) 193
  2. R. v. Gill, 2011 BCPC 355
  3. see R. v. Coutts, [1999] O.J. No. 2013 (Ont. C.A.), at paras. 20 to 21.


Offences/Impaired Driving and Over 80/Breath Sample Demand[edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

As part of the offence of "Over 80" under s. 253(1)(b), the crown must prove the accused's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is over 0.08 per millilitres.

Under s. 254(3), a sample of breath, urine or blood can be taken for measurement. The sample can be analysed and a blood alcohol level can be measured. This measurement can be used to infer the BAC level at the time that the accused was operating a motor vehicle.

The procedure required for a proper demand under s. 254(3) must be followed. The taking of a sample counts as a search and if the procedure is not followed then it will amount to a search not authorized by law, and therefore violate s. 8 of the Charter.

The timing of the sample is of great importance. The timing must be in relation to the time in which the accused was in care and control of the vehicle and in relation to the time where the officer initially forms grounds of suspicion and belief.

Breath Sample[edit | edit source]

Under s. 254(3), a peace officer may demand an Intoxilyzer breath sample where the offifcer has “reasonable and probable grounds” to believe that the person is committing, or has committed in the last three hours, an impaired driving offence.

s.254

...

Samples of breath or blood
(3) If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person is committing, or at any time within the preceding three hours has committed, an offence under section 253 as a result of the consumption of alcohol, the peace officer may, by demand made as soon as practicable, require the person

(a) to provide, as soon as practicable,
(i) samples of breath that, in a qualified technician’s opinion, will enable a proper analysis to be made to determine the concentration, if any, of alcohol in the person’s blood, or
(ii) ...; and
(b) if necessary, to accompany the peace officer for that purpose.

CCC

"Reasonable grounds to believe" an offence has been committed[edit | edit source]

Under s. 254(3), a officer may demand that an accused give a sample of his breath where he had reasonable and probable grounds to believe that he has committed an offender under s. 253(1)(a) or 253(1)(b) within the proceeding 3 hours.

“Reasonable and probable grounds” lays below proof beyond reasonable doubt and a prima facie case.[1] It is a standard that is a "reasonably-based probability".[2]

The three hour limit has nothing to do with the two hour limit required for the application of s. 258(1)(c), the presumption of identity.   The grounds must be established objectively and subjectively. The subjective component requires the officer to have an honest belief of the commission of the offence (that the accused’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired to any amount by a drug or alcohol.[3] The objective component requires that the belief be supported by objective evidence.[4]

The officer form grounds based on hearsay evidence.[5]

In determining reasonable and probable grounds to make the demand the officer must consider everything that he had seen or knew at the time the demand was made. [6]

This obviously excludes from consideration information that may not have been known at the time as it cannot be analysis from hindsight.[7]

It is not necessary for the officer to make full enquiry into the accused's version of events to form reasonable and probable grounds.[8]

Only the facts known or available to the peace officer at the time he formed his reasonable belief that the accused was impaired is applicable.[9]

The officer should take into account all that is available to him and is entitled to disregard information that he has reason to believe is unreliable.[10]

The crown does not need to prove reasonable and probable grounds where no Charter challenge has been made. In other words, a challenge to the reasonable grounds must come by way of a Charter application. Without such an application, the judge cannot take into account whether or not there were grounds to make the demand.[11] The lack of reasonable and probable grounds does not invalidate or render inadmissible the certificate of analysis.[12]

It is irrelevant whether the offence did in fact occur within the past three hours, it only matters whether he subjectively believed it and was reasonable in the belief.

The officer may question the suspect about alcohol consumption without giving them a right to counsel.[13] However, the response may only be used for the purpose of establishing grounds for demand and not for the purpose of establishing impairment. There is still the obligation to inform the suspect of the reason for detaining them.[14]


  1. R. v. Censoni [2001] O.J. No. 5189 (S.C.) at para. 31
    R. v. Shepherd 2009 SCC 35 at para. 23
    R. v. Wang, 2010 ONCA 435 at para. 17
  2. R v Hall (1995) 22 OR (3d) 289 (CA)
    R v Reilly [2008] OJ No 164 (SCJ)
  3. R. v. Bernshaw, 1995 CanLII 150 (SCC), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 254 at para. 51
  4. R. v. Berlinski, [2001] O.J. No. 377 (C.A.) at para. 3
  5. R. v. Debot, 1989 CanLII 13 (SCC), [1989] 2 S.C.R. 1140 at p. 1167 and 1168;
    R. v. Lewis 1998 CanLII 7116 (ON CA), (1998), 38 O.R. (3d) 540 (C.A.) at paras. 15
    Censoni, [2001] O.J. No. 5189 (S.C.)  at para. 57
  6. R. v. Singer 1999 CanLII 12875 (SK QB), (1999), 25 C.R. (5th) 374 (Sask. Q.B.)
    R. v. Oduneye (1995), 169 A.R. 353
  7. R. v Cornell, 2010 SCC 31 at 4, 23
  8. R v Rodriguez [2001] OJ No 2592 (ONSC)
  9. R v Musurichan (1990) 56 CCC (3d) 570 (ABCA) at p.574
    R v McClelland (1995) 29 Alta LR (3d) 351 (ABCA), 1995 ABCA 199 at para. 21, 22
    R v Oduneye, (1995) 169 AR 353 (ABCA) at para. 20
    R v Waters (2011) 37 Alta LR (5th) 136 (ABQB) at para. 22
  10. R v Golub 1997 CanLII 6316 (ONCA)
  11. R. v. Charette, 2009 ONCA 310
  12. R. v. Rilling (1975), 24 C.C.C. (2d) 81
  13. R. v. Orbanski; R. v. Elias, 2005 SCC 37
  14. Orbanski at para. 31

Blood or Breath Sample Demand[edit | edit source]

The demand informs the accused of the intention to take a sample of blood or breath. A typical sample demand under s. 254(3) will go as follows:

Breathalyzer Demand

"I demand you to accompany me to <location of breathalyzer> and to provide samples of your breath, suitable to enable an analysis to be made in order to determine the concentration, if any, of alcohol in your blood. Should you refuse this demand, you will be charged with the offence of refusal.

Do you understand?"

Blood Sample Demand

"I demand you to accompany me to <location> and to provide such samples of your blood, as in the opinion of the qualified medical practitioner or qualified technician taking the samples, are necessary to determine the concentration, if any, of alcohol in your blood. Should you refuse this demand, you will be charged with the offence of refusal.

Blood samples will only be taken by or under the direction of a qualified medical practitioner and if the qualified medical practitioner is satisfied that the taking of the samples will not endanger your life or health.

Do you understand?"

The demand must be in plain language, sufficient for the accused to understand what is required of them. [1] There is no fixed formula or magic wording, rather sufficiency can be inferred on the surrounding circumstances of the demand. [2]

A variety of variations on demand are available.[3]

The key requirement is that the demand not be a invitation or request. It must be unequivocal. [4]

There is no requirement that the word "forthwith" be used, but the meaning must be conveyed by word or conduct.[5]

It is not more restrictive or meaningful to say "sample" instead of "samples".[6]

Whether the demand was unequivocal is a question of fact.[7]

The demand should always involve an advisement that the sample will be taken by a qualified practitioner. [8] However, it is not necessary to inform the accused of all requirements regarding qualified medical practitioners.[9]

A Breathalizer demand can be made at any location and need not be at the location of the approved machine.[10]

The officer should take steps to ensure that the accused understands the questions of the demand and is able to respond in a meaningful way.[11]

The validity or invalidity of a second demand made by the Qualified Technician does not affect the validity or invalidity of the initial demand of the investigating officer and vice versa.[12]

It is generally sufficient evidence for the officer to give testimony that a "breath demand" was made without giving a full verbatim reading of what was said.[13]

  1. R. v. Harasym 2008 ABQB 649 at para. 30
  2. R v Nicholson (1970) 8 CCC (2d) 170 (NSCA) - no special words are needed, only must be clear that there is no choice
    R v Flegel (1972) 7 CCC (2d) 55 (SKCA)
    R v Boucher (1986) 47 MVR 173 (SKCA)
    R. v. Langdon 1992 CanLII 2776 (NL CA), (1992), 74 C.C.C. (3d) 570, 16 W.C.B. (2d) 571 (Nfld. C.A.)
    R. v. Phelan 1997 CanLII 14611 (NL CA), (1997), 151 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 169, 35 W.C.B. (2d) 175 (Nfld. C.A.) at paras. 12 and 13
    R. v. Truscott, 2009 BCSC 364 (CanLII), 2009 BCSC 364 at paras 19 and 20
    R. v. Ghebretatiyos (2000), 8 M.V.R. (4th) 132, 48 W.C.B. (2d) 365 (Ont. Sup. Ct. J.) at para 19
    A.-G. Alta v. Kozicky, (1972), 9 C.C.C. (2d) 146 at p. 149, [1972] 6 W.W.R. 623 at p.626
    R. v. Rentoul (1977), 37 C.C.C. (2d) 78 (Alta. S.C.T.D.) MacDonald J. at p. 83
    R. v. Showell (1971), 4 C.C.C. (2d) 252 at p. 255, [1971] 3 O.R. 460, 15 C.R.N.S. 305 at p. 308(“For a demand to be made pursuant to s. 223(1) [now s. 235(1)] it is sufficient merely for the officer to say he is asking for a breath sample pursuant thereto.”)
  3. e.g. R. v. Bourns, [1993] O.J. No. 2687 (Ont. Gen. Div.)
    R. v. McKeen 2001 NSCA 14 (CanLII), (2001), 151 C.C.C. (3d) 449 (N.S.C.A.)
    R. v. Dotremont (2011), 12 M.V.R. (6th) 239 (Man. Q.B.)
  4. R. v. Boucher (1986), 47 M.V.R. 173 (N.B.Q.B.) at p. 176
    R v Nicholson (1970) 8 CCC (2d) 170 (NSCA) - no special words are needed, only must be clear that there is no choice
  5. R v Torsney [2006] OJ 2228 (ONSC)
  6. R v Rentoul (1977) 37 CCC (2d) 78 (ABQB)
  7. R v Barwick [2009] QJ 1876 (QCCA)
  8. R v Jackson 2005 ABQB 268 at 47
  9. R v Barrett, [2012] NJ 61 (CA)
  10. R. v. Kitchemonia, [1973] 5 W.W.R. 669 (SKCA)
  11. R v Squires 2002 CanLII 44982 (ONCA) at para 32
  12. R v Townsend [2007] OJ 1686 (CA)
  13. R v Stewart [2009] OJ 11
    R v Benson [2008] OJ 3056 (ONSC)
    R v Tash [2008] OJ 200
    R v Antoniak [2007] OJ 4816

Timing of demand ("as soon as practicable")[edit | edit source]

A breath demand amounts to a warrantless search and so is prima facie unreasonable, thus the burden is on the Crown to establish the validity.[1]

Under s. 254(3), "as soon as practicable" means "within a reasonably prompt time" given the circumstances.[2]

The inquiry is upon "whether the police acted reasonably".[3] There is no need for the police to explain every minute that that the accused is in custody.[4]

Where the investigating officer failed to make a valid demand, the qualified technician can still make a valid breath demand. The qualified technician must have the same requisite grounds and must make the demand "as soon as practicable" upon getting the grounds.[5]

See: Canadian_Criminal_Law/Offences/Impaired_Driving_and_Over_80/Breath_Sample_Evidence#As_Soon_as_Practicable

  1. R. v. Breland, 2011 SKPC 54 at 22
  2. R. v. Squires 2002 CanLII 44982 (ON CA), (2002), 59 O.R. (3d) 765 (C.A.) R. v. Phillips 1988 CanLII 198 (ON CA), (1988), 42 C.C.C. (3d) 150 (Ont. C.A.) at 156
  3. R. v. Vanderbruggen 2006 CanLII 9039 (ON CA), (2006), 206 C.C.C. (3d) 489 (Ont. C.A.) at para. 12 and 13 (the “touchstone for determining whether the tests were taken as soon as practicable is whether the police acted reasonably”)
  4. See R. v. Letford 2000 CanLII 17024 (ON CA), (2000), 150 C.C.C. (3d) 225 (Ont. C.A.) at para. 20
    R. v. Seed [1998] O.J. No. 4362 (C.A.) at para. 7
    R. v. Cambrin 1982 CanLII 353 (BC CA), (1982), 1 C.C.C. (3d) 59 (B.C.C.A.) at 61-3
    R. v. Carter (1981), 59 C.C.C. (2d) 450 (Sask. C.A.)
  5. R v Chilton, [2009] OJ 3655 (SC)
    R v Gill [2007] OJ 4098 at para. 37 to 40
    R v Dhaliwal [2005] OJ 1129 at para. 23 to 26

See Also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Impaired Driving and Over 80/Breath Sample Evidence[edit source]

Offences[edit | edit source]

Weapons Offences[edit | edit source]

Sexual Offences[edit | edit source]

Disorderly Conduct[edit | edit source]

Offences of Violence[edit | edit source]

Homicide[edit | edit source]

Hate Speech and Libel[edit | edit source]

Administration of Justice Offences[edit | edit source]

Motor Vehicle Offences[edit | edit source]

Property Offences[edit | edit source]

Corruption Offences[edit | edit source]

Drug Offences[edit | edit source]


Offences

Terrorism Offences


Weapons Offences

Sexual Offences


Disorderly Conduct

Violent Offences


Homicide


Gambling and Gaming


Hate Speech and Libel

Administration of Justice Offences


Motor Vehicle Offences

Property Offences

Drug Offences

See also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Impaired Driving and Over 80/Care and Control[edit source]

Offences[edit | edit source]

Weapons Offences[edit | edit source]

Sexual Offences[edit | edit source]

Disorderly Conduct[edit | edit source]

Offences of Violence[edit | edit source]

Homicide[edit | edit source]

Hate Speech and Libel[edit | edit source]

Administration of Justice Offences[edit | edit source]

Motor Vehicle Offences[edit | edit source]

Property Offences[edit | edit source]

Corruption Offences[edit | edit source]

Drug Offences[edit | edit source]


Offences

Terrorism Offences


Weapons Offences

Sexual Offences


Disorderly Conduct

Violent Offences


Homicide


Gambling and Gaming


Hate Speech and Libel

Administration of Justice Offences


Motor Vehicle Offences

Property Offences

Drug Offences

See also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Refusal[edit source]

Impaired Driving, Over 80 and Refusal
s. 254 253, 254 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid
Jurisdiction Prov. Court
SC Judge + PI (I)
SC Jury + PI (I) (536(2))
Minimum $1,000 +
12 months Driving Prohib.(first)
30 days jail + 2 to 5 years Driving Prohib. (second)
120 days +
3 or more years Driving Prohib. (three or more)
Maximum 18 months jail or $5,000 fine
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Minimum same as summary
Maximum 5 years jail
References
Offence Elements
Sentence Principles
Sentence Digests

Summary[edit | edit source]

Section 253 describes two distinct but related offences. The offence of "impaired driving" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's ability to operate it is impaired by drug or alcohol. The offence of "over 80" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 80mg per 100ml of blood.

These offences are some of the most heavily litigated of all criminal offences. The proof of impaired driving has basis largely on the observational evidence of eye-witnesses, usually the investigating officer. They can become complicated when involving drugs rather than alcohol as it requires a Drug Recognition Expert. The proof of the Over 80 offence requires a procedure of taking a breath or blood sample and then extrapolating the estimated BAC at the time of the offence. There are several short cuts to proof that are available under s. 258.

Both offences have the common element of operation or care and control, which becomes most uncertain when examining whether there was care or control arising from the risk of the vehicle being put in motion. These offences also often engage Charter rights under s. 8 and 9, 10(b).

Legislation[edit | edit source]

Operation while impaired
253. (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

...

CCC

Failure or refusal to comply with demand
s. 254
...
(5) Everyone commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand made under this section.

...

CCC

Proof of Offence[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time and date, jurisdiction, and identity of the accused, the essential elements are:[1]

Note, the items in bold are essential elements.

Operating while impaired - 253(1)(a)[edit | edit source]

  1. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  2. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  3. there was any amount of impairment of the accused ability to drive at the time
  4. the impairment was by alcohol or drug at the time
  5. The accused voluntarily consumed the alcohol

Operating while BAC over 80 - 253(1)(b)[edit | edit source]

  1. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  2. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  3. The Accused's BAC was over 80 at the time
    1. each sample taken as soon as practicable after offence was committed
    2. first sample taken not later than two hours
    3. interval of at least 15 minutes between samples
    4. each sample received from suspect directly into instrument
    5. the instrument was an approved instrument
    6. the instrument was operated by a qualified technician
    7. the technician made an analysis of each sample

Refusal[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time, jurisdiction, and identity, the crown should prove:[2]

  1. A proper demand was given and understood;
  2. there was a refusal or failure to provide a proper sample; (actus reus)
  3. the accused intended not to provide a proper sample; (mens rea) and
  4. there was no reasonable excuse for refusing.


  1. R. v. Andrews 1996 ABCA 23 at 31 [11] discusses impairment
  2. R v Lewko, 2002 SKCA 121 at 9

Interpretation[edit | edit source]

Mens Rea[edit | edit source]

The charge of impaired driving is a general intent offence. [1]

The mens rea of the offence of impaired driving is made out by the accused's voluntary consumption of alcohol for the purpose of becoming intoxication or the accused "acting recklessly, aware that impairment could result, but persisting despite the risk". [2]

It is not necessary that the accused have actual knowledge of the effects of drugs or alcohol. Proof of recklessness is sufficient.[3]

Where the voluntary consumption of alcohol is proven, there is a rebuttable presumption the mens rea is made out. [4]

The intent to be impaired can be negated in certain circumstances where the accused's drink may have been drugged.[5]

  1. R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 40
  2. R. v. Mavin 1997 CanLII 14625 (NL CA), (1997), 154 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 242 at paras. 37-39
    R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 41
  3. R. v. Pomeroy, 2007 BCSC 142 (CanLII)
    R. v. Honish, 1993 CanLII 156 (SCC), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 458
  4. R. v. King, 1962 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1962] S.C.R. 746 at p.763
  5. e.g. R. v. Sitarz, 2012 ONCJ 561 (CanLII)

Motor Vehicle[edit | edit source]

Under s. 2, "motor vehicle" is defined as "a vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power, but does not include railway equipment;" Certain vehicles, such as scooters, are powered by either pedal or motor, the crown will generally have to prove that the vehicle was being operated by motor power at the time of the offence.[1]

A vehicle that is inoperable, such as were it is out of gas, will still be a motor vehicle.[2]

  1. see for example R v Rookes, 2012 SKPC 80
  2. R v Lloyd, [1988] SJ No 216 (SKCA)

Issues[edit | edit source]

Kienapple Principle[edit | edit source]

Kienapple does not prevent a conviction for dangerous driving causing death or bodily harm and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death. The first offence concerns the ability to operate a vehicle while the second offence focuses on the manner in which the vehicle was operated.[1]

  1. R v Ramage, 2010 ONCA 488 at para. 59 to 66

See also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Failure to Stop at Scene of Accident[edit source]

Offences[edit | edit source]

Weapons Offences[edit | edit source]

Sexual Offences[edit | edit source]

Disorderly Conduct[edit | edit source]

Offences of Violence[edit | edit source]

Homicide[edit | edit source]

Hate Speech and Libel[edit | edit source]

Administration of Justice Offences[edit | edit source]

Motor Vehicle Offences[edit | edit source]

Property Offences[edit | edit source]

Corruption Offences[edit | edit source]

Drug Offences[edit | edit source]


Offences

Terrorism Offences


Weapons Offences

Sexual Offences


Disorderly Conduct

Violent Offences


Homicide


Gambling and Gaming


Hate Speech and Libel

Administration of Justice Offences


Motor Vehicle Offences

Property Offences

Drug Offences

See also[edit | edit source]

Sentencing[edit | edit source]

Offences/Impaired Driving and Over 80[edit source]

Impaired Driving, Over 80 and Refusal
s. 254 253, 254 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid
Jurisdiction Prov. Court
SC Judge + PI (I)
SC Jury + PI (I) (536(2))
Minimum $1,000 +
12 months Driving Prohib.(first)
30 days jail + 2 to 5 years Driving Prohib. (second)
120 days +
3 or more years Driving Prohib. (three or more)
Maximum 18 months jail or $5,000 fine
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Minimum same as summary
Maximum 5 years jail
References
Offence Elements
Sentence Principles
Sentence Digests

Summary[edit | edit source]

Section 253 describes two distinct but related offences. The offence of "impaired driving" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's ability to operate it is impaired by drug or alcohol. The offence of "over 80" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 80mg per 100ml of blood.

These offences are some of the most heavily litigated of all criminal offences. The proof of impaired driving has basis largely on the observational evidence of eye-witnesses, usually the investigating officer. They can become complicated when involving drugs rather than alcohol as it requires a Drug Recognition Expert. The proof of the Over 80 offence requires a procedure of taking a breath or blood sample and then extrapolating the estimated BAC at the time of the offence. There are several short cuts to proof that are available under s. 258.

Both offences have the common element of operation or care and control, which becomes most uncertain when examining whether there was care or control arising from the risk of the vehicle being put in motion. These offences also often engage Charter rights under s. 8 and 9, 10(b).

Legislation[edit | edit source]

Operation while impaired
253. (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

...

CCC

Failure or refusal to comply with demand
s. 254
...
(5) Everyone commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand made under this section.

...

CCC

Proof of Offence[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time and date, jurisdiction, and identity of the accused, the essential elements are:[1]

Note, the items in bold are essential elements.

Operating while impaired - 253(1)(a)[edit | edit source]

  1. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  2. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  3. there was any amount of impairment of the accused ability to drive at the time
  4. the impairment was by alcohol or drug at the time
  5. The accused voluntarily consumed the alcohol

Operating while BAC over 80 - 253(1)(b)[edit | edit source]

  1. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  2. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  3. The Accused's BAC was over 80 at the time
    1. each sample taken as soon as practicable after offence was committed
    2. first sample taken not later than two hours
    3. interval of at least 15 minutes between samples
    4. each sample received from suspect directly into instrument
    5. the instrument was an approved instrument
    6. the instrument was operated by a qualified technician
    7. the technician made an analysis of each sample

Refusal[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time, jurisdiction, and identity, the crown should prove:[2]

  1. A proper demand was given and understood;
  2. there was a refusal or failure to provide a proper sample; (actus reus)
  3. the accused intended not to provide a proper sample; (mens rea) and
  4. there was no reasonable excuse for refusing.


  1. R. v. Andrews 1996 ABCA 23 at 31 [12] discusses impairment
  2. R v Lewko, 2002 SKCA 121 at 9

Interpretation[edit | edit source]

Mens Rea[edit | edit source]

The charge of impaired driving is a general intent offence. [1]

The mens rea of the offence of impaired driving is made out by the accused's voluntary consumption of alcohol for the purpose of becoming intoxication or the accused "acting recklessly, aware that impairment could result, but persisting despite the risk". [2]

It is not necessary that the accused have actual knowledge of the effects of drugs or alcohol. Proof of recklessness is sufficient.[3]

Where the voluntary consumption of alcohol is proven, there is a rebuttable presumption the mens rea is made out. [4]

The intent to be impaired can be negated in certain circumstances where the accused's drink may have been drugged.[5]

  1. R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 40
  2. R. v. Mavin 1997 CanLII 14625 (NL CA), (1997), 154 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 242 at paras. 37-39
    R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 41
  3. R. v. Pomeroy, 2007 BCSC 142 (CanLII)
    R. v. Honish, 1993 CanLII 156 (SCC), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 458
  4. R. v. King, 1962 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1962] S.C.R. 746 at p.763
  5. e.g. R. v. Sitarz, 2012 ONCJ 561 (CanLII)

Motor Vehicle[edit | edit source]

Under s. 2, "motor vehicle" is defined as "a vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power, but does not include railway equipment;" Certain vehicles, such as scooters, are powered by either pedal or motor, the crown will generally have to prove that the vehicle was being operated by motor power at the time of the offence.[1]

A vehicle that is inoperable, such as were it is out of gas, will still be a motor vehicle.[2]

  1. see for example R v Rookes, 2012 SKPC 80
  2. R v Lloyd, [1988] SJ No 216 (SKCA)

Issues[edit | edit source]

Kienapple Principle[edit | edit source]

Kienapple does not prevent a conviction for dangerous driving causing death or bodily harm and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death. The first offence concerns the ability to operate a vehicle while the second offence focuses on the manner in which the vehicle was operated.[1]

  1. R v Ramage, 2010 ONCA 488 at para. 59 to 66

See also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Refusal[edit source]

Impaired Driving, Over 80 and Refusal
s. 254 253, 254 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid
Jurisdiction Prov. Court
SC Judge + PI (I)
SC Jury + PI (I) (536(2))
Minimum $1,000 +
12 months Driving Prohib.(first)
30 days jail + 2 to 5 years Driving Prohib. (second)
120 days +
3 or more years Driving Prohib. (three or more)
Maximum 18 months jail or $5,000 fine
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Minimum same as summary
Maximum 5 years jail
References
Offence Elements
Sentence Principles
Sentence Digests

Summary[edit | edit source]

Section 253 describes two distinct but related offences. The offence of "impaired driving" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's ability to operate it is impaired by drug or alcohol. The offence of "over 80" prohibits the operation or care and control of a vehicle while the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 80mg per 100ml of blood.

These offences are some of the most heavily litigated of all criminal offences. The proof of impaired driving has basis largely on the observational evidence of eye-witnesses, usually the investigating officer. They can become complicated when involving drugs rather than alcohol as it requires a Drug Recognition Expert. The proof of the Over 80 offence requires a procedure of taking a breath or blood sample and then extrapolating the estimated BAC at the time of the offence. There are several short cuts to proof that are available under s. 258.

Both offences have the common element of operation or care and control, which becomes most uncertain when examining whether there was care or control arising from the risk of the vehicle being put in motion. These offences also often engage Charter rights under s. 8 and 9, 10(b).

Legislation[edit | edit source]

Operation while impaired
253. (1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

...

CCC

Failure or refusal to comply with demand
s. 254
...
(5) Everyone commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to comply with a demand made under this section.

...

CCC

Proof of Offence[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time and date, jurisdiction, and identity of the accused, the essential elements are:[1]

Note, the items in bold are essential elements.

Operating while impaired - 253(1)(a)[edit | edit source]

  1. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  2. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  3. there was any amount of impairment of the accused ability to drive at the time
  4. the impairment was by alcohol or drug at the time
  5. The accused voluntarily consumed the alcohol

Operating while BAC over 80 - 253(1)(b)[edit | edit source]

  1. The Accused was operating the Motor vehicle or in Care and Control of the vehicle
  2. Officer had reasonable suspicion that there was alcohol/drugs in body and so detained the accused
  3. The Accused's BAC was over 80 at the time
    1. each sample taken as soon as practicable after offence was committed
    2. first sample taken not later than two hours
    3. interval of at least 15 minutes between samples
    4. each sample received from suspect directly into instrument
    5. the instrument was an approved instrument
    6. the instrument was operated by a qualified technician
    7. the technician made an analysis of each sample

Refusal[edit | edit source]

In addition to the essential elements of time, jurisdiction, and identity, the crown should prove:[2]

  1. A proper demand was given and understood;
  2. there was a refusal or failure to provide a proper sample; (actus reus)
  3. the accused intended not to provide a proper sample; (mens rea) and
  4. there was no reasonable excuse for refusing.


  1. R. v. Andrews 1996 ABCA 23 at 31 [13] discusses impairment
  2. R v Lewko, 2002 SKCA 121 at 9

Interpretation[edit | edit source]

Mens Rea[edit | edit source]

The charge of impaired driving is a general intent offence. [1]

The mens rea of the offence of impaired driving is made out by the accused's voluntary consumption of alcohol for the purpose of becoming intoxication or the accused "acting recklessly, aware that impairment could result, but persisting despite the risk". [2]

It is not necessary that the accused have actual knowledge of the effects of drugs or alcohol. Proof of recklessness is sufficient.[3]

Where the voluntary consumption of alcohol is proven, there is a rebuttable presumption the mens rea is made out. [4]

The intent to be impaired can be negated in certain circumstances where the accused's drink may have been drugged.[5]

  1. R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 40
  2. R. v. Mavin 1997 CanLII 14625 (NL CA), (1997), 154 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 242 at paras. 37-39
    R. v. Charles, 2013 BCSC 23 (CanLII) at para. 41
  3. R. v. Pomeroy, 2007 BCSC 142 (CanLII)
    R. v. Honish, 1993 CanLII 156 (SCC), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 458
  4. R. v. King, 1962 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1962] S.C.R. 746 at p.763
  5. e.g. R. v. Sitarz, 2012 ONCJ 561 (CanLII)

Motor Vehicle[edit | edit source]

Under s. 2, "motor vehicle" is defined as "a vehicle that is drawn, propelled or driven by any means other than muscular power, but does not include railway equipment;" Certain vehicles, such as scooters, are powered by either pedal or motor, the crown will generally have to prove that the vehicle was being operated by motor power at the time of the offence.[1]

A vehicle that is inoperable, such as were it is out of gas, will still be a motor vehicle.[2]

  1. see for example R v Rookes, 2012 SKPC 80
  2. R v Lloyd, [1988] SJ No 216 (SKCA)

Issues[edit | edit source]

Kienapple Principle[edit | edit source]

Kienapple does not prevent a conviction for dangerous driving causing death or bodily harm and impaired driving causing bodily harm or death. The first offence concerns the ability to operate a vehicle while the second offence focuses on the manner in which the vehicle was operated.[1]

  1. R v Ramage, 2010 ONCA 488 at para. 59 to 66

See also[edit | edit source]


Offences/Failure to Stop at Scene of Accident[edit source]

Offences[edit | edit source]

Weapons Offences[edit | edit source]

Sexual Offences[edit | edit source]

Disorderly Conduct[edit | edit source]

Offences of Violence[edit | edit source]

Homicide[edit | edit source]

Hate Speech and Libel[edit | edit source]

Administration of Justice Offences[edit | edit source]

Motor Vehicle Offences[edit | edit source]

Property Offences[edit | edit source]

Corruption Offences[edit | edit source]

Drug Offences[edit | edit source]


Offences

Terrorism Offences


Weapons Offences

Sexual Offences


Disorderly Conduct

Violent Offences


Homicide


Gambling and Gaming


Hate Speech and Libel

Administration of Justice Offences


Motor Vehicle Offences

Property Offences

Drug Offences

See also[edit | edit source]


Cases/Impaired Driving and Over 80[edit source]

This book is a reference for practitioners, police officers, and law students who need a convenient way to look up legislation, principles, and case law. The reader is assumed to already have a knowledge of criminal law.

There is no guarantee whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information provided in this or any other companion text. Nothing here should be taken as legal advice.

For recent developments on these series of books see News on Canadian Criminal Law series.

CAUTION: this wikibook ceased active development in 2012. A more up-to-date branch of this text can be found at http://criminalnotebook.ca. 


Contents[edit | edit source]



Please add {{alphabetical}} only to book title pages.


Cases/Motor Vehicle Offences[edit source]

Canadian Criminal Law/Cases/Motor Vehicle Offences