I have often referred to these cases as “the most complex offences in the Criminal Code”. I have the expertise and experience to assist you. If you have a defence, I will tell you about it. If you don’t, I will move quickly to help you avoid the unnecessary and extended loss of your driving privileges.

Dangerous Driving; Careless Driving; Leaving the Scene of an Accident; Impaired Driving (DUI); Impaired Care and Control. All of these offences are very serious and require a very serious defence. We have a well-developed system to analyze the available defences for your case and a proven approach to effectively representing clients in these complex cases.

Our team has the knowledge and extensive trial experience to explain the details of your case and outline your options moving forward. What makes us different from most firms is that we are here when you need us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have questions about your Impaired Driving case and want to know the best way to proceed, then contact us now for a free consultation. It is vital that you receive a full and frank review of your case as soon as possible.


Office: 519.932.1133
Fax: 519.963.0174
Cell: 519.851.6677


FAQ: Impaired Driving

Impaired Driving (DUI, Drunk Driving) may be prosecuted in one of two ways: by summary conviction or by indictment.

Almost invariably, Impaired Driving (DUI, Drunk Driving) will be prosecuted by summary conviction. If convicted following a trial by summary conviction, you are liable to a fine of up to $2,000 or 18 months' imprisonment or both. Our office can help you understand the specifics of your case and the potential penalties you may be facing. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Ron Ellis criminal law can assist with charges related to Drunk Driving, Over 80, DUI, and DWI. If you have been charged with a drinking and driving related offence including Impaired Driving or Impaired Care or Control and/or Over 80 DO NOT plead guilty before consulting first with a lawyer. There are many defences to these charges.

There are three drinking and driving charges you can potentially face under the Criminal Code.
  • Impaired Driving under section 253(1)(a);
  • Over 80 under s. 253(1)(b);
  • and Refuse or Fail to Provide a Breath Sample under s. 254(5).

Often people are charged with both Impaired Driving and Over 80 but it is not unusual to just be charged with Over 80. For example, someone who is stopped at a R.I.D.E spot check and fails a roadside breath test done on an Approved Screening Device (A.S.D.) and who then blows into an Intoxilyzer 5000C or Breathalyzer instrument after being transported back to a police detachment will likely only be charged with Over 80. If you are charged with both Impaired Driving and Over 80, you have to beat both charges in order to avoid the consequences of a conviction. If you are only acquitted of one of the charges, you will still be subject to the minimum sentence at best. You cannot be convicted of both Impaired Driving and Over 80 because of what is known as the Kienapple principle. The rationale for this principle is that because the same facts prove both charges, you can only be convicted and sentenced on one of the charges. Of course you still have to win on both to avoid the conviction and sentence.

It is less likely, but certainly not impossible to be charged only with Impaired Driving. Again, the minimum penalties apply if you are found guilty, even if you were only originally charged with impaired driving.

A Refusal to provide a breath sample (or fail to blow) without a lawful excuse also carries with it the same minimum sentence upon conviction. You can be convicted of both Impaired and Refuse because the Kienapple principle does not apply here. That means that you can be convicted and sentenced on both charges consecutively meaning that you could get the minimum one year prohibition on the impaired as well as a minimum one year on the refusal. For a total of two years.

The consequences of a drinking and driving conviction will most likely be devastating to you and your family. You will have a criminal record, lose your driver’s licence, be fined, and you could go to jail. You will also experience a massive hike in your car insurance rates, assuming your insurance company is willing to insure you at all.

Individuals charged with Impaired Driving are often hard working, good people who have never been in trouble with the law before. Do not let this one incident burden you with a criminal record and loss of licence without putting up a fight. Impaired driving law is constantly evolving so to give yourself the best chance of beating this, you have to find yourself a lawyer with extensive knowledge in this area who is up on the latest developments in the law. Believe it or not, the section of the Criminal Code devoted to drinking and driving is significantly longer than the section on homicide.

For a first time drinking and driving conviction, the minimum penalties are as follows:

  • A one year driving prohibition anywhere in Canada under the Criminal Code
  • A concurrent one year suspension in Ontario of your driver’s licence imposed by the Ministry of Transportation
  • A $1000 fine (plus a victim-fine surcharge/tax)
  • A criminal record (you cannot get a discharge if you are found guilty of this offence)
  • For a full year after your licence is reinstated you will only be permitted to drive in a vehicle that is equipped with an ignition interlock device (you must pay for installation and a monthly rental fee)
  • You will be required to take a remedial measures program delivered by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in order to get your licence back
If you are convicted of impaired driving, or, driving with a blood alcohol level over 0.80 you will be deemed a "high risk driver" by your insurance company.  Some companies will even cancel your automobile insurance.  In any event, you will experience a huge increase in insurance - it is not uncommon for drivers to pay over $10,000.00 per year.
If you have a prior conviction for impaired driving or driving with a blood alcohol limit in excess of the legal limit (over. 80) you will be subject to a minimum 30 day jail sentence and a 3 year driving prohibition. In some provinces, you will be subject to a lifetime prohibition on driving.  Although these are the minimum sentences, a court MAY sentence you to considerably higher penalties.
There are many differences between the roadside test and the test done at the police station. You need to consult with experienced counsel to understand your rights.
Our office is mainly focused on cases in London, Ontario and surrounding areas, although in some circumstances we have taken on cases outside of this area. Ron Ellis Law has assisted clients from coast to coast - travelling to British Columbia, Halifax and the far north to defend clients. We have also assisted clients in the United States and Europe. We are willing to travel to assist you. We will also defend clients who are publicly funded through Legal Aid Ontario. If you're interested in obtaining legal counsel from Ron Ellis Law please call our office and set up an appointment so we can review the specifics of your case.

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