Operation While Impaired by Alcohol or Drug (Offence)

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Operation While Impaired by Alcohol or Drug
s. 320.14 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid
summary proceedings must initiate within 12 months of the offence (786(2))
Jurisdiction Prov. Court

Sup. Court w/ Jury (*)
Sup. Court w/ Judge-alone (*)

* Must be indictable. Preliminary inquiry also available.
Types of Release Release by Officer, Officer-in-charge, or Judge
Summary Dispositions
Avail. Disp. Discharge (730)

Suspended Sentence (731(1)(a))
Fine (734)*
Fine + Probation (731(1)(b))*
Jail (718.3, 787)
Jail + Probation (731(1)(b))
Jail + Fine (734)
Conditional Sentence (742.1)

(* varies)
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 2 years less a day or $5,000 fine
Indictable Dispositions
Avail. Disp. same as summary
Minimum same as summary
Maximum 10, 14 years or life incarceration
Reference
Offence Elements
Sentence Digests

Overview

Offences relating to Operation While Impaired by Alcohol or Drug are found in Part VIII.1 of the Criminal Code concerning "Offences Relating to Conveyances".

Section 320.14 describes 4 distinct but related offences.

Pleadings
Offence
Section
Offence
Type
Crown Election Defence Election
s. 536(2)
Preliminary Inquiry

s. 320.14(1)(a) [peration while impaired]
s. 320.14(1)(b) [operation while over 80]
s. 320.14(1)(c) [operation while blood drug exceeds regs re drug]
s. 320.14(1)(d) [operation while blood drug exceeds regs re blood]

Hybrid Offence(s) OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png (* only if Crown proceeds by Indictment) X Mark Symbol.png (under 14 years max)

s. 320.14(4) [operation with low blood drug concentrations]

Summary Offence(s) X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png

Offences under s. 320.14(1) [operation while impaired offences] are hybrid with a Crown election. If prosecuted by indictment, there is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2).

Offences under s. 320.14(4) [operation with low blood drug concentrations] are straight summary conviction offence. The trial must be held in provincial court.

Before the statutory increased penalties can be applied for convictions under s. 320.14 , notice of increased penalty under s. 727 must be given.

Release
Offence(s) Appearance Notice
by Peace Officer

s. 497
Summons
by Judge or Justice

s. 508(1), 512(1), or 788
Release By
Peace Officer
On Undertaking

s. 498, 499, and 501
Release By
a Judge or Justice
on a release order

s. 515 to 519
Direct to Attend
for Fingerprints, etc.
Identification of Criminals Act

s. 2 ID Crim. Act
s. 320.14(1)(a) [peration while impaired]

s. 320.14(1)(b) [operation while over 80]
s. 320.14(1)(c) [operation while blood drug exceeds regs re drug]
s. 320.14(1)(d) [operation while blood drug exceeds regs re blood]

OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png
s. 320.14(4) [operation with low blood drug concentrations] OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png

When charged under s. 320.14(1) [operation while impaired offences] and (4) [operation with low blood drug concentrations], the accused can be given an appearance notice without arrest under s. 497 or a summons. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 498 or 499 on an undertaking with or without conditions. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515.

Reverse Onus Bail

If police decide to bring the accused before a Justice pursuant to s. 503, there will be a presumption against bail (i.e. a reverse onus) if the offence, prosecuted by indictment, was committed:

  • while at large under s. 515 [bail release], 679 or 680 [release pending appeal or review of appeal] (s. 515(6)(a)(i));
  • "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association" with a criminal organization (s. 515(6)(a)(ii));
  • where the offence involved a firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, while the accused was subject to a prohibition order preventing possession of these items (s. 515(6)(a)(viii)); or
  • where the accused is not "ordinarily a resident in Canada" (s. 515(6)(b)).
Fingeprints and Photos

A peace officer who charges a person under s. 320.14 [all operation offences[1] of the Code can require that person to attend for the taking of fingerprints, photographs or other similar recordings that are used to identify them under the Identification of Criminals Act.

Publication Bans

For all criminal or regulatory prosecutions, there is a discretionary general publication ban available on application of the Crown, victim or witness to prohibit the publishing of "any information that could identify the victim or witness" under s. 486.5(1) where it is "necessary" for the "proper administration of justice". Other available publication bans include prohibitions for publishing evidence or other information arising from a bail hearing (s. 517), preliminary inquiry (s. 539) or jury trial (s. 648). There is a mandatory publication ban in all youth prosecutions on information tending to identify young accused under s. 110 of the YCJA or young victims under s. 111 of the YCJA.

Offence Designations
Offence(s) Wiretap
Eligible

s. 183
Dangerous Offender
Designated Offence

s. 752
Serious Personal
Injury Offence

s. 752
AG Consent Required
s. 320.14(1) [operation while impaired offences] OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png
s. 320.14(4) [operation with low blood drug concentrations] X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png

See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.

Offence Wording

Offence wording as of December 18, 2018, see History below for previous versions.

Operation while impaired

320.14 (1) Everyone commits an offence who

(a) operates a conveyance while the person’s ability to operate it is impaired to any degree by alcohol or a drug or by a combination of alcohol and a drug;
(b) subject to subsection (5) [operation while impaired – exception for alcohol], has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood alcohol concentration that is equal to or exceeds 80 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood;
(c) subject to subsection (6) [operation while impaired – exception for drugs], has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation; or
(d) subject to subsection (7) [operation while impaired – exception for alcohol and drugs], has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood alcohol concentration and a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood alcohol concentration and the blood drug concentration for the drug that are prescribed by regulation for instances where alcohol and that drug are combined.

[omitted (2) and (3)]

Operation — low blood drug concentration

(4) Subject to subsection (6) [operation while impaired – exception for drugs], everyone commits an offence who has, within two hours after ceasing to operate a conveyance, a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation and that is less than the concentration prescribed for the purposes of paragraph (1)(c) [impaired operation – within 2 hrs BAC exceeding regulations].

Exception — alcohol

(5) No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)(b) [impaired operation – within 2 hrs BAC exceeding 80] if

(a) they consumed alcohol after ceasing to operate the conveyance;
(b) after ceasing to operate the conveyance, they had no reasonable expectation that they would be required to provide a sample of breath or blood; and
(c) their alcohol consumption is consistent with their blood alcohol concentration as determined in accordance with subsection 320.31(1) [proof by inference from breath samples or blood samples] or (2) [proof by inference from breath samples or blood samples] and with their having had, at the time when they were operating the conveyance, a blood alcohol concentration that was less than 80 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood.
Exception — drugs

(6) No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)(c) [impaired operation – within 2 hrs BAC exceeding regulations] or subsection (4) [operation with low blood drug concentration] if

(a) they consumed the drug after ceasing to operate the conveyance; and
(b) after ceasing to operate the conveyance, they had no reasonable expectation that they would be required to provide a sample of a bodily substance.
Exception — combination of alcohol and drug

(7) No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)(d) [impaired operation – within 2 hrs BAC and drugs exceeding regulations] if

(a) they consumed the drug or the alcohol or both after ceasing to operate the conveyance;
(b) after ceasing to operate the conveyance, they had no reasonable expectation that they would be required to provide a sample of a bodily substance; and
(c) their alcohol consumption is consistent with their blood alcohol concentration as determined in accordance with subsection 320.31(1) [proof by inference from breath samples or blood samples] or (2) [proof by inference from breath samples or blood samples] and with their having had, at the time when they were operating the conveyance, a blood alcohol concentration less than the blood alcohol concentration established under paragraph 320.38(c) [power to make regs re blood alcohol and blood drug concentration].

2018, c. 21, s. 15.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC

Punishment

320.19 (1) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection 320.14(1) [impaired operation] or 320.15(1) [refusal to provide a sample] is liable on conviction on indictment or on summary conviction

(a) to the following minimum punishment, namely,
(i) for a first offence, a fine of $1,000,
(ii) for a second offence, imprisonment for a term of 30 days, and
(iii) for each subsequent offence, imprisonment for a term of 120 days;
(b) if the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; and
(c) if the offence is punishable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day.
Summary conviction

(2) Everyone who commits an offence under subsection 320.14(4) [operation with low blood drug concentration] is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000.

Minimum fines for high blood alcohol concentrations

(3) Despite subparagraph (1)(a)(i) [x], everyone who commits an offence under paragraph 320.14(1)(b) [impaired operation – within 2 hrs BAC exceeding 80] is liable, for a first offence, to

(a) a fine of not less than $1,500, if the person’s blood alcohol concentration is equal to or exceeds 120 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood but is less than 160 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood; and
(b) a fine of not less than $2,000, if the person’s blood alcohol concentration is equal to or exceeds 160 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood.

...
2018, c. 21, s. 15.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC

Draft Form of Charges

See also: Draft Form of Charges
Pre-ambles
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, between the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR> and <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>***, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, on or about the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR
"AND FURTHER at the same time and place aforesaid, he [or she]..."
Code Section Subject of Offence Draft Wording
"..., contrary to section XXX of the Criminal Code.

Proof of the Offences

Proving operating while impaired by drug or alcohol under s. 320.14(1)(a) should include:[2]

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. The Culprit was operating a conveyance
  5. the culprit was impaired at the time of operation
  6. the impairment was by alcohol or drug
  7. The accused voluntarily consumed the alcohol or alcohol

Proving operating while BAC over 80 under s. 320.14(1)(b) should include:[3]

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. The culprit was operating a conveyance
  5. 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


Proving operation while blood drug exceeds regs re drug under s. 320.14(1)(c) should include:

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. ...

Proving operation while blood alcohol and drug exceeds regs re blood under s. 320.14(1)(d) should include:

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. ...

Proving Operation with low blood drug concentrations under s. 320.14(4) should include:

  1. identity of accused as culprit
  2. date and time of incident
  3. jurisdiction (incl. region and province)
  4. ...

If there is a blended voir dire Charter application on detention (e.g. sufficiency of grounds), arrest, or right to counsel, then the Crown should prove:

  1. ...


  1. Except after summary election has been made
  2. R v Andrews, 1996 ABCA 23 (CanLII), per Conrad JA (2:1), at para 31 discusses impairment
  3. Andrews, ibid., at para 31 discusses impairment

Interpretation of the Offence

Generally, the "evil" that the offence seeks to address is the combination of alcohol and motor vehicles as it tends to "breed danger".[1]

The objective of criminalizing impair driving is to "discourage intoxicated people from even placing themselves in a position where they could set a vehicle in motion, while at the same time providing a way for a person to avoid liability when there was a reason for entering the vehicle other than to set it in motion".[2]

The police do not simply have the statutory authority to investigate driver sobriety, but also have a legal duty to investigate.[3]

  1. Saunders v The Queen, 1967 CanLII 56 (SCC), [1967] SCR 284, per Fauteux J
  2. R v Whyte, 1988 CanLII 47 (SCC), [1988] 42 CCC (3d) 97, per Dickson CJ, at para 47
  3. R v Orbanski, 2005 SCC 37 (CanLII), per Charron J

Investigation

There is a two-stage process whereby an officer may demand that a driver take a roadside screening test where the officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in his body. The second step allows the officer to demand a breathalyzer test where the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the driver committed an impaired driving offence.[1]

The roadside screening device is not necessary in all circumstances. Its purpose is only to assist in forming reasonable grounds, which can sometimes be obtained by other means.[2]

Investigation of Impairment/Over 80



  1. R v Flight, 2014 ABCA 185 (CanLII), per Veldhuis JA, at paras 31 to 33
  2. e.g. R v Fogarty, 2015 NSCA 6 (CanLII), per Fichaud JA - example of RPG formed without roadside screening

Mens Rea of Impaired Driving

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

Part of 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), per Sigurdson J, at para 40
  2. R v Mavin, 1997 CanLII 14625 (NL CA), (1997), 154 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 242, per Marshall JA, at paras 37 to 39
    Charles, supra, at para 41
  3. R v Pomeroy, 2007 BCSC 142 (CanLII), per Romilly J
    R v Honish, 1993 CanLII 156 (SCC), [1993] 1 SCR 458, per Lamer CJ
  4. R v King, 1962 CanLII 16 (SCC), [1962] SCR 746, per Ritchie J, at p. 763
  5. e.g. R v Sitarz, 2012 ONCJ 561 (CanLII), per Caldwell J

Motor Vehicle

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. It is not relevant whether the vehicle is functioning or operable.[2]

An e-bike that is not being pedaled will be a "motor vehicle" under s. 2.[3]

  1. see for example R v Rookes, 2012 SKPC 80 (CanLII), per Hinds J
  2. R v Lloyd, 1988 CanLII 5326 (SK CA), [1988] SJ No 216 (SKCA), per Wakeling JA
    R v Saunders, 1967 CanLII 56 (SCC), [1967] SCR 284, per Fauteux J, at p. 290
  3. R v Clifford, 2014 ONSC 2388 (CanLII), per Koke J
    R v Kulbacki, 2012 ONCJ 532 (CanLII), per Radley-Walters J
    cf. Rookes, supra

Issues

Prior to December 2018

Kienapple Principle

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]

The offence of impaired care and control of a motor vehicle is an included offence of impaired operation of a motor vehicle.[2]

  1. R v Ramage, 2010 ONCA 488 (CanLII), per Doherty JA, at paras 59 to 66
  2. R v Pawluk, 2017 ONCA 863 (CanLII), per Paciocco JA

Available Defences

Participation of Third Parties

See also: Role of the Victim and Third Parties and Testimonial Aids for Young, Disabled or Vulnerable Witnesses
Testimonial Aids

Certain persons who testify are entitled to make application for the use of testimonial aids: Exclusion of Public (s. 486), Use of a Testimonial Screen (s. 486), Access to Support Person While Testifying (s. 486.1), Close Proximity Video-link Testimony (s. 486.2), Self-Represented Cross-Examination Prohibition Order (s. 486.3), and Witness Security Order (s. 486.7).

A witness, victim or complainant may also request publication bans (s. 486.4, 486.5) and/or a Witness Identity Non-disclosure Order (s. 486.31). See also, Publication Bans, above.

On Finding of Guilt

Under s. 738, a judge must inquire from the Crown before sentencing whether "reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victims with an opportunity to indicate whether they are seeking restitution for their losses and damages".

Under s. 722(2), the judge must inquire "[a]s soon as feasible" before sentencing with the Crown "if reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victim with an opportunity to prepare" a victim impact statement. This will include any person "who has suffered, or is alleged to have suffered, physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss" as a result of the offence. Individuals representing a community impacted by the crime may file a statement under s. 722.2.

Sentencing Principles and Ranges

Maximum Penalties
Offence(s) Crown
Election
Maximum Penalty
s. 320.14 and 320.19 Summary Election 2 years less a day incarceration
s. 320.14 and 320.19 Indictable Election 10 years incarceration

Offences under s. 320.14 and 320.19 are hybrid. If prosecuted by indictment, the maximum penalty is 5 years incarceration. If prosecuted by summary conviction, the maximum penalty is 10 years less a day jail.

Minimum Penalties

For offences under s. 320.14 and 320.19, the minimum penalty is a $1,000 fine, 30 days jail with a prior conviction, or 120 days jail with two or more prior convictions.

There is some suggestion that a jail sentence can substitute for a fine, where there is no prior record.[1]

Available Dispositions
Offence(s) Crown
Election
Discharge
s. 730
Suspended
Sentence

s. 731(1)(a)
Stand-alone
Fine

s. 731(1)(b)
Custody
s. 718.3, 787
Custody and
Probation
s. 731(1)(b)
Custody and
Fine
s. 734
Conditional
Sentence
(CSO)
s. 742.1
s. 320.19 any OK Symbol.png (**) X Mark Symbol.png OK Symbol.png (**) OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png OK Symbol.png X Mark Symbol.png

[2]

For offences under s. 320.19 without any prior convictions, discharges are not available.

For offences under s. 320.19 with a prior conviction, discharges, suspended sentences, stand-alone fines and conditional sentences are not available.

Despite any mandatory minimum penalties, the judge has discretion to substitute a mandatory sentence with a curative discharge for convictions under s. 253, which includes impaired driving and operating a vehicle with BAC level over 80mg/ml.[3]

Section 731(1)(a) precludes the use of suspended sentences where there are mandatory minimums.[4]

Consecutive Sentences

There are no statutory requirements that the sentences be consecutive.

Earlier and subsequent offences

320.26 In determining, for the purpose of imposing a sentence for an offence under subsection 320.14(1) [impaired operation] or 320.15(1) [refusal to provide a sample], whether the offence is a second, third or subsequent offence, any of the following offences for which the offender was previously convicted is considered to be an earlier offence:

(a) an offence under any of subsections 320.14(1) to (3) [x] or section 320.15 [refusal to provide a sample]; or
(b) an offence under any of sections 253 [operation while impaired], 254 [taking samples of breath/blood] and 255 [x], as those sections read from time to time before the day on which this section comes into force.

2018, c. 21, s. 15.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC

  1. R v Hatcher, 2000 NFCA 38 (CanLII), per Wells CJ (3:0), at para 19
  2. (**) Availability may vary
  3. Discharges are not available in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, or Newfoundland
  4. R v Berner, 2013 BCCA 188 (CanLII), per curiam, at para 36

Principles

Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada.[1]

There is a "pressing" need to address the problems that impaired driving creates.[2]

Impaired driving causes "the most significant social loss to the country".[3] Every impaired driver is a "potential killer".[4] Every years impaired driving leaves a trail of "death, injury, heartbreak and destruction".[5]

The predominant objectives to be considered is general deterrence and denunciation.[6]

The lack of bodily harm or death is not necessarily eliminate the need to protect the public.[7] The Court can consider the risk of potential harm from the offender's conduct.[8]

Deterrence and denunciation are especially important objectives when bodily harm is caused to another person.[9]

  1. Government of Canada, Health Canada “Backgrounder: Changes to Impaired Driving Laws” [1]
  2. R v Ladouceur, [2] , [1990] 1 SCR 12, at para 42(complete citation pending)
  3. e.g. R v Beaudry, 2007 SCC 5 (CanLII), [2007] 1 SCR 190, per Charron J, at para 42
    R v Bernshaw, 1995 CanLII 150 (SCC), [1995] 1 SCR 254 ("a far greater impact on Canadian society than any other crime")
  4. R v Lahiry, 2011 ONSC 6780 (CanLII), per Code J, at para 89
  5. Bernshaw, supra, per Cory J, at para 16 ("Every year, drunk driving leaves a terrible trail of death, injury, heartbreak and destruction. From the point of view of numbers alone, it has a far greater impact on Canadian society than any other crime. In terms of the deaths and serious injuries resulting in hospitalization, drunk driving is clearly the crime which causes the most significant social loss to the country.")
  6. R v Clouthier, 2016 ONCA 197 (CanLII), per Watt JA, at para 54
    R v Squires, 1995 CanLII 9848 (NL CA), [1995] N.J. No. 157 (C.A.), per Gushue JA, at p. 5
    R v McVeigh, 1985 CanLII 115 (ON CA), per MacKinnon CJ, at p. 150
    R v Proulx, 2000 SCC 5 (CanLII), [2000] 1 S.C.R. 61, per Lamer CJ, at para 129
    R v Lépine, 2007 QCCA 70 (CanLII)(complete citation pending), at para 21
    R v Brutus, 2009 QCCA 1382 (CanLII), per curiam, at para 18
    R v Stimson, 2011 ABCA 59 (CanLII), 499 A.R. 185, per curiam, at para 21
    R v McIlwrick, 2008 ABQB 724 (CanLII), 461 A.R. 16, per Ross J, at para 69
    R v Junkert, 2010 ONCA 549 (CanLII), 103 O.R. (3d) 284, per O'Connor ACJ, at paras 46 to 47
    R v Ruizfuentes, 2010 MBCA 90 (CanLII), 258 Man. R. (2d) 220, per Chartier JA, at para 36
    R v Lacasse, [2015] 3 SCR 1089, 2015 SCC 64 (CanLII), per Wagner J, at para 5 ("In the context of offences such as the ones in the case at bar, namely impaired driving causing either bodily harm or death, courts from various parts of the country have held that the objectives of deterrence and denunciation must be emphasized in order to convey society’s condemnation")
  7. R v Riggs, 2011 NLTD 26 (CanLII), per Handrigan JA, at para 37
    R v Jacobs, 1982 ABCA 204 (CanLII), (1982), 70 CCC (2d) 569 (Alta. C.A.), per Laycraft JA (3:0)
    R v Connolly, 2002 CanLII 41923 (NL PC), [2002] N.J. No. 40 (P.C.), per Gorman J, at para 18
    R v Alexson (1987), 1987 CanLII 4900 (SK CA), 7 M.V.R. (2d) 95 (Sask. C.A.), per Tallis JA (3:0)
  8. R v Woodward, 1993 CanLII 8183 (NL CA), (1993), 108 Nfld & PEIR 240 (N.L.C.A.), per Steele JA
  9. R v Clouthier, at para 54 ("The predominant sentencing objectives in determining a fit sentence for alcohol-driving offences, especially those in which bodily harm is caused to a fellow human being, are general deterrence and denunciation")
    R v Junkert, 2010 ONCA 549 (CanLII), 103 O.R. (3d) 284, per O'Connor ACJ (3:0), at paras 42 and 47
    R v Biancofiore (1997), 1997 CanLII 3420 (ON CA), 35 O.R. (3d) 782 (C.A.), per Rosenberg JA (3:0), at pp. 790-92

Factors

Aggravating circumstances for sentencing purposes

320.22 A court imposing a sentence for an offence under any of sections 320.13 to 320.18 [all conveyance offences] shall consider, in addition to any other aggravating circumstances, the following:

(a) the commission of the offence resulted in bodily harm to, or the death of, more than one person;
(b) the offender was operating a motor vehicle in a race with at least one other motor vehicle or in a contest of speed, on a street, road or highway or in another public place;
(c) a person under the age of 16 years was a passenger in the conveyance operated by the offender;
(d) the offender was being remunerated for operating the conveyance;
(e) the offender’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of committing the offence was equal to or exceeded 120 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood;
(f) the offender was operating a large motor vehicle; and
(g) the offender was not permitted, under a federal or provincial Act, to operate the conveyance.

2018, c. 21, s. 15.

CCC

Aggravating factors:

  • BAC reading, esp. if exceeding 160mg (s. 255.1)
  • other signs of a high degree of impairment
  • injuries to other persons
  • prior alcohol-related convictions, including dates

See also: R v Musseau, 2010 CanLII 2539 (NL PC), [2010] N.J. No. 25 (P.C.), per Gorman J


Ranges

see also: Impaired Driving, Over 80 and Refusal (Sentencing Cases)

Generally, a custodial sentence is required when bodily harm is caused.[1]

In Manitoba, impaired causing bodily harm will typically involve a range of sentence from 3 to 18 months.[2]

In Nova Scotia, the range of sentence for impaired driving causing death with no prior record is 2 to 5 years.[3]

Persistent or Repeat Offenders

The protection of the public is paramount in sentencing "offenders who persistently drive motor vehicles when they are impaired or disqualified."[4]

  1. R v Clouthier, 2016 ONCA 197 (CanLII), per Watt JA, at para 55
    R v Biancofiore (1997), 35 O.R. (3d) 782 (C.A.), 1997 CanLII 3420 (ON CA), per Rosenberg JA, at p. 791
  2. R v MacDonald, 1999 CanLII 5083 (MB CA), (1999), 139 CCC (3d) 524 (Man. C.A.), per Twaddle JA (2:1)
  3. R v Morine, 2011 NSSC 46 (CanLII), per Rosinski J, at para 79
  4. R v Clarke, 2013 SKCA 130 (CanLII), per Jackson JA (3:0), at para 10

Curative Discharges

The only exception to the mandatory minimums is where a curative discharge is ordered by the court (only available in certain provinces).

Delay of sentencing

320.23 (1) The court may, with the consent of the prosecutor and the offender, and after considering the interests of justice, delay sentencing of an offender who has been found guilty of an offence under subsection 320.14(1) [impaired operation] or 320.15(1) [refusal to provide a sample] to allow the offender to attend a treatment program approved by the province in which the offender resides. If the court delays sentencing, it shall make an order prohibiting the offender from operating, before sentencing, the type of conveyance in question, in which case subsections 320.24(6) to (9) apply.

Exception to minimum punishment

(2) If the offender successfully completes the treatment program, the court is not required to impose the minimum punishment under section 320.19 or to make a prohibition order under section 320.24 [mandatory prohibition order], but it shall not direct a discharge under section 730 [order of discharge].

2018, c. 21, s. 15
[annotation(s) added]

Ancillary Sentencing Orders

See also: Ancillary Orders
Offence-specific Orders
Order Conviction Description
DNA Orders

s. 320.14(1)(a) [Operation while impaired],
320.14(1)(b) [operation while over 80],
320.14(1)(c) [operation while blood drug exceeds regs re drug],
320.14(1)(d) [operation while blood drug exceeds regs re blood],

Driving Prohibition (320.24) s. 320.14(1) or 320.15(1) Min. 1 year (1st time), 2 years (2nd time), 3 years (3rd time or more)
Forfeiture of Vehicle

Offences under 320.14(4) [Operation with low blood drug concentrations] are not eligible for a DNA Order.

General Sentencing Orders
Order Conviction Description
Non-communication order while offender in custody (s. 743.21) any The judge has the discretion to order that the offender be prohibited "from communicating...with any victim, witness or other person" while in custody except where the judge "considers [it] necessary" to communicate with them.
Restitution Orders (s. 738) any A discretionary Order is available for things such as the replacement value of the property; the pecuniary damages incurred from harm, expenses fleeing a domestic partner; or certain expenses arising from the commission of an offence under s.402.2 or 403.
Victim Fine Surcharge (s. 737) any A discretionary surcharge under s. 737 of 30% of any fine order imposed, $100 per summary conviction or $200 per indictable conviction. If the offence occurs on or after October 23, 2013, the order has smaller minimum amounts (15%, $50, or $100).
General Forfeiture Orders
Forfeiture Conviction Description
Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime (s. 462.37(1) or (2.01)) any Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence under the Code or the CDSA in which property is "proceeds of crime" and offence was "committed in relation to that property", the property shall be forfeited to Her Majesty the Queen on application of the Crown.
Fine in Lieu of Forfeiture (s. 462.37(3)) any Where a Court is satisfied an order for the forfeiture of proceeds of crime under s. 462.37(1) or (2.01) can be made, but that property cannot be "made subject to an order", then the Court "may" order a fine in "an amount equal to the value of the property". Failure to pay the fine will result in a default judgement imposing a period of incarceration.
Forfeiture of Weapons or Firearms (s. 491) any Where there is finding of guilt for an offence where a "weapon, an imitation firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition, any prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance was used in the commission of [the] offence and that thing has been seized and detained", or "that a person has committed an offence that involves, or the subject-matter of which is, a firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance has been seized and detained, that the item be an enumerated weapon or related item be connected to the offence", then there will be a mandatory forfeiture order. However, under s. 491(2), if the lawful owner "was not a party to the offence" and the judge has "no reasonable grounds to believe that the thing would or might be used in the commission of an offence", then it should be returned to the lawful owner.
Forfeiture of Offence-related Property (s. 490.1) any Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence, "any property is offence-related property" where (a) by means or in respect of which an indictable offence under this Act or the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act is committed, (b) that is used in any manner in connection with the commission of such an offence, or (c) that is intended to be used for committing such an offence". Such property is to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province.

History

See also: List of Criminal Code Amendments and Table of Concordance (Criminal Code)

See Also

References