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November 2016 Archives

Defending a DUI: Knocking out the Breath Readings

After being stopped at a RIDE program you are asked to step out of the car and blow into a roadside screening device. The officer tells you that you have failed. You are arrested for driving over 80, read your rights, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. The police take you down to the station where you are asked to blow into the breathalyser machine. After a brief wait you are told that your readings were way over the legal limit and that you will be charged with both over 80 and impaired driving. You are eventually released from the station with some paperwork requiring you to show up in court in three weeks.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Sexual Interference Struck Down

A recent Superior Court decision in Ottawa (in a case conducted by Bayne Sellar Boxall partner Mark Ertel) is a good example of how the analysis of mandatory minimum sentences plays out in Court [R. v. Laviolette, 2016 ONSC 782]. In that case, the offender was found guilty of touching a 15 year old girl for a sexual purpose. Section 151 of the Criminal Code prohibits that conduct. It is commonly known as "sexual interference." Sexual interference covers a very wide range of conduct. In some cases sentences traditionally ranged from 0-90 days for less invasive, fleeting touching whereas lengthy penitentiary terms of 5 years and even more were imposed in more serious cases where the conduct was more intrusive and/or happens repeatedly over an extended period of time.

My spouse doesn't want to press charges for domestic assault

My spouse doesn't want to press charges so will they be dropped? When it comes to domestic violence related charges (assault, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault, criminal harassment, uttering threats, mischief, unlawfully being in a dwelling house) this is one of the most frequent questions we get. Most people expect that the answer will be a resounding yes. Unfortunately, it's not quite as clear as that. First, your spouse does not have the ultimate say in the matter; the Crown Attorney does. Second, the Attorney General treats domestic offences very seriously and a decision to drop charges will not be made lightly. That said, your spouse's wishes may still have some impact on how the proceedings unfold.

Navigating the youth criminal justice system

A call from the police that your child has been arrested and charged with a criminal offence is often in keeping with a parent's worst nightmare. While your head will be swirling with fear and panic, it is helpful as a first step to gain some understanding of the court process. Navigating the criminal system can feel confusing and overwhelming but it is important to remember that generally most youth cases follow all of the same steps.

Sexual Assault: Too drunk to consent to sex?

Two people meet at a party. The drinks are flowing. They are both buzzing and their inhibitions are lowered. Sex occurs that night but the next morning one of the two says she didn't consent. The police become involved and show up the other person's house to arrest him for sexual assault. He is in disbelief. He thought it was consensual.

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