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Driving Offences Archives

The New Impaired by Drug Driving Offences

When the Liberal government decided to move toward the legalization of marijuana, it made clear that it would also be making changes to Canada's impaired by drug driving laws. Those change came into effect on October 17, 2018. The most significant changes fall into three categories: new offences, new penalties and the introduction of a new roadside screening device and procedures to go with it. 

Conduite inattentive

La conduite inattentive est devenue une épidémie nationale. Les lois ontariennes sur la conduite inattentive sont plus sévères que jamais et il est important que les conducteurs prennent au sérieux les conséquences potentielles de cette infraction.

Failing to Remain at the Scene of an Accident

It can be an offence to leave the scene of an accident in certain circumstances.  If you are driving a car, a boat or even flying an airplane and get into an accident with another person or vehicle you have a responsibility to remain at the scene and provide certain information.  You must give your name and address and, where any person has been injured or appears to require assistance, offer assistance.  If you do not provide this information there is an automatic presumption that you were trying to avoid civil or criminal liability, which is what is required for the prosecutor to prove the case.

How Do the Police Prove You are Driving High?

Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, the likelihood of people driving high (or mpaired by marijuana) has risen. Unlike alcohol, however, there is no easy test to determine if someone is legally impaired by marijuana. The Federal Government has approved a device, the Drager DrugTest 5000, that tests saliva to determine the concentration of THC, but there has been concerns raised surrounding this machine to the point both the Ottawa Police Service [link: https://globalnews.ca/news/4441503/no-plans-roadside-device-saliva-pot-ottawa-police] and the RCMP [link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/drug-impaired-driving-tests-1.4891163].

Police no longer need a reasonable suspicion to demand a roadside screening

In impaired driving and over 80 cases, the law for years has been that if the police stop an individual on the side of the road they could demand they blow into a roadside screening device only if:

La Cour d'appel de l'Ontario ordonne un nouveau procès dans une affaire de conduite dangereuse causant la mort

Martial Laverdure a été accusé de conduite dangereuse ayant causé la mort. Il a frappé un piéton qui quittait une partie de hockey. Il roulait à environ 60 km / h dans une zone de 50 km / h. Le juge de première instance a conclu que la conduite était dangereuse, en particulier compte tenu du volume de circulation piétonnière qui était supérieur à la normale. La Cour d'appel a accepté cette conclusion, mais elle a continué en indiquant qu'une conclusion selon laquelle la conduite était dangereuse n'était pas suffisante pour justifier une déclaration de culpabilité. Sur une accusation de conduite dangereuse, le tribunal doit également déterminer si la conduite constituait un "écart marqué" par rapport à la norme de diligence qu'une personne raisonnable observerait si elle était placée dans les circonstances dans lesquelles l'accusé s'est trouvé. La simple négligence ou l'insouciance ne suffit pas. Dans certains cas, la manière de conduire sera tellement grave qu'une conclusion de départ marqué découlera automatiquement de cette preuve. Ce n'était pas le cas et un nouveau procès a donc été ordonné.

Cannabis And Driving: Alternatives To Driving Under The Influence

There are many questions on the minds of Canadians regarding the use of recreational cannabis and driving. How long do you have to wait after consumption to drive? How does cannabis impair your driving ability? Is cannabis treated the same way as alcohol?

Ontario Court of Appeal Orders New Trial in Dangerous Driving Causing Death Case

Martial Laverdure was charged with dangerous driving causing death.  He hit a pedestrian who was leaving a hockey game.  He was driving approximately 60 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone.  The trial judge found that the driving was dangerous, particularly given the higher than normal volume of pedestrian traffic.  The Court of Appeal agreed with that finding but went on to note that a finding that the driving was dangerous was not sufficient to enter a conviction.  On a charge of dangerous driving, a court must also consider whether the driving constituted amounted to "marked departure" from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe if placed in the circumstances in which the accused found himself.  Mere negligence or carelessness is not enough.  In some cases, the manner of driving will be so egregious that a finding of a marked departure will automatically flow from that evidence.  This was not such a case and, as a result, a new trial was ordered. 

Using your device while driving may be a critical mistake

With the increased portability of technology, more drivers can stay connected with their friends and family - as well as their favourite modes of entertainment - during their commutes. Whether you remember the frustration of having to find a telephone booth to make a call or you grew up with a mobile device in your hand, there is no denying the convenience of having loved ones and all your favourite apps at your fingertips.

Ontario's zero tolerance policy may soon become even stricter

Drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol could be facing tougher penalties with the advent of legal recreational marijuana use coming in July 2018. Ontario is potentially planning to implement stricter laws for drivers 21 years old and younger, all fledgling drivers and all commercial vehicle drivers. If police find you under the influence, you may have to dig deeper into your pockets since fines would increase along with licence suspensions.

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Driving Offences Archives | Ottawa Criminal Law Blog