The Four Charges That Result From Impaired Driving

There are essentially four general types of offenses that constitute what people call impaired driving or driving under the influence.

1. Impaired Driving

This charge refers to the belief by the police that the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. It is almost always by alcohol but there are other cases such as impairment by drugs or medication.

2. Over 80

This charge refers to driving over the legal limit of alcohol concentration in the blood and that limit is “80”. The over 80 limit is a federal limit that is within our criminal code and that is the same all across Canada

What people need to understand is that they can actually be convicted of impaired driving or driving over 80, without driving a car at all as will be seen in the care-and-control scenarios.

3. Care and Control of a Vehicle While Impaired or Care and Control Over 80

You can be deemed to be in care and control of a car by simply having the car keys to your vehicle or even being in the car with the keys not yet in the ignition but available to you. You may be found guilty of the offense of care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired.

What is significant is that all of these variations on the impaired driving theme result in the same type of penalties and all are criminal charges.

4. Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death

This charge occurs when you are actually involved in an accident and somebody is injured or killed. You can be charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm or impaired driving causing death, depending on the consequences. While the mandatory minimum sentences for impaired driving continue to apply, obviously significantly increased penalties are common in cases where serious injury or death results.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Toronto,Ontario Region, contact Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman for a consultation.

This information is taken from an interview from August 10, 2007 with Ed Prutschi, Criminal Lawyer with Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman, a Toronto Criminal Defence Law Firm. The article is provided as an information service only and should not be used as legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction so please consult with an appropriate legal professional if you are looking for help with a specific situation.