Regina’s law enforcement takes any form of impaired driving very seriously. So does the Crown, which imposes harsh penalties whenever anyone is convicted of this crime.
In Saskatchewan, it is illegal to operate any conveyance while your ability to operate said conveyance is impaired to any degree by alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs.
- The conveyance does not have to be a car. The law applies to boats, snowmobiles, and other recreational vehicles as well.
- The conveyance does not have to be in motion, you only have to be “operating” it.
- The drug in question can be a legal over-the-counter or prescription drug.
First-time DWI, DUI, and impaired driving charges are some of the most common criminal charges. The reason is twofold. First, it’s very difficult for most people to judge when alcohol or a drug is impairing them to a degree that is strong enough to significantly impact their ability to operate a conveyance. Second, the tests are often faulty and they do throw false positives.
Nevertheless, Canada has some of the strongest DWI laws in the world.
BAC Over 80
If a blood alcohol test finds that there is more than 80 mg per 100 mL of blood in your body the you can face up to two years in prison. If you cause an accident while under the influence you can face up to fourteen years in prison. If the accident results in death you can be put away for life. You can also be required to pay fines of up to $4,250.
An impaired driving charge covers driving under the influence of any drug.
Law enforcement may determine whether you are under the influence in several ways. First, they can use a roadside sobriety test. If you fail the test, they can call in a Drug Recognition Evaluator to offer you a 12-step drug impairment test which includes a physical examination.
Some Regina police officers also have access to SoTaxa oral fluid machines. These measure the concentration of certain drugs in your blood much like a breathalyzer test measures alcohol. As with any other roadside test, Saskatchewan does not allow you to refuse the test. If you refuse, you will be arrested, and after arrest you’ll be given a blood test anyway.
Obviously if law enforcement finds drugs in your system they may also be given probable cause to search your vehicle or person for drugs, which can lead to additional drug charges.
Penalties for DUI, DWI, and Impaired Driving
The penalties for impaired driving include:
- Jail time
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Vehicle impoundment
- Being required to install an ignition interlock device
- Being required to complete a Driving Without Impairment program
Sentencing can be harsher if certain aggravating factors exist. These include:
- Excessively high BAC
- Participation in street races
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the car
- Operating a large motor vehicle
- Driving under the influence under the course of your employment
- The vehicle was stolen
Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Regina?
Yes. Police may demand breathalyzer tests from any driver they pull over, even if there is no probable cause to suspect that driver has been drinking.
If you refuse the test, you can be charged with impaired driving anyway.
Do I Have to Take the Field Sobriety Test in Regina?
Yes. Saskatchewan offers drivers no rights to refuse the field sobriety test. If you refuse the test, police can charge you and arrest you.
What If I Was Drinking Hours Before I Got on the Road?
Unfortunately, the law as it is written assumes that your blood alcohol concentration within two hours of driving was your blood alcohol concentration at the moment you got on the road, so a time-based defence is not always effective.
Defences for DUI, DWI, or Impaired Driving Charges
One defence we use is to prove that breathalyzer tests or blood tests are inaccurate. There are many medical conditions and medications that can alter the results of these tests. In addition, the test results are suspect if the tests are issued incorrectly.
Another defence would be involuntary intoxication, where we prove that someone slipped you alcohol or drugs against your will, leading to a situation where you did not even know you were intoxicated.
The defence of necessity may apply when you are driving in response to an emergency, though this defence can be difficult as there are usually other options, such as calling an ambulance or a cab.
In some cases we’ve successfully proven that the alleged perpetrator consumed the substance after driving, or never operated the vehicle in the first place. This might apply in cases where police officers followed an erratic driver back to their home, or when police are issuing impaired driving charges after an automobile accident.
Factual innocence is also possible: we’ve seen cases where DUI or DWI was alleged and the driver hadn’t taken any substances at all. Police officers do make mistakes.
We investigate every potential argument and possibility for your defence.
Get Help Today
If you’re facing impaired driving charges or DWI charges then you will need help from an experienced criminal defence team. Our team has been helping Regina residents defeat impaired driving charges for decades, and we may be able to get your charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced.
We are empathetic and responsive. We’re not here to judge you. We’re here to give you top-notch legal advice. We keep you in the loop and we thoroughly investigate every case to find all of the available options.
We’ll help you whether you’re guilty or innocent, and will rigorously defend your rights no matter what. It’s our job to minimize or eliminate the consequences of your arrest, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.
If you or a loved one needs help, don’t wait. Create the strongest case you possibly can by calling (306) 848-7777 to schedule a case review.