Few people realize that they can be charged with impaired driving even if they were not actively driving a vehicle at the time the police found them. Care and control charges, often called impaired care charges, can be laid against you if you had a blood alcohol level (BAC) over 80 mg and were in the care or control of a vehicle but not actively driving it.
If you are in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle, even if the vehicle is not turned on, you are considered to have care and control over it. Essentially, the police assume that you either just drove
the vehicle or had the intention to drive the vehicle. You may also be charged if you have placed the vehicle in a dangerous position. If you have a BAC over 80 mg, you would have been charged with drunk driving if you were driving or even accidentally turned on the vehicle. This law applies to all motor vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorboats, aircraft, railway equipment, and more. If the police find you in the driver's seat of that vehicle, while you have a BAC over 80 mg, you may be charged with care and control.
If convicted on impaired care charges, you may face the same penalties as if you had driven the vehicle while impaired with a BAC over 80 mg. These penalties are:
Penalties will be higher if this is your second, third, or further offence.
An experienced drunk driving lawyer can look at the facts of your case and find your best defence option. Many lawful reasons may explain why you were in the driver’s seat and did not intend to drive the vehicle. For example, perhaps you forgot a personal item in the vehicle.
Though we may be able to prove you did not intend to drive the vehicle at that moment, the Crown prosecutor may still attempt to prove that there was a real risk that you could have begun to operate the vehicle, even by accident. There are options we can pursue to demonstrate that you were not at risk of accidentally or intentionally starting the vehicle, but much of that defence will depend on the facts of your case.
Having a strong, prepared defence from our experienced DUI lawyers is the best way to protect yourself. Use your right to remain silent, even if you believe there is a reasonable explanation to why you were behind the wheel, and then call or text us.
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