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Why You Should Not Drink in a Parked Car

When it comes to drinking and driving, many Canadians are fully aware of the risks and dangers. Did you know you cannot drink in a car that is parked? In this post, What The Law explains why you should not drink in a parked car and how it can have severe legal implications if you are caught, especially if this is not your first offence.

The Danger of Drinking in a Parked Car

Whether celebrating at special events or just having a casual drink with friends at a bar, drinking alcohol can affect the body significantly. While often creating a joyful or relaxed response in many people, alcohol also has been shown to significantly lower concentration, weaken reflexes, and encourage reckless behaviour. Naturally, driving while intoxicated is never a good idea for the safety of the driver and the public. Many Canadians are aware of this risk, and therefore choose to make their way home without driving their car, such as calling a friend or taxi to pick them up. 

On the other hand, some might feel it is a good idea to sleep it off in their car, assuming they are doing the right thing. This can be a major mistake. If you happen to be found by police intoxicated in your vehicle, even if you are parked, you might be charged with impaired driving.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is the act of operating the vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of substances known to influence or alter normal behaviour, such as alcohol, cannabis, or drugs.

If it is suspected that you are impaired while in a parked car, the police officers have the right to test you. They might suspect you are impaired if you are acting in an unusual manner, are visibly drinking alcohol, or have open alcohol in your car. 

It is important that you comply with their testing. If you choose not to, you will be shown to be guilty, which can severely harm your defence and lead to automatic penalties in some cases. 

Penalties for Impaired Driving in Ontario

Because driving in an impaired state can put not only the driver but also passengers and other drivers in danger, Canadian law takes impaired driving very seriously. By using a breathalyzer or other testing means, officers will check to see if you exceed the blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 (80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood). If so, they will likely charge you for impaired driving. 

If this is your first-time offence and are found guilty, you will receive:

  • An automatic three-day licence suspension.
  • A $250 fine.

If you reoffend for the second time within five years of your first offence:

  • You will receive an automatic licence suspension lasting 3-7 days.
  • You must attend a compulsory driving education program on safe driving.
  • You receive a $350 fine.

If you happen to reoffend again following two offences within five years, you:

  • Will have your licence automatically suspended for 30 days.
  • Must attend an impaired driver program.
  • May have to be medically evaluated in order to continue driving.
  • May have an ignition interlock device fitted to your vehicle.
  • May pay over $450 in fines.

Given that drinking while in a parked car is considered part of this offence, many people previously convicted of drunk driving may unknowingly reoffend and face severe consequences, even if they had no intention of driving this time. 

Defending DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charges requires attempting to demonstrate that the driver had absolutely no intention of operation the vehicle, known as care and control. This can be a challenging argument to find evidence for, but it is possible with the right DUI lawyer. 

Get Legal Support for Impaired Driving Charges in Toronto & GTA

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge for impaired driving, you must act quickly to secure a solid defence. Both federal and provincial law take impaired driving charges seriously and the risks of being found guilty is high without any support from a legal professional. At What The Law, we have defended our clients against impaired driving charges with great success. Our team of criminal defence lawyers across the Greater Toronto Area are highly skilled and can help secure you the proper defence you deserve. Contact us today and tell us what happened – we are here to listen to you!

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