DUI Lawyer Winnipeg
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in Canada. It refers to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The term encompasses driving and having care or control of a vehicle, even if you are not in motion.
A closely related term is “driving while intoxicated” (DWI), often used interchangeably with DUI. Another common charge is “Driving Over 80,” indicating a driver has more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Each of these charges can lead to significant legal consequences.
Conviction for any such offense can lead to a range of penalties, including fines, driving suspension, or even imprisonment. The severity of the punishment often correlates with the gravity of the offense and the presence of previous convictions.
Types of "DUI" Offenses
An individual will be charged with “driving over 80” (Criminal Code, s. 253(1)(b)) if there is evidence that their blood alcohol content exceeds 80mg per 100ml of blood while operating a vehicle. Evidence of impairment is not required.
Impaired driving (Criminal Code, s. 253(1)(b)) charges do not require any breath or blood tests. The offense is made out if the Court is satisfied that the accused's ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired, to any degree, by alcohol, a drug, or a combination of the two.
Refusing or failing to provide a breath or blood sample (Criminal Code, s. 320.15(1)) when demanded by a peace officer is an offense in itself. A conviction for this offense has the same penalties as a conviction for "driving over 80" or impaired driving.
The Role of a Criminal Lawyer in DUI Cases
Navigating the judicial system with a DUI charge requires a keen understanding of the law and a strategic defense.
A criminal lawyer plays a pivotal role in challenging the evidence presented against a client, such as the results of breathalyzer tests. These tests must be administered correctly and the equipment adequately calibrated and maintained, all of which can be scrutinized by a knowledgeable lawyer.
Field sobriety tests are another area a lawyer can contest, questioning their administration and the interpreting officer’s training.
Through plea negotiations, a lawyer can also work with prosecutors to reach an agreement that may lessen the charges or penalties faced by the defendant.
Legal representation is critical in ensuring that your narrative and unique circumstances are fully understood. A dedicated lawyer stands beside you at every stage of legal proceedings, advocating for favorable bail conditions, developing robust defense strategies, and ensuring your rights are upheld at every turn.
Protecting your reputation, rights, and freedom is at the heart of what a criminal lawyer does in DUI cases. It is their duty to steer clients through the complexities of the legal system and work towards the best possible outcome given the specifics of each case.
Defending DUI Charges
Facing a DUI charge can be an unsettling experience with significant consequences. The outcome hinges on the strategic approach taken in defense, which includes leveraging an array of legal tactics.
Common Defense Strategies
When contesting DUI charges, several defense strategies are commonly considered:
Challenging the Legality of the Traffic Stop: The defense can argue that the stop was not conducted legally, which could lead to the exclusion of evidence obtained during the stop.
Questioning the Accuracy and Reliability of Breathalyzer Tests: Lawyers often challenge the calibration, maintenance, or operation of the device used to measure blood alcohol content.
Improper Administration of Field Sobriety Tests: If the standardized field sobriety tests were not properly administered, the results may be considered unreliable.
Violation of Constitutional Rights: If the accused’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated at any point (such as right to counsel, right against unreasonable search and seizure, etc.), the evidence obtained may be ruled inadmissible.
Medical Conditions and Other Explanations: Defense may present evidence of medical conditions or other factors that could have contributed to the behaviour or test results, such as mouth alcohol from dental work, diabetes, diet, etc.
Chain of Custody and Sample Integrity: Ensuring the blood or breath samples were handled properly throughout the testing process and that there was no contamination or mix-up.
Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Defense: Arguing that the accused’s BAC was below the legal limit while driving but rose between the time of the arrest and the time of testing.
Last Drink Defense: Claiming that the accused had consumed alcohol just before driving, which would mean the BAC was still rising and was below the legal limit while driving.
Preparing for a DUI case involves several critical steps:
Gathering Evidence: This includes obtaining police reports, breathalyzer test results, and video footage from the arrest. Witnesses may also be identified and interviewed.
Legal Analysis: The defense lawyer will carefully review all details to identify any procedural errors or legal defenses. This analysis is essential to craft a solid defense strategy.
Involvement of the Accused: The individual facing charges should provide their account of events and any relevant information to their lawyer. This cooperation is vital for an accurate and comprehensive defense.
Effective case preparation is a collaborative effort between the lawyer and the accused, ensuring all angles are considered before heading to court.
Pre-trial strategy is about planning the best course of action before a case goes to trial. This involves discussions between the lawyer and the prosecution and might include:
Plea Bargaining: Negotiating for a reduced charge or lighter sentence is a common pre-trial activity.
Constitutional Arguments: If rights were violated during the arrest or investigation, the defense might file pre-trial motions to exclude evidence or dismiss charges.
Discovery: During this phase, the defense reviews evidence held by the prosecution and can request further information relevant to the case.
Pre-trial strategy aims to resolve issues in the client’s favor or strengthen the case before trial. Lawyers play a key role in this phase, using their experience to guide the strategy effectively.
Trial and Court Procedures
When a DUI case goes to trial, it follows a structured process:
Arraignment: The accused is formally charged and enters a plea.
Motions: Before the main trial, both sides can argue certain legal points, such as the admissibility of evidence.
Trial: Witnesses testify, evidence is presented, and both the defense and prosecution make their case before a judge or jury.
Verdict: After deliberation, the judge or jury delivers a verdict.
During a DUI trial, the lawyer actively represents the client, questions evidence, and argues in favor of the defense. At each stage, the lawyer uses precise legal tactics to guide the case through to the final verdict.
Selecting a Qualified DUI Lawyer
Choosing the right lawyer for a DUI defense is a critical step in the legal process. The lawyer’s experience and approach can significantly influence the direction and outcome of a case. A qualified legal professional understands the complexities of DUI law and can navigate through them effectively to represent their client’s interests effectively. It’s important to select someone with the legal knowledge and dedication to pursue the best possible outcome for their client.
Experience with DUI Cases
In my years of practice, I've come to appreciate the profound impact that experience has in handling DUI cases. Each case is unique and navigating the nuances requires a thorough understanding of the law and familiarity with the strategies that resonate with particular judges and how to anticipate prosecutorial tactics.
I commit to bringing a wealth of experience to each case. My goal is to achieve the best possible result, taking into account the specific facts and legal circumstances presented by each client's situation.
Understanding Your Case
I take the time to truly listen and understand your version of events. Being charged with a DUI can be overwhelming, but knowing the details of your situation allows me to defend you effectively. An objective and empathetic perspective is necessary, and that's what I aim to offer. It's important for me to build a case that accurately represents your experiences and legal interests.
Communicating clearly and regularly with you throughout your legal proceedings is my priority. I understand the stress that comes with facing charges and the need for straightforward answers. My approach is to keep you informed and set realistic expectations without making promises that are out of reach. Providing honest and prompt updates is part of my commitment to you as we navigate your defense together.
When it comes to discussing the cost of legal defense, it is important to prioritize clarity and transparency. My goal is to provide a clear explanation of the advantages of skilled representation and to present options that take into account your financial situation. Depending on your preferences, I can offer per-hour fees or a block retainer. By choosing a block retainer, you can ensure that I have the necessary time to dedicate to your case without the added stress of hourly billing. Ultimately, my objective is to deliver an excellent defense that meets your specific needs and works towards achieving the best possible outcome based on the facts of your case.