The law prohibits the care and control of a vehicle while impaired, even if you are not driving it. Indeed, many people believe that sleeping in a vehicle while intoxicated is safe and not subject to criminal liability. Well, that’s simply not true!
In winter, it is not uncommon to see citizens who, after a night of partying, decide to sleep in their vehicle rather than drive home. In many cases, they simply had not anticipated drinking as much, and therefore had not planned a ride to get home safely. In other cases, they did not want to have to pay for a taxi. Whatever the reason, this decision has consequences.
Care and control of a vehicle while impaired
In general, a person can be charged with having care and control of his or her vehicle while impaired by alcohol when the facts show that he or she was performing acts that involved some use of the vehicle or its accessories and that there was a realistic risk that the person could set the vehicle in motion. For example, if you are inside your vehicle and you start the engine to warm up, even if you are in the back seat of your car, you could be charged with having care and control of your vehicle. A person can also be charged with care and control of a vehicle even if he or she was not inside the vehicle. It should be noted that when referring to impairment, we include impairment caused by alcohol as well as drugs.
The consequences of these charges
If you are found guilty of this offence, which is codified in section 253 of the Criminal Code, you could face significant consequences.
First, if your blood alcohol level exceeds the permitted limit (80 mg), your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of three (3) months by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Subsequently, if you are convicted of this offence in court, the court will impose a 12-month driving prohibition, in addition to a minimum fine of $1,000. Finally, as with any conviction on impaired driving charges, you will be required to have a criminal record. And we’re talking about the minimum sentence for a first offence! The consequences of a second offence are more significant, as are the consequences of a charge with a blood alcohol level exceeding twice the legal limit (i.e. 160 mg and over).
The right criminal lawyer to defend you against charges of care and control of your vehicle
For charges of care and control of a vehicle while impaired, it is very important to contact a lawyer who specializes in drinking and driving. He will be able to properly represent you in court and defend your interests by negotiating the shortest possible sentence for you, or by finding the loophole that will get you fully acquitted of this charge.
The ball is now in your court: when you leave the bar, you can decide to take a taxi, call someone to drive you home or you can also choose to drop us a phone call to retain our services…