What is the difference between Impaired Operation and Drive Over 80? Because the minimum sentence outlined in section 255 of the Canadian Criminal Code (CCC) applies equally to Impaired Operation and Drive Over 80, there is some confusion as to what the actual difference is. It is very important that the Police, the Crown Attorney and the Defense Lawyers recognize the subtleties involved, though it is also vital for the person charged to do so.
Impaired operation is defined in s. 253(1) of the CCC. There are three components to this. First, an individual must operate or have care or control of a motor vehicle. It may not matter if the vehicle is actually on or not. It is possible to be guilty of this offence with a turned off motor vehicle, as long as it is possible to control its movement. Second, the vehicle does not even have to be in motion. As long as it is possible to exercise control of the vehicle’s movements, the test is met. The last part, of course, requires that individual to be impaired, either by a drug or alcohol. That is, some evidence, usually the testimony of a police officer, has to be presented to show that the individuals ability to operate or control the movements of the vehicle was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Over 80 Mgs.
“Over 80” refers to section 253(2). The first two parts are identical to Impaired Operation. However, in order to be found guilty, it needs to be shown that the accused had an alcohol concentration exceeding 80 milligrams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood. The key difference is that no evidence of impairment may be presented. Driving perfectly fine with a blood alcohol content of over 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood is enough for this law to be broken.
While this might seem nitpicky, it actually has very sound reasoning behind it. Historically, Crown Attorneys had difficulty with proving impaired operation. People react to alcohol in difference ways. One person might consume just a couple of alcoholic beverages and show many signs of impairment, while another could consume a large quantity and seem perfectly fine. The problem with simply leaving things at “impaired” meant that people were essentially their own judge as to whether or not they were too intoxicated to drive. As a result the “Over 80” was introduced. It is true that most people show signs of impairment at this level and as a result it provides a bench mark to be used for people to gauge whether or not to get behind the wheel of a car.
Our lawyers represent clients with impaired charges in Toronto, Oshawa, Mississauga, Newmarket, Brampton and other Ontario jurisdiction If you have been charged with one of these offences, contact us today.