Sleeping in your car while impaired: a Criminal Code offence
Many people believe that sleeping in a vehicle while intoxicated is safe and exempt from criminal liability. Well, this is not true! During the winter months, it is not uncommon to see people who, after a night of drinking, decide to sleep in their vehicle rather than drive home. In many cases, they simply didn’t plan to drink that much and therefore didn’t plan for a safe ride home. In other cases, they didn’t want to have to pay for a cab. Whatever the reason, this decision is not without consequences.
The charge of care and control of a vehicle while intoxicated
Generally, a person can be charged with having care and control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol when the facts show that the person was performing acts that involved some use of the vehicle or its accessories and there was a realistic risk that the person could set the vehicle in motion. For example, if you are inside your vehicle and started the engine to warm up, even though 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 they were not in the vehicle. It should be noted that impairment includes both alcohol and drug impairment.
If you are found guilty of this offence, which is codified in section 253 of the Criminal Code, you face significant consequences. First, if your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit (80mg), your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of three (3) months by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Afterwards, if you are found guilty of this offence, the court will impose a 12-month driving prohibition, in addition to a minimum fine of $1,000. Finally, as with all drinking and driving convictions, you will be given a criminal record. And we’re talking about the minimum sentence for a first offense! The consequences of a second offence are more important, as are the consequences of a charge with a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit (i.e. 160 mg and more).
It is very important to hire a law firm that specializes in drunk driving cases. An experienced lawyer will be able to represent you properly in court and defend your best interests. He or she will be able to negotiate the lowest possible sentence or find a way to get you off the charge.
The ball is now in your court: you can, when you leave the bar, decide to take a cab, to call someone to drive you home or you can also choose to give us a call to retain our services…