Although she has a wide practice, Sarah has particular knowledge in the area of impaired driving. She has defended clients accused of impaired driving, driving with a BAC over 0.08, dangerous driving, refusal and ASD refusal. She has dealt with charges involving both alcohol and drug impairment. She has dealt with difficult cases, often involving injuries and even death. Sarah understands the law. She understands your rights.
Sarah is also certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. She is also certified as a Drug Recognition Expert. Sarah has hands-on experience with the operation and use of the approved screening devices and approved instruments that are used to measure to measure blood alcohol concentration in British Columbia in Alberta.
Sarah’s knowledge in the area of driving law has not gone unnoticed. In September, 2017, she was personally asked to appear before the House of Commons Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for the purposes of providing expert legal testimony on proposed changes to impaired driving law. She has since been invited back, to further advise the Committee on other possible amendments to the Criminal Code.
Sarah understands impaired driving. She understands driving related offences. She knows what to look for in the evidence and how to identity problems in the Crowns case. She confers with forensic experts and consultants when necessary in order to give you the representation you deserve. She will go to trial and defend your driving privileges and your integrity if need be.
That being said, Sarah recognizes that, for some people, a drawn-out and expensive trial process may be undesirable. As a natural negotiator and efficient problem-solver, Sarah knows that a trial is not always the best option. She will explore all possible alternatives and avenues in order to best meet her client’s needs.
Sarah and her team approach each case logically and with a holistic view of the evidence and the individual. Sarah is skilled at identifying the underlying issues which can sometimes lead to these types of criminal allegations. When appropriate, she draws on an extensive network of professionals, which she has built up over the years, in order to get her client the rehabilitative care they need. Sarah treats each client with dignity and respect, and meets them where they are.
No matter what her clients’ needs are, Sarah will rise up to meet them. Sarah helps her clients’ through their difficult time, and does everything she can to secure the best possible outcome for them.
Sarah has represented clients charged with criminal driving offences in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Sarah has travelled to Fort McMurray, Edmonton, Grand Prairie, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Surrey, Richmond, North Vancouver, Chilliwack, Port Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Kamloops, Prince George and Williams Lake in defence of her clients. There is no distance she is unwilling to go in order to help those in need.
If you need Sarah’s help, contact her today.
Impaired Driving/Driving Over 0.08
It is not unusual to see these two offences go hand-in-hand, but that is not always the case. These are separate, but related allegations.
The penalty for being convicted of either of these offences includes the imposition of a criminal record, a minimum one-year Canada-wide driving ban and a substantial monetary fine. Any subsequent offences could involve a longer prohibition, large monetary fine and even jail time. It is a serious offence, with serious consequences.
When it comes to impaired driving, the prosecution needs to prove that a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired at the time of doing so. This can be by drug or alcohol, or even a combination of both.
While the test for impairment ranges from slight to great, the prosecution still needs to establish it beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. Typically, it will rely on evidence that is collected at the time of the alleged offence, including observations made of the driver and their driving behaviour. For instance, evidence related to whether the accused person had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes or issues with their dexterity and balance, can all be adduced in order to show impairment.
However, there can be issues with this. For example, an accused person has rights under the Charter in this country, and evidence collected in violation of those rights should not be admitted at trial. Moreover, this kind of evidence typically relies on witness testimony, and memories can fade over time. The case isn’t always so open and shut. Impaired driving allegations are often nuanced and difficult for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
Most people who have been charged with impaired driving are also charged with driving with a blood alcohol concentration in excess of 80 mg in 100 ml of blood. This typically occurs where a person has provided a breath sample into an Approved Instrument, pursuant to a police demand to do so.
In British Columbia, that instrument is usually the Intox EC/IR II. It captures and tests a very small sample of the subject’s breath for analysis and uses it to determine the subjects blood alcohol concentration.
There are a number of variables that can affect the results obtained on an instrument like the Intox EC/IR II. For example, the instrument must be properly maintained and operated in order for the results to be reliable. The procedures to do so are often complex. Mistakes can happen, and that can cause problems for the Crowns case against an accused.
Moreover, any time a person is compelled to provide a bodily sample in the course of a police investigation, the Charter applies. You have rights that cannot be breached in the course of the investigation. The rules are strict and sometimes convoluted. Often times, police officers make mistakes and do not follow them correctly. This can create problems with respect to the admissibility of the evidence. When an accused persons rights are breached, the case against them may be thrown out.
If you have been charged with impaired driving and/or driving with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 mg%, you should speak to an experienced driving lawyer right away.
It might be surprising to learn that refusing to provide a breath sample, when demanded to do so by the police, is a criminal offence in this country. A person can be charged with refusing to provide a sample into a Approved Screening Device, like an Alco-Sensor FST, at the roadside or refusing to provide a sample into an Approved Instrument, like an Intox EC/IR II, at the police station. Either way, the consequences can be very serious.
If a person is charge with refusal, they face the same penalties as someone who is charged with impaired driving or driving with a BAC over 0.08. This means they could be subject to a one-year Canada-wide driving ban, a large monetary fine and the imposition of a criminal record.
Refusal charges can be difficult to defend, but some defences may be available and will depend on the circumstances. For example, you have rights that cannot be breached in the course of any criminal investigation. When it comes to making a demand for a bodily sample, the rules can be very strict and sometimes convoluted. Often times, police officers make mistakes and do not follow the rules correctly. This can create problems with respect to the validity of the demand and the subsequent admissibility of the evidence. When an accused persons rights are breached, the case against them may be thrown out.
If you have been charged with refusal, you should speak to a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible.
Section 249(1) of the Criminal Code says that it is an offence to operate a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public having regard to all of the circumstances. The circumstances include the nature, condition and use of the place at which the vehicle was being operated and even the amount of traffic on the road at the time.
Dangerous driving can cover a wide range of unsafe driving behaviours, and does not necessarily mean that a person needs to be impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of driving. In most cases, they are not. For example, a person can be charged with dangerous driving if they make an improper traffic manoeuvre and cause a crash, if they fail to properly look out for pedestrians or cyclists, if they fall asleep at the wheel or if they engage in a police chase.
The punishment for dangerous driving is severe. A person convicted of this offence could face up to five years in jail. If a person has been injured or there has been a death, the consequences are even harsher. A person convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm is liable for up to ten years in jail, while a person convicted of dangerous driving causing death is liable for fourteen. They can also expect to receive a criminal record and a lengthy Canada-wide driving ban.
But there are defences to dangerous driving, and an experienced lawyer will be able to point them out for you. If you have been charged with dangerous driving, you should call a lawyer now.