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Failure of police to follow rules could lead to acquittal

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In many cases impaired driving charges follow the administration of a blood alcohol test. Even when such a test appears to show that someone is intoxicated it is possible that the accused could be acquitted of the charges. This is illustrated by the outcome of a recent case involving a dump truck crash that occurred in 2014.

The Burlington Skyway crash occurred when the dump truck’s raised rear box ran into the bridge causing it to be closed for four days. Following the incident the driver of the dump truck was charged with:

  • Impaired driving
  • Driving with a blood alcohol level over 80 mg
  • Dangerous driving
  • Four counts of mischief endangering life

The man was recently acquitted of the first two charges. This is a result of the timing of the breath test’s administration. Under the Criminal Code, breath tests must be administered to those accused of drunk driving, within three hours of being behind the wheel. The man’s lawyer asserted the failure to give the test after the passage of the three hours was a breach of his protections under the Charted of Rights and Freedoms. A breath test analyst provided testimony that the test was administered five hours following the collision.

An acquittal of pending charges is one way in which a criminal defence lawyer can be of assistance. While the remaining charges are still pending against the man, when someone is facing multiple criminal charges an acquittal on any of them is a good thing. This is because it immediately reduces the possible consequences should that person be convicted on the remaining charges.

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