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The Penalties For Driving Drunk

 



 My essay is on "Drinking and Driving Offenses". In my
essay I will tell you the various kinds of drinking and
driving offenses, the penalties, and the defenses you can
make if you are caught drinking and driving.
 
 Let me tell you about the different offenses. There are
six offenses in drinking and driving. They are "driving
while impaired", "Having care and control of a vehicle
while impaired", "Driving while exceeding 80 m.g.", "Having
care and control of a vehicle while exceeding 80 m.g.",
"Refusing to give a breath sample", and "refusing to submit
to a roadside screen test. These are all Criminal Code
Offenses.
 
Now lets talk about the penalties of drinking and driving.
The sentence for "refusing to give a breath sample" is
usually higher than either of the "exceeding 80 m.g."
offenses. Consequently it is usually easier in the long run
for you to give a breath sample if asked. If, for example
you are convicted of "Refusing to give a breath sample" for
the first time, but was earlier convicted of "Driving while
impaired", your conviction for "Refusing" will count as a
second conviction, not a first, and will receive the
stiffer penalty for second offenses. 
 
For the first offense here is the penalty and the defenses
you can make. Driving a vehicle while your ability to drive
is impaired by alcohol or drugs is one of the offenses.
Evidence of your condition can be used to convict you. This
can include evidence of your general conduct, speech,
ability to walk a straight line or pick up objects. The
penalty of the first offenses is a fine of $50.00 to
$2000.00 and/or imprisonment of up to six months, and
automatic suspension of license for 3 months. The second
offense penalty is imprisonment for 14 days to 1 year and
automatic suspension of license for 6 months. The third
offense penalty is imprisonment for 3 months to 2 years (or
more) and automatic suspension of license for six months.
These penalties are the same for the following offenses.
 
"Having Care and Control of a Motor Vehicle while Impaired"
is another offense. Having care and control of a vehicle
does not require that you be driving it. Occupying the
driver's seat, even if you did not have the keys, is
sufficient. Walking towards the car with the keys could be
sufficient. Some defenses are you were not impaired, or you
did not have care and control because you were not in the
driver's seat, did not have the keys, etc. It is not a
defense that you registered below 80 m.g. on the
breathalyzer test. Having care and control depends on all
circumstances. 

"Driving While Exceeding 80 m.g. is the next offense.
Driving a vehicle, having consumed alcohol in such a
quantity that the proportion of alcohol in your blood
exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of
blood. Some defenses are the test was administered
improperly, or the breathalyzer machine was not functioning
properly. 

"Having Care and control of a Motor Vehicle while Exceeding
80 m.g." is the next offense I will talk about. This
offense means having care and control of a vehicle whether
it is in motion or not, having consumed alcohol in such a
quantity that the proportion of alcohol in your blood
exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of
blood. The defenses are the test was administered
improperly, or the breathalyzer machine was not functioning
properly. To defend against breathalyzer evidence you must
understand how the test should be administered. The proper
procedure for a breathalyzer test is as follows. Warming up
the machine until the thermometer registers 50 degrees
centigrade. This should take at least 10 minutes. The
machine should then be turned to zero (by using the "adjust
zero control") and a comparison ampoule (of normal air)
inserted. if the meter remains at zero, the test can
proceed. An ampoule with a standard solution is then
inserted. If the !
 
meter reads high or low by more than .02% on two successive
tests, the machine should not be used. If the trial is
valid, the machine should be flushed with room air and the
pointer set at start. You will then be asked to provide two
breath samples, about fifteen minutes apart. Normally they
will take the result of the lowest result and use it as
evidence against you.
 
"Refusing to Give a Breath Sample" means refusing without a
reasonable excuse to give a sample or refusing without a
reasonable excuse to accompany a police officer, when
demanded by the police officer. Before demanding by the
police officer, he must have reasonable and probable
grounds to believe that you are committing or at any time
in the preceding two hours have committed, one of the
offenses of driving or having care and control of a vehicle
while impaired or while having a blood alcohol level in
excess of 80 m.g. You can refuse to give a breath sample
until you have communicated in private with your lawyer
even if this takes you beyond the two hour period, unless
it is shown that your request for a lawyer was not genuine
and merely to delay the testing. The test can be done after
the two hour period, but a technician must testify in court
as to what your blood alcohol would have been in the two
hour period. You cannot refuse to accompany the officer
until you see your lawyer. You can argue that the officer
didn't have reasonable and probable grounds to suspect you,
but this however depends on the circumstances.
 
"Refusing to submit to a Roadside Screening Test" is the
last offense. When you commit this offense you are refusing
without reasonable excuse to give a breath sample for a
roadside screening device, or refusing without reasonable
excuse to accompany a police officer for the purposes of
giving such a sample, when demanded by an officer. Before
the officer demands a breathalyzer he must reasonably
suspect that you have alcohol in your blood. 

The maximum penalties for impaired driving causing bodily
harm to someone is up to 10 years in prison and up to a 10
year prohibition from driving. The maximum penalties for
impaired driving causing death is up to 14 years and a 10
year prohibition from driving. The maximum penalty for
manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death is up to
life in prison and up to a lifetime prohibition from
driving.
 
I think that these penalties for all the drinking and
driving offenses are very appropriate, but I think impaired
driving causing death should be a lifetime imprisonment.
Also if a person is impaired and causes bodily harm to some
one they should have their license suspended from him for
20 years instead of 10 years.
 



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