Toronto Criminal Lawyer

Refuse Breath Sample — Toronto Impaired Driving Lawyer

Client:  S.S., Accused
Complainant:  Ontario Provincial Police
Charges:  refuse breath sample, speeding, open alcohol in vehicle

The Queen v. S.S.
Ontario Court of Justice, Halton
Judge Zabel
(plea to careless: 19 December 2013)

Crown:  B. Adsett, Office of the Crown Attorney, Halton
Defence:  Craig Penney, Driving Offence Criminal Lawyer, Toronto

¶ 1  CLERK:  Please stand. S.S., you stand charged that on or about the 11th day of March, 2013, at the City of Hamilton, in the Central South Region, did without reasonable excuse fail or refuse to comply with a demand made to him by a peace officer, pursuant to Section 254(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada, to provide such a sample of his breath as in the opinion of the peace officer was necessary to enable a proper analysis of his breath and to be made by means of an approved screening device, contrary to Section 254(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

¶ 2  To this charge as read how do you plead guilty or not guilty?

¶ 3  MR PENNEY:  Mr. S. enters, Your Honour, a plea of not guilty to the charge as read but, with the Crown's consent, enters a plea of guilty under Section 606(4) to facts sustaining a plea to a careless driving offence under Section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act, on the basis that he was driving without reasonable consideration for other drivers on the road.

¶ 4  THE COURT:  Yes, thank you. Crown?

¶ 5  CROWN:  And, again, I agree with that, Your Honour.

¶ 6  THE COURT:  Yes.

¶ 7  CROWN:  If I may provide Your Honour with the facts.

¶ 8  THE COURT:  Yes, please.

¶ 9  CROWN:  Your Honour would've heard, on Monday, March 10th of this year, at approximately a couple minutes after midnight, a civilian witness was west-bound on the Queen Elizabeth Way, in the City of Burlington. The witness's attention was drawn to a BMW motor vehicle; he recorded the licence number. He called the O.P.P. to report that the vehicle had been swerving in its lane going onto the shoulder and travelling at various speeds.

¶ 10  The witness would stay on the telephone with police until the Burlington split. The witness advised the BMW vehicle was, in fact, staying on the Queen Elizabeth Way, was travelling at a speed of about a hundred and fifty kilometres in a hundred kilometre speed limit and he was not able to keep up with that vehicle. The police told, told him not to attempt to follow the vehicle any further and he, he stopped.

¶ 11  A Constable of the O.P.P. detachment heard the radio broadcast and entered onto the Queen Elizabeth highway Niagara-bound from the North Shore Boulevard in order to observe the BMW motor vehicle. He did observe the BMW motor vehicle, which was being operated by the accused before the court on the Queen Elizabeth highway, on the downside of the Skyway Bridge entering into the City of Hamilton. The Queen Elizabeth highway at this location is an eight lane highway: four lanes Niagara-bound and four lanes Toronto-bound. The Toronto and Niagara-bound lanes are divided by a concrete barrier. The posted speed limit is 100 kilometres.

¶ 12  The Constable observed and paced the vehicle — the BMW operated by the accused — to be travelling at a speed of 140 kilometres. Constable pulled alongside the BMW motor vehicle, which eventually slowed to 100 kilometres.

¶ 13  Eventually the officer pulled in behind the vehicle, activated his emergency lights and the vehicle stopped on the entranceway to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. The Constable exited his vehicle. He had a brief conversation with the accused before the court; the accused had a smell of alcohol; and the accused was eventually asked to get into the officer's motor vehicle after a brief conversation.

¶ 14  I can indicate further, after the accused was arrested, the officer did a search of the vehicle before having it towed and he found a open bottle of Grey Goose Vodka, it was a 26 ounce bottle that was approximately half the bottle remained. The bottle was under the front passenger seat; it was hidden from view but easily accessible to the officer when sitting in the driver's seat. As a result, the accused was charged with the offence before the court. Those are essentially the facts, as I understand them.

¶ 15  MR PENNEY:  Yes, Those facts, Your Honour, are admitted to the extent necessary to sustain the plea. He specifically admits that the speeding, along with the weaving, was driving without reasonable consideration for other drivers on the road; and thereby committed an offence under Section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act.

¶ 16  THE COURT:  Stand, sir. On the facts as presented by the Crown and the admission and elaboration made on your behalf by your counsel, there will be a finding of guilt registered on the count of careless driving, contrary to the Highway Traffic Act.

¶ 17  The Criminal Code offence as arraigned is dismissed.

¶ 18  CROWN:  Thank you, Your Honour. To the best of my knowledge, this gentleman had no prior criminal record.

¶ 19  THE COURT:  Yes.

¶ 20  CROWN:  The Crown is seeking a fine of a thousand dollars. We're also seeking that the accused be put on probation for a period of four months, with two terms: that he not occupy the driver's seat of a motor vehicle and that he not operate a motor vehicle. Subject to any questions, those would be the Crown's submissions.

¶ 21  THE COURT:  Defence, please.

¶ 22  MR PENNEY:  Yes, Your Honour, it's a joint submission. The high fine is justified, having regard to the seriousness of the weaving on the highway at that time, as well as the driving suspension.

¶ 23  THE COURT:  Some brief background on your client.

¶ 24  MR PENNEY:  Okay, Your Honour. He lives at home with his parents; he's self-employed; he's not married; he works in the investment industry; he's a what I would consider a high income earner within our community. He is a professional; and he manages other people's funds. We're not seeking a, a waiver of the victim fine surcharge. Presently he has no dependents, but he is home, and he actively participates in assisting his mom at home.

¶ 25  THE COURT:  Stand, sir. I will accept the joint submission, sir. You are fined $1,000. There is a Provincial Offences Act non-reporting probation for a period of four months. Besides the statutory term, the other term is, you are not to occupy the seat of any motor vehicle. As well, sir, during those four months, you are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle on any street, road, highway or other public place. How much time does he need to pay the fine and the surcharge, counsel?

¶ 26  MR PENNEY:  Four months, please, Your Honour.

¶ 27  THE COURT:  Four months is granted to pay both.

¶ 28  MR PENNEY:  Okay; thank you.