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dwi DWI D.W.I.: driving while intoxicated

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It is a criminal offence in Canada to drive while impaired by alcohol to the slightest degree.

The words dwi, DWI, D.W.I, driving while intoxicated, are used in United  States DWI Law. The expression "DWI" is not found in the Criminal Code of Canada. Canada has two main substantive DWI criminal offences of impaired operation or care or control and over 80 operation or care or control:

253. Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person's ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or

(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person's blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

Impaired operation or care or control in Canada includes operation or care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft while one's ability to operate is impaired by alcohol or a drug to any degree of impairment. This DWI offence is proven by evidence of bad driving and various indicia of impairment observed such as slurred speech, difficulty with standing walking turning, red glassy glossy bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, odor odour of an alcoholic beverage, complexion flushed face, and performance on physical tests.

The DWI offence of excess blood alcohol or over 80 is usually proven by breath tests that determine blood alcohol concentration using and approved instrument such as a Breathalyzer or Intoxilyzer. Blood tests are used in DWI cases where breath tests are not practical.

Both Canadian DWI offences are federal criminal law offences. The Crown in Canada can prosecute a DWI in either of two ways. DWI offences are hybrid offences in Canada. The Crown may prosecute a DWI offence by indictment (roughly similar to a US felony DWI) or they may prosecute a DWI offence by summary conviction (roughly similar to a US misdemeanor). The local Crown Attorney must elect whether to proceed with the D.W.I. by indictment or by summary conviction. Until he or she elects, the DWI offence is deemed to be prosecuted by indictment. Most Canadian DWI offences are prosecuted by summary conviction.

The usual penalty for a first DWI offence in Canada is a fine.The minimum second DWI offence penalty is 30 days in jail. The minimum penalty for a third DWI is 120 days in jail. There is always a DWI driving prohibition and the local province will suspend a DWI offender's driver's licence.

If a US citizen or other non-Canadian citizen is convicted of a DWI offence in the USA or a dwi offence in any country other than Canada, the DWI offender will be inadmissible to Canada on grounds of criminality, unless rehabilitated, because the DWI offence is deemed to be a Canadian DWI offence and all Canadian DWI offences are deemed indictable (similar to a US felony - see above) unless the Crown has elected to proceed with the DWI offence by summary conviction (which will never have happened because the DWI offense occurred outside Canada. The situation will be different if the DWI offence occurs in Canada and the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction which they normally do.

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DWI, D.W.I., or driving while intoxicated is, however, an important concept used in the United States.

 

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Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor

470 Hensall Circle, Suite 303
Mississauga, Ontario
L5A 3V4

905-273-3322  or 1-877-273-3322

 


Advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the Province of Ontario, Canada only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult a lawyer, solicitor, or attorney in your own jurisdiction. WARNING: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein.