You’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the Greater Toronto Area. You failed the alcotest breath sampe at the scene and then failed the Intoxilyzer breath tests at the police station. So, it’s an open-and-shut case, right? Not so fast. The Toronto DUI defence lawyers at Kruse Law can help. We may be able to exclude or suppress the evidence in your case. This can make it impossible or more difficult for the Crown to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It can often lead the court to dismiss your charges altogether.
It’s important for your defence lawyer to review all available evidence. That way, they can look for opportunities to suppress evidence and improve your chances of beating the charge.
Types of Evidence in a DUI Case
When the Crown prosecutes a DUI charge, it will collect as much evidence as it can against you. Remember that they must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Much of the evidence will come from the police, both in testing and reports. Eyewitness testimony, photos, and videos can be entered into evidence too.
While each case is unique, common examples of evidence in a DUI trial include the following:
- Blood test results measuring blood alcohol content (BAC)
- Breath test results measuring blood alcohol content (BAC)
- Other sobriety tests taken at the scene
- Statements made by the defendant at the scene
- Witness statements
- Dashcam video footage (including from the police car)
- Other photos and videos taken by eyewitnesses
- Police bodycam footage, CCTV, and other videos
- Medical records
- Police report(s) describing why the officer stopped the car, field test results, and other notes
Drivers in Toronto with a BAC over 80 (80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood) can be charged with a DUI. If your DUI charge involves a BAC under 120, the Crown prosecutors may offer a plea to careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act and withdraw the criminal charges. Before you accept a plea bargain deal, explore all your options with our experienced criminal defence team.
Reasons to Exclude Evidence From a Case
To suppress evidence in a Toronto DUI case means to exclude it. The court cannot consider evidence which it has previously excluded when rendering its judgement. The reasons to exclude evidence often have to do with how the evidence was collected. Examples include:
- The police did not have reasonable cause to pull the driver over.
- The police did not give the sobriety test correctly at the scene.
- The breathalyzer tests were not functioning or calibrated correctly.
- The blood samples may have been contaminated.
- The police did not follow the proper process.
- The police gathered evidence improperly or illegally.
- The police violated the accused’s Charter rights and freedoms.
- The Crown takes too long to provide police video evidence to the defence.
Generally, the police and the Crown must disclose all video evidence to the defendant in a timely manner. This might not be right away, but it needs to be early enough that you and your lawyer have suitable time to explore your options. If the Crown does not disclose the video to you soon enough, your lawyer may be able to argue to have the charges withdrawn. You have the right to make informed decisions and have a speedy trial. Delayed disclosure prevents that.
Video evidence can raise reasonable doubt about how the blood testing was conducted. It can also show how the officers behaved at the scene. Did they violate any Charter rights? Did they have just cause for pulling the accused over?
How to Suppress Evidence
In order to suppress evidence, your defence lawyer must file a Charter application to exclude the evidence. This has to happen before your trial begins. Time is of the essence. The sooner your Greater Toronto DUI lawyer can review the evidence, the sooner they can look for evidence to suppress. And the sooner they can file a motion to suppress, the sooner the courts can decide to exclude that evidence from trial.
As part of the Charter application to exclude or suppress evidence, your lawyer needs to explain why the evidence should not be allowed. They must provide proof and make a compelling factual and legal argument argument. The Crown can provide a counter-argument. Then, the defence can rebut this counter-argument. The application to exclude evidencew is for each individual piece of evidence. For example, disallowing the breath tests does not disallow a different blood test.
DUI convictions can carry heavy penalties, including jail time. Penalties are worse upon a second conviction. This is why it is so important to work with a skilled DUI lawyer during the pretrial stage. They might be able to get evidence excluded from your case, which could introduce more reasonable doubt and improve your chances of winning. With a lawyer's help, you might even be able to get your DUI charges dropped completely on a technicality.
Schedule Your Free Consultation
Have you or someone you know been charged with impaired driving in the Toronto area? Call us toll-free at 1-800-699-0806 or fill out our online contact form to set up your confidential consultation. Your initial meeting is free, and there is no obligation. We can assess your Toronto DUI case and lay out your options. Let’s start building the strongest defence together right away. You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers.