Over 80 is a common term for the offence of operating a motor vehicle with more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood. This is over the legal limit and regardless of how well you handle your liquor, it is an offence to drive with concentrations of alcohol in your system above this amount. Unlike the charge of impaired driving, there is no requirement that the alcohol adversely affect driving abilities.
Officers can require that a person suspected of having a high blood alcohol level take a breathalyzer test and/or perform field sobriety tests such as walking in a straight line or reciting the ABC’s backwards. Refusing to submit to these demands can lead to a charge of refusing to comply which carries similar punishments to the over 80 offence. Only one charge of impaired driving or refusal to comply can be laid for a single incident of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This means that if you are found guilty of failure to comply, you cannot also be convicted of over 80 for the same set of circumstances.
The punishments for over 80 can be very severe, especially for repeat offenders or if a person is injured or killed. Depending on the circumstances, life imprisonment is an available sentence. Even with less extreme punishment, such as the fine of $1,000 for a first time offence where no one was harmed, there are other consequences of a conviction for over 80. The Criminal Code mandates that persons convicted of over 80 are prohibited from driving for a certain amount of time. The minimum time limits vary depending on the number of prior impaired driving or over 80 offences. Additionally, insurance companies can and will increase rates or cancel policies.
When deciding on the appropriate level of punishment, judges must consider aggravating factors. In addition to the more general factors considered for all offences, such as the age or status of the victim, the offence of over 80 has a specific aggravating circumstance that can increase a sentence. If the blood alcohol concentration was over one hundred and sixty milligrams of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of blood, or twice the legal limit, the court is likely to hand out a more severe punishment.
Having a lawyer by your side throughout this ordeal can be an enormous help. If you are considering a deal from the Crown, a lawyer can discuss and negotiate the terms and conditions of possible plea agreements. If you decide to proceed to trial, based on the specific facts of your case, an experienced lawyer can make many arguments on your behalf, including the possibility that the breath testing equipment was faulty or malfunctioning. A skilled Toronto DUI lawyer can even help navigate the confusing aftermath of conviction that includes finding insurance and having driving privileges restored.