innocent until
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Michael Engel – DUI Defense Lawyer

What you need to know about Drinking and Driving Law in Canada

The law surrounding drinking and driving offences is extremely technical, complex and ever-changing. These offences are taken extremely seriously by the Crown and the penalties are severe, even for someone who has never had a prior offence. What this means is that most people, even a lawyer not practicing solely in the area of drinking and driving, will most likely assume that there is no way to beat this type of charge. Because the law is so complex, even if someone provides breath samples over the legal limit, refuses to give a sample, or is found to be driving while impaired, they still may be able avoid a conviction and a criminal record.

Each case is unique and the best way to gain perspective on possible defences for your case is to schedule a FREE consultation with DUI Defense Lawyer Michael Engel.

What is considered a DUI in Canada?

In Canada, there is no such thing as a “DUI” or “DWI”. These are American terms commonly used to describe drinking and driving offences. In Canada, there are three different drinking and driving charges you can face: IMPAIRED DRIVING, OVER 80, and/or REFUSE. It is important to understand the difference between the three, as they are each alleging something different, require something different to be proven by the Crown, and are defended in different ways.

If you are convicted of or plead guilty to ANY of these charges, you will automatically get a criminal record, lose your license, be fined a minimum of $1,000, and be prohibited from driving for a period of time. There may also be further consequences, including jail, depending on the circumstances of your case and your criminal and driving record.

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Impaired Driving

You displayed indicia of impairment and/or some form of “bad” driving and were arrested based on these observations. The alcohol consumed, whatever the amount, small or large, impacted you in such a way that you are alleged to have been impaired or “drunk” by that consumption to drive. You can also be alleged to have been impaired by drug.


Over 80

You failed a roadside breath sample then provided two more breath samples at a police station (or R.I.D.E. truck) and the results showed that your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) in your body was more than the legal limit of 80 mg per 100 ml of blood. This charge is NOT alleging you were “drunk”, just over the legal limit.


Refuse Breath Sample

A demand was given for you to provide a breath sample either at the roadside or at the police station and you “refused” to provide that sample(s).


Care and Control

You were found sitting or “occupying” the drivers seat of a motor vehicle while being either “impaired” or having “over 80” mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. This would include simply “sleeping it off” or keeping warm while in the drivers seat.


Have you been charged with impaired driving, DUI — over 80 in the Toronto, GTA or Surrounding areas?

Get a FREE initial consultation with Michael Engel, DUI Lawyer.


Frequently asked questions


Michael Engel has helped hundreds of DUI defendants reach positive resolutions. As an experienced criminal lawyer practicing on both sides of the law, he has worked on many high-profile cases involving every branch of criminal justice, including homicide, sexual assault, fraud, and robbery. He has worked on cases on every level of court in Ontario, including appeals before the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Michael Engel is one of Toronto’s preeminent DUI lawyers because he brings a high level of expertise, knowledge, and almost 40 years of experience in criminal law, and more specifically, drinking and driving cases. Just ask the hundreds of satisfied clients who sought Michael’s legal counsel, and won. If you’ve been charged with an impaired driving offence, you need a DUI lawyer like Michael Engel who has built a career in creating solid defences within the strict confines of impaired driving laws.

Our recent cases

R. v. T.S.

Client arrested after a 911 call relating to a disabled vehicle at the side of the road on a major highway. When police attend the motorist displays obvious signs of impairment and is arrested. At the station he thereupon provides two breath samples both well over twice the legal limit […]


R. v. D.H.

Client had been drinking and was involved in a serious accident after he ran a stop sign on a rural road. Both vehicles were written off and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Police conducted a forensic examination at the scene which involved the warrantless seizure of the “black box” […]


R. v. D.B.

Client arrested due to irregular driving and a failed road side breath test. Taken to the police station where he admits excessive alcohol consumption and provides two breath readings which are twice the legal limit. Charged with impaired driving and over 80.
Case dismissed. Judge accepts […]


R. v. D.C.

Client arrested at the scene of a mid afternoon accident near a construction site in a quiet residential neighbourhood. His car had inexplicably rear ended a parked construction vehicle. Damage was extensive and he may have been knocked out in the collision. A neighbour phoned 911 […]


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About Engel DUI Lawyers

Michael Engel has been practicing since 1981 and has nearly 40 years of experience. He practices solely in the area of drinking and driving cases. He began his career as a Crown Attorney, which gives him a unique perspective as a defence counsel. Michael has a very high success rate, having defended hundreds of drinking and driving cases and obtained either an acquittal at trial or having had charges withdrawn by the Crown.

If there is a way to win your case, he will find that way; and if not, he also prides himself on his honesty in telling people when their case is not in their favour, so as to not waste their money and time. Michael offers flexibility in payment options, offers weekend appointments, and can be reached immediately by phone or email.

People often retain Michael when they have no choice but to win their case. If this is you, contact Michael immediately.


Michael’s defense expertise resulted in all charges against me completely dropped. One witness Officer called to testified in my trail also spoke highly of Michael’s reputation, off the record during trial recess of course. Thank you Michael

Terence Ram

Michael helped me get my Over 80 charge acquitted. I highly recommend Michael. He has years of experience, great attention to detail, and intimate knowledge of the DUI domain. He was terrific consul during a stressful time in my life. Thanks Michael!

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