27TH ANNUAL CRIME PREVENTION GUIDE 39 MYTH: MY CAR KEYS WEREN’T IN THE IGNITION SO I CAN’T BE CHARGED. FACT: The law says that you can be charged if you are in care and control. You are presumed to be in care and control if you are in the driver’s seat. Even if you aren’t in the driver’s seat the Crown Attorney can still prove that you were in care and control through other factors. Some people have been found guilty while changing a tire, filling the car up with gas or even phoning a tow. MYTH: THE OFFICER HAS TO GIVE YOU A ROADSIDE TEST. FACT: If the officer believes you to be obviously impaired, he or she does not need to give you a roadside test but can arrest you and take you directly to the station to provide a test. Even if they do not get tests at the station, you may still be convicted of impaired driving in Canada given your physical attributes when the police come across you. Without the BAC readings you just cannot be charged with over 80 (because there is no way to prove the amount of alcohol in your blood). MYTH: A PARDON ERASES ANY PRIOR RECORD. FACT: A pardon erases the criminal conviction, however, it does not affect your Ministry of Transportation record and the MT will suspend your licence based on their records, not your criminal record. MYTH: PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS FROM OTHER PROVINCES OR THE USA DON’T COUNT. FACT: Convictions from New York, Michigan or any Canadian province count towards MT suspensions. Convictions from other provinces also count towards Criminal Code penalties. MYTH: WHEN THE JUDGE SENTENCES ME, THAT IS THE FINAL WORD ON PENALTY. FACT: While the criminal sentence is important, it is not the end of things. The MT has a sentencing scheme that is separate from any criminal punishment. The MT will take your licence for one year on a first conviction, three years on a second conviction and for life on a third. There is a chance you can get your licence back after 10 years after a third conviction, but if caught a fourth time there is no chance to ever get it back. Furthermore, you will have to have the Interlock device installed for the same amount of time as the suspension after the suspension is completed. i.e., one year on a first conviction, three years on a second conviction and for the rest of your life on a third conviction if your suspension is for 10 years. A person’s MT record only rehabilitates after 10 years without a conviction. Strangely, the MT consequences are often more serious than the criminal Court’s consequences. MYTH: THE ONLY COST I FACE IS THE FINE IMPOSED. FACT: The fine imposed is only one cost you face. The loss of your licence, the embarrassment of having the Interlock device installed, the cost of the Interlock device (around $1500/year), the increased insurance rates, having to take the “Back on Track” program and the cost of the program and having a criminal record which can interfere with employment and/or travel, are only some of the costs you face. Some studies have indicated that if you are convicted, the direct financial costs are typically between $20,000 and $30,000. TOP MYTHS ABOUT IMPAIRED DRIVING IN CANADA CONTINUED