There are a lot of little things about impaired driving law that people may not know about. Maybe you don’t know that you don’t have to blow over .08 on a breathalyzer to be charged with impaired driving—in most provinces now, the ‘warn range’ where you can be charged for impaired driving falls between .05 and .08. Or, maybe you don’t know that you can be drunk and passed out in front of the wheel of your vehicle and you can still be charged with drunk driving, even with the car in park and the engine turned off.
It’s called being in ‘care and control’ of your vehicle, and it’s a real part of the Criminal Code of Canada impaired driving law. If you’re skeptical about whether people are actually charged with impaired driving after being caught in care and control of a vehicle, just ask the Hamilton man who is now facing impaired driving charges after being found asleep at a red light.
Police came upon the man at 3 am when someone called in a drunk driver. He was sound asleep in the driver’s seat with his foot on the brake and the engine still running. Once police shook him awake, he was given a breathalyzer and arrested on suspicion of impaired driving.
No, he didn’t have to be actually driving the vehicle to be charged, and according to Ontario impaired driving laws, to have care and control of a motor vehicle is to be capable of any action that could put that vehicle in motion. Even if you’re just sleeping off a night of drinking, if you’re in front of the wheel or your keys are in the ignition, you could be seen as having the intent to drive.
To avoid a care and control charge, the best option for any driver is to not go near your car after drinking. if you need to sleep off the effects of alcohol, leave your vehicle where it is and call a cab to go home.