impaired driving causing death

Increase In DUI Charges Following Festive R.I.D.E. Campaign in Durham Region

Written on Behalf of Affleck & Barrison LLP

The presents have been unwrapped and the new year’s confetti has been swept away at the same time as Durham Police’s Festive R.I.D.E. campaign has come to an end for 2019.

Durham Police ran their annual seven week R.I.D.E. campaign (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere), which concluded on New Year’s Day 2020.  As a result of this campaign, a grand total of 104 motorists were charged with drinking and driving offences, which was an increase from those charged in 2018.

Prior to the commencement of the Festive R.I.D.E. campaign, Durham Police have charged 644 motorists with impaired driving offences in 2019.  This is a 19% increase in charges from 2018.

CHARGES ARISING OUT OF TRAFFIC STOPS IN 2019

This past year, Durham Police stopped more than 19,000 vehicles during the 2019 R.I.D.E. campaign.  During these traffic stops, 787 motorists were given roadside breath tests.  Of those given breath tests, 86 motorists had their driver’s license suspended for three days for registering in the “warn” range.  There were 104 motorists charged with drinking and driving offences. 

In comparison to the 2018 winter holiday season, less vehicles were stopped by Durham Police this year.  In 2018, 25,110 vehicles were stopped during Durham Police’s annual RIDE campaign and 117 motorists were charged with drinking and driving offences in Durham.  During that year’s R.I.D.E. campaign, 111 motorists had their driver’s license suspended for three days after registering in the “waning range” during their roadside test.

Although the number of motorists charged with impaired driving was lower this year than last year, the rate of impaired charges laid increased.  In 2019, one in every 188 motorists stopped by the police was charged with an offence of drinking and driving in comparison to one in every 214 motorists charged with an offence in 2018.

Durham Police also laid 379 charges for various Highway Traffic Act offences during their traffic stops.  Police also charged 4 motorists with drug offences and 7 motorists with offences related to the Cannabis Act.

ALLEGED IMPAIRED DRIVING ACCIDENTS THAT OCCURRED OVER THE HOLIDAYS

Festive R.I.D.E. campaigns ran throughout the Greater Toronto Area this past holiday season.  Despite these efforts, numerous motor vehicle accidents occurred during the holiday season as a result of suspected impaired drivers in the GTA.

On the evening of December 22, 2019, two international students were killed while walking on the sidewalk when a driver lost control of his vehicle, jumped the curb and plowed down the pedestrians in Scarborough.  A third pedestrian was also injured in the accident and was taken to hospital in serious condition.  Michael Johnson of Pickering was arrested at the scene of the collision and is facing nine charges, including two counts of impaired driving causing death and one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm. 

On the evening of December 26, 2019, a four-vehicle collision occurred on the Queen Elizabeth Way in Oakville.  Four individuals were transported to hospital with minor injuries.  One motorist was taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving.

On December 27, 2019, a man was taken into custody on suspicion of impaired driving after he lost control of his vehicle, veered off the road and slammed into a TTC bus shelter that had people inside of it in the area of Sheppard Avenue and Progress Avenue in Scarborough.   There were no reported injuries as a result of this accident.

On New Year’s Eve, a 68-year-old man died at the scene of a car accident when a suspected impaired driver collided with his Toyota in the area of Elgin Mills Road and Ninth Line in York Region.  Stanley Choy of Whitchurch-Stouffville was charged with impaired driving causing death, operation with a blood alcohol concentration 80 plus causing death, and dangerous operation causing death.

TIPS TO AVOID IMPAIRED DRIVING CHARGES

Impaired driving is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada and the consequences are very serious.  In Canada, the maximum legal blood alcohol concentration for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08).  In Ontario, motorists can face serious penalties if their blood alcohol concentration is found to fall between 0.05 and 0.08, considered the “warn” range.

The legal team at Affleck & Barrison LLP would like to provide the following tips to avoid the consequences of an impaired driving charge:

  • Always have a plan to return home safely, either a designated driver, public transit, calling a friend or loved one, a ride share or taxi, or plan to stay overnight and sleep it off;
  • Tell your family and friends about your plan to get home safely;
  • Do not over-indulge in alcohol or cannabis;
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water;
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether there are any side effects related to driving when using prescription medication;
  • Parents should model safe driving behaviours by avoiding driving a vehicle while impaired; and
  • Be aware that fatigue and stress may affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely.

If you have been charged with a driving offence or have any questions regarding your legal rights, please contact the experienced criminal lawyers at Affleck & Barrison LLP online or at 905-404-1947.  We offer a 24-hour phone service to protect your rights and to ensure that you have access to justice at all times.

Drunk Driver with License Suspension Receives Jail Time after Causing Death of Cyclist

Written on Behalf of Affleck & Barrison LLP

A 23-year old Toronto woman, who has repeatedly been caught driving while impaired, has been sentenced to seven years in prison following an accident that killed a cyclist in June 2015.

On June 11, 2015, after drinking heavily, Darya Selinevich was driving down Finch Ave. W. at almost twice the speed limit. Yong Kang, a 44-year old man, was cycling along the same stretch of road. Selinevich struck Kang, then continued to race through the residential neighbourhood, swerving around a police car and through a red light, before abandoning her vehicle (still running) in a strip mall parking lot and fleeing on foot.

History of Drunk Driving

Selinevich should not have been driving on that June evening. One month prior to Kang’s death, she had received a one-year license suspension for driving while intoxicated.

Selinevich had been driving south on the DVP and was pulled over for speeding. She informed the officer that she was in a hurry to get downtown Toronto as her friend was “contemplating suicide”. The officer informed dispatch of the alleged emergency, and then administered a breathalyzer after detecting a strong odour of alcohol on Selinevich’s breath. The sample registered double the legal limit of alcohol in her system. Selinevich was so intoxicated during that previous incident that she blacked out at a police station.

In addition to the one year suspension, Selinevich was fined $1,200 with the Judge telling her that “thankfully, no one was hurt by your actions”.

At the time of her arrest, Selinevich’s social media accounts depicted several glorifications of dangerous driving and drinking and driving, with several photos depicting a driver holding a wine bottle, a speedometer showing 202.5km/h with the caption “best fuel economy hahaha”, and a R.I.D.E. poster stating that a bus, cab, police car or ambulance were reliable methods of getting home when intoxicated to which Selinevich had added the caption “option 5, my car”.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Leslie Pringle considered Kang’s death, Selinevich’s failure to stop at the scene, her failure to stop for police, her refusal to provide a breath sample, and the fact that she was driving while disqualified from doing so.

In acknowledgement of time she has already served since the June 2015 crash, Selinevich has 4 ½ years left on her 7 year sentence. Justice Pringle told Selinevich, “you are clearly someone who is intelligent. You are clearly someone who has the potential to learn from the horrendous crimes that have been committed in this case…good luck”.

Tougher Recent Sentences for Drunk Drivers

The sentence marks a return to tougher sentencing for drunk drivers. Detective Constable Arthur Lane, of Toronto Police Traffic Services, stated that he’s “glad to see that the sentences now are starting to move up in duration” particularly as they had been lower in previous years, adding that “society’s looking at these cases in a more serious light, and that’s going to be helpful”.

Last March, Marco Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a horrific crash that killed three children and their grandfather north of Toronto. Muzzo had originally faced the potential of life in prison after he pled guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death, and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

In 2009, Lawrence Bush, an unlicensed drunk driver in Ontario, was sentenced to 12 years in prison following a 2009 crash that killed one of his friends, who died after the car they were travelling in landed upside down in a stream. At the time of the incident, Bush had been out on bail for a previous impaired driving charge.

Ontario has some of the toughest laws against impaired driving in the world, and has recently introduced amendments to expand the scope of those laws. An impaired driving conviction can have a significant impact on someone’s life, including jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges, as well as damage to a person’s career and reputation.

If you have been charged with impaired driving, contact our office online or at 905-404-1947 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Oshawa lawyers handling drunk driving and over 80 defence. We have 24-hour phone service for your convenience. Our office is located within walking distance of the Durham Consolidated Courthouse.