Impaired Care and Control and Impaired Operation are very similar offences. A slight difference, exists between “operation” and “care or control” as defined in s. 253 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
According to section 253(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada: Everyone commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not, while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.
The offence of impaired driving/operation consists of operating a vehicle while your ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or drug. With this offence, it is important to note that it does not necessarily involve alcohol and you may be charged with impaired driving if your ability to drive is impaired by drugs as well. It is also important to note that this offence focuses on the effect of alcohol or other substances on your ability to drive rather than how much you have in your system.
In order to prove this charge, the Crown has to show that the your ability to drive was impaired. Often, this is done through observations of witnesses focusing on the driving, balance, speech, and/or other signs of impairment.
The offence of impaired care and control on the other hand is slightly more complicated. Opposite to impaired operation, care or control of a motor vehicle does not require you to have the intent to drive.
This is best described as a situation where a person performs some act or series of acts involving the use of the car, its fittings, or equipment whereby the vehicle may unintentionally be set in motion.
For example, you may be charged with impaired care and control if you are sitting parked in the driver’s seat with the car engine running. This is because there is a risk that the vehicle could be set in motion even though you may not have an intention to drive.
If you are charged with one of these offences, it is important to note that your case does not end there. Impaired care and control defences can include many issues such as incorrect collection of evidence, the right to speak with a lawyer, and the right to be tried in a reasonable amount of time.
The onus is on the police and prosecution to prove the you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the Judge. Drinking and driving offences including impaired driving and impaired care and control are technical and complex which is why it is important to be represented by an experienced criminal defence lawyer if you intend to fight them.