Even though these two charges would very often be laid together, they mean different things and are to be defended differently.

Impaired driving means that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was at least slightly impaired by alcohol (or a drug, or a combination of both). If you are not an experienced drinker, you may drive poorly even though your blood alcohol level is not above 80mg/100ml of blood (at which point you would be also charged with Over 80mg). Similarly, you may be charged with Impaired based on consumption of drugs (prescription or not), and no Over 80mg charge would be laid.

Conversely, you may be a high tolerance drinker, and could be driving well while you had quite a bit to drink and your blood alcohol content is over 80 mg in 100ml of blood. That scenario would lead to an Over 80 mg charge without the Impaired charge.

To win the case, you need to beat both Over 80 mg and Impaired Driving charges. If the Crown wins either Over 80 mg or Impaired driving or both, you lost. The conviction will be registered only for one of the offences, even if you are convicted of both. However, if you were charged with Refuse Sample and impaired and are convicted of both, then the judge will register both convictions. This is because Refuse Sample is treated as a separate offence that was committed at the time of refuse or fail to provide.

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