Care & Control of a Motor Vehicle While Impaired
It's been a surprise to many people over the years, but you don't have to be actually driving a motor vehicle when your ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or a drug to be convicted of that offence. Simply being able to set the vehicle in motion, engine running or not, may be enough for a conviction because you have care and control of the motor vehicle while you are impaired. If you are impaired, the best advice that I can give in most cases is to stay out of motor vehicles unless you have a sober driver that you are not supervising.
The situation is particularly risky if you are occupying the driver's seat, but it is not impossible to be convicted if you are in another of the vehicle's seating positions. Police will investigate as if you were an impaired driver of a moving vehicle and unless there is evidence to show otherwise, allege that you had the capability of setting the vehicle in motion.
The onus shifts to you to rebut this and then it is up to the court to decide who to believe. If you are not successful in convincing the court that you had no intention or capability to set the vehicle in motion and are convicted, the penalty is the same as if you were found driving. A fine, various prohibitions, 10 penalty points and a criminal record will result.
Another unique circumstance for care and control would involve an impaired instructor of a sober driver who requires the instructor as part of the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP). I have investigated and seen these people convicted of being in care and control while impaired.
You've all heard the slogan "If you drink, don't drive!" and we can now add "If you are impaired, don't park either!"
- Care and Control of a Motor Vehicle While Impaired - Section 253 Criminal Code
- R v Thompsett - Case Law Regarding Care and Control from the BC Provincial Court
- 24 Hour Prohibition - Section 215 Motor Vehicle Act