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Many people are surprised to discover that impaired driving charges (typically referred to as DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated) are considered “criminal” offences under the law. In fact, many people in Ontario only discover this fact when they have been arrested for an impaired driving offence and find themselves faced with the possibility of a permanent criminal record.
If you find yourself in this situation due to an error of judgement or other reason, you should quickly seek the services of a criminal lawyer who can help you navigate through the complicated legal issues of your case in search of the most advantageous outcome possible. Depending upon the details concerning your case, this could be a dismissal of charges, not-guilty finding, reduced charges, or mitigation of the severity of the charges and/or resultant penalties. The Toronto-area’s Mass Tsang law firm has a dedicated team of highly skilled and experienced criminal lawyers well versed in helping their clients mount a successful DUI defence.
If you try to defend yourself against impaired driving charges in Toronto or anywhere in Ontario without the skilled legal counsel of a DUI lawyer, you risk severe consequences beyond the threat of a permanent criminal record. This is especially true should this be a second, third, or subsequent offence, each of which comes with increasingly harsh penalties—including jail time—if convicted.
Consider that along with the possible criminal record, a guilty finding on a first offence may subject you to:
Subsequent DUI convictions result in significantly harsher penalties, including long-term or lifetime license suspensions, bigger fines, and the greater likelihood of receiving jail time.
A criminal lawyer experienced with all elements of Ontario’s impaired driving laws can strategize a defence designed to produce the most favorable outcome based upon the specific elements relating to your case. Every alleged DUI case raised in the Ontario court system is unique, with their distinct differences presenting a vast range of options relating to the successful mounting of a defence.
For example, if your case resulted from a breathalyzer reading registering near the legal .08 threshold, it may significantly expand the option of questioning the validity of the reading. Or, if the police allege impaired driving based on drugs, there could easily be reason to raise the validity of Drug Recognition Evaluation screening or perhaps the results of fluid testing. And then there’s “care and control”—charges laid even when you may not have even been driving the vehicle in question. This nebulous area of DUI law tries to establish DUI guilt even if not driving, based on the possibility that you might have been able to drive while impaired, and is typically worth a detailed examination of relevant facts.
Your legal rights are also a key component of strategizing a defence. Was the stop and evaluation of your driving state legally justified, and did police follow all proper procedures during their subsequent investigation of your alleged impairment and your arrest? Or, if you were charged with “failure to provide” or refuse a roadside screening or breathalyzer test, perhaps you had legal reasons for doing so.
And, of course, protection of your charter rights is a key element in evaluating your defence strategy—were you advised of these rights and given the correct opportunity to contact your DUI lawyer?
Whatever DUI-related charges you may be facing in the Toronto area, your first step should be to reach out to the skilled criminal lawyers at Mass Tsang. After you share all relevant details concerning your arrest and upcoming court case, we conduct a detailed examination of all pertinent facts and work with you to determine the best approach for achieving the desired outcome. This approach could challenge the legality and justification of the arrest or police failure to protect your legal rights during the arrest. It could challenge the basis used for determining impairment, whether flawed breathalyzer reading, invalid fluid sample, or faulty drug recognition evaluation. Or it could be a matter of pushing a full-court press to prove your innocence of the charges. Whatever the case, you are our client and we are dedicated to finding a reasonable strategy to help you best surmount the challenges of being charged with impaired driving.
Please note that our success in fighting DUI charges is dependent upon you being forthcoming with all details relating to the arrest. Every possible detail, no matter how apparently insignificant, could prove instrumental in your successful defence. If you are concerned about embarrassing details or confidential issues about your arrest becoming public, know that your interactions with Mass Tsang DUI attorneys are held in the strictest confidence. And should any such details prove to be a crucial component of your defence, our lawyers always discuss disclosure options with you prior to introducing such to the court, or otherwise making it part of the public record.
Bottom line, our priority is you! Mass Tsang is committed to working with you in order to:
If you’ve been arrested for impaired driving in the greater Toronto area, consult with the experienced DUI lawyers at Mass Tsang today. With one of the highest success rates in battling DUI charges in the Toronto court system, our partnership with you could prove invaluable.
DUI is the acronym for “driving under the influence” of alcohol and/or drugs and is used to refer to all elements of Ontario’s impaired driving laws.
When the police have a reasonable suspicion that you have been driving while impaired based on any number of roadside tests and observations, they will place you under arrest and bring you to the police station for further testing. While you do have the right to have a lawyer present for such testing, refusal to perform a test or provide fluid samples carries the same penalties as a DUI.
Because it is a criminal charge, a guilty finding can lead to a permanent criminal record, among the many other consequences.
License suspension, fines, administrative fees, increased insurance premiums, possible jail time, criminal record, and other life-disrupting factors.
Under certain conditions you may be able to receive the reinstatement of a suspended license. A DUI attorney may be able to help you qualify.
Absolutely! The highly skilled criminal lawyers at Mass Tsang have successfully defended 1,000s of Toronto-area DUI clients.
In Canada, if an officer sees someone driving erratically on the road, they legally have the right to pull that driver over and evaluate them for impaired driving. If the police officer has reasonable suspicion the person driving is impaired by drugs or alcohol, they can conduct a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer test or both. Due to the seriousness of the charge, any time someone is charged with a DUI they should hire an impaired driving lawyer in Toronto immediately.
If the person fails either test, they will be charged with a DUI. If the person should refuse to take the test, they can be charged with a refusal, which basically amounts to the same charge as a DUI. If someone is unable to provide a breath sample (in a serious accident when there are injured victims), a blood test will be administered at the request of the police. In Canada, a DUI charge will occur when a person's blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or more. This means that there is 80 mg of blood for every 100 ml of blood in your body.
When this occurs, you will be charged and convicted of DUI, and you will be charged a minimum of $1000 for your first offense, and are prohibited from driving for one year. Repeat offenses rise quickly in severity.
What happens next when you have been charged with a DUI?
When you are charged with a drinking and driving offence, it can feel overwhelming. When you have been charged with this with a DUI, you have already:
The very first thing to realize is that impaired driving charges are laid on thousands of Canadians every year. Toronto impaired driving lawyers will tell you that DUI's are actually one of the most common criminal offences committed by Canadians. You are not alone in this process - despite how isolated or embarrassed you may feel.
However, drinking and driving is a serious criminal charge, and it is important to act quickly to ensure you have the very best possible result for your case. With strict timelines surrounding drinking and driving charges, it is essential to see an impaired driving lawyer as soon as possible.
It is imperative to speak to a lawyer promptly in impaired driving cases. The Criminal Code imposes a mandatory minimum sentence for all first time impaired driving offences, which is a $1,000.00 penalty as well as a one year drivers license suspension followed by a one year and you will only be allowed to drive your vehicle if it is equipped with an Interlock device.
However, as mentioned above, if you plead guilty within 90 days of being charged you may qualify for a reduced driver license suspension with the condition that you have an Interlock machine installed in your car for nine months following the mandatory three month suspension. In some situations, this may be the most favorable course of action.
Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device is a device that conducts a breath screening that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects that there is a blood alcohol concentration over a limit of 0.02 or 20mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. The device is located near the driver's seat and is connected to the engines ignition system.
Before you start your car, you must blow into the device. If your blood alcohol content is over the limit, your vehicle will not start.
Once your car is started, the device will ask you to provide a breath sample at random times while the engine is running. If you do not provide a sample, or if your BAC exceeds the limit, the device will issue a warning, record the event and activate an alarm (that may consist of flashing lights, honking horn) until you turn off the ignition.
There are several ways a person can be acquitted (found "not guilty") of impaired an driving charge. Toronto impaired driving lawyers will be able to determine and advise you on how you should proceed with our case. There is no reason to plead guilty before obtaining proper advice from a knowledgeable impaired driving lawyers.
Keep in mind that even if you already entered a plea, there is no guarantee that you will qualify for a reduced driving suspension and the provisions attached to a reduced suspension are serious and can wind up being expensive. Also, a guilty plea will mean that you will indefinitely have a criminal record, which means you will have significant repercussions for your employment and ability to travel throughout your life.
What should you do and how should you plead?
Many ask. "Should I choose to plead guilty before my first court appearance?" - The short answer is no. Due to tight timelines, there is very little time to decide how you will plead when you have been charged with a DUI. Whether you plead guilty or innocent be sure to speak to an impaired driving layers in your area before your first appearance, the earlier you speak to Toronto impaired driving lawyers and gain proper advice, the better position you will be in when it comes to your case. When you hire a lawyer, you won't have to worry about making the wrong decision or letting important timelines pass by.
"What can impaired driving lawyers do for me if I have been charged with a DUI, refuse to provide a sample or any other DUI related offences?"
There are many things a Toronto DUI lawyer does to help a client who has been charged with a criminal offence. A Toronto impaired driving will reduce the impact a criminal that a charge will have on their client's life as much as possible.
What an impaired driving lawyer will do:
A DUI is severe charge that can stick with you for a very long time. You need a plan properly and seek impaired driving lawyers to keep this incident from derailing your life. Be sure to see an impaired driving lawyer as soon as possible, when all of the details are still vivid in your memory. Avoid getting a criminal record and incurring expensive fines and contact us! To learn more about how we can help you fight your case, contact Toronto DUI today for a free consultation.
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