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What is Considered a DUI in Canada?

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:

  • Spent numerous hours at the police station in custody
  • Had your vehicle impounded for several days
  • Are now facing a 90 day license suspension
  • Have had to pay expensive towing and impound fees
  • Feel upset and guilty after what has happened
  • Are concerned about your upcoming court appearance

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:

  • Meet the client and discuss and advise them on their best options
  • Review all evidence (to provide a "disclosure") provided by the Crown Attorney office
  • Review the evidence to understand the client's version of events
  • Assess legal arguments and possible defence to the charge(s);
  • Making additional requests for evidence that is not provided in the first instance;
  • Attend Court appearances on behalf of the client;
  • Engage in discussions/negotiations with the prosecutor for the file
  • Seek to have charges withdrawn, or reach an acceptable resolution for the client without having to attend a trial
  • Attend the negotiation process at pre trial before a judge
  • Trial preparation: examinations, legal argument, and client preparation
  • Trial attendance: seek to have charges dismissed/reduced by the judge
  • Sentencing submissions: (a person is found guilty or pleads guilty) to mitigate the sentence

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.