Being charged with a DUI in Toronto is very serious. However, if it is your first offence, the prosecution is more likely to be flexible providing you are able to argue a strong case.
Repeat offenders are seldom treated with leniency by the law but, in the case of DUI 1st offence, there is some understanding that people do make honest mistakes, especially when they are young.
Alan Pearse can help you build a strong defence that provides a good chance of avoiding the most serious penalties and may help you escape a lifelong criminal record.
Consequences of a 1st DUI offence
The Canadian Criminal Code defines impaired driving (DUI) as when a person “operates” or “controls” a motor vehicle while his/her ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug.
The consequences of an impaired driving charge in Toronto are very severe, including fines, potential jail time, and license suspension, as well as a lifelong criminal record.
By the letter of the law, a DUI 1st offence can result in:
- A fine of $1,000
- A jail sentence of up to 18 months (if nobody was injured or killed)
- A minimum of one year driving a car fitted with an ignition interlock device
- Drivers’ license suspension (see below information)
- Mandatory attendance at an education and treatment program
These penalties may be greatly increased if bodily injury or death is caused as a result of your impaired driving or if there are other aggravating circumstances (such as an open container of alcohol or drugs in the car or a child present at the time of arrest).
Penalties for repeat offenders are also harsher.
If you are convicted and end up with a criminal record, this can have longer-term consequences on your ability to find employment and travel to some countries (including the U.S.).
If you are not a Canadian citizen, a conviction can also seriously impact your immigration status.
However, with strong legal representation for a 1st offence charge, you have the chance of case dismissal or some degree of leniency.
Prohibitions and suspensions for a 1st DUI offence
A DUI charge in Toronto can actually encompass a variety of alleged crimes, for instance:
- Impaired driving (the usual term for DUI in Toronto)
- Over 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood (Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC)
- Failure to provide a breath sample
A charge for a 1st DUI offence will result in a mandatory 24-hour license suspension separate to the criminal charge(s) you face.
Your local province will usually handle the relevant licence suspensions and these suspensions may be longer than the criminal suspensions you receive.
If your BAC is in the “warn range” (0.05 – 0.08) or you do not pass the Standard Field Sobriety Test, a first DUI offence charge will result in a mandatory three-day roadside licence suspension.
This suspension applies nationwide and cannot be appealed.
If convicted, your license will be suspended for one year.
Depending on your circumstances, if you are a novice driver your licence may be revoked permanently. In this case, you will need to reapply for your licence in order to be able to drive legally again.
Defences for DUI 1st offence
If you are arrested for DUI in Toronto, ask to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Even if you know that your driving was impaired, you are entitled to a defence and that should start as soon as you are stopped.
You also have civil liberties that are protected by the Canadian Constitution.
To successfully contest a DUI case, Alan Pearse will start by examining the evidence against you. He will check all the technical data collected from the scene of the incident.
Sometimes, arresting police officers make mistakes in the process or breach your charter rights when processing the charges against you. At other times, evidence can be questioned or is not admissible in court.
This can result in outright case dismissal if it can be proven.
- If the police breach your rights, the breathalyzer certificate can be excluded
- If the breathalyzer certificate is excluded, in most cases you will win the trial
If your case does go to trial, Alan Pearse is an established DUI lawyer who is used to working with the Crown prosecution to mitigate the consequences for clients.
He will defend your interests vigorously and, even if you are convicted, his influence can reduce the severity of the sentence.
In the worst-case scenario of a prison sentence, there is a chance that it can be served in the community rather than behind bars.
DUI 1st offence and in need of legal advice?
Alan Pearse has successfully contested countless DUI cases in Toronto and can defend you against 1st offence charges.
Get in touch and he will assess your case and be able to advise on the suggested next steps.
Together, we can defeat the charge or at least reduce the consequences for your immediate and longer-term future.