Being charged with a 2nd DUI offence in Toronto may lead to considerably harsher treatment by the legal system than a first offence.
With a 2nd offence, it is harder to plead that it was an honest mistake. The Crown prosecution is less likely to be flexible and more likely to push for stronger punishments to deter any further repeat offences.
The system is certainly trying to clamp down repeat offenders.
However, with Alan Pearse working on your defence, you have support from a DUI lawyer with considerable experience in helping those accused of DUI avoid the most serious consequences.
Consequences for DUI 2nd DUI offence
According to the Canadian Criminal Code, impaired driving (or DUI as it’s often termed) is when a person “operates” or “controls” a motor vehicle while his/her ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug.
As a repeat offender, a conviction for a DUI 2nd offence is likely to result in longer jail time, lengthier driving suspensions, and other consequences.
Your situation is even more perilous if you commit the 2nd offence DUI within five or ten years of the first offence – jail time will likely be extended.
Crown prosecutors will try to show that you are a persistent threat to the lives of other people on the road and will push for the strongest penalties possible.
While the law (and interpretation of it) may vary slightly in your province, the federal laws allow for the following minimum penalties:
- A fine of $1,000
- 30 days in jail
- 24-month driving prohibition
- Driving with an ignition interlock device for six months after the day of the sentence (usually for a period of two years if the first offence was within 5-10 years)
If nobody was killed, the maximum jail sentence is two years for a summary conviction and five years for an indictable offence.
Where bodily harm has been caused, the maximum jail term is 14 years. If someone has been killed, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
As well as the possibility of jail time, the longer-term consequences for a DUI 2nd offence include a lifelong criminal record and possible restrictions on employment, eligibility for visas, and travel in the future.
However, with strong legal representation for a 2nd offence charge, there is the possibility of case dismissal or leniency.
Prohibitions and suspensions for 2nd DUI offence
A DUI charge in Toronto will generally result from one of the following:
- 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
In addition to the criminal charge(s) that you face, your local province will suspend your licence. In the case of a DUI 2nd offence, it will be automatically suspended for at least one year.
The actual suspension may be longer than the criminal suspensions you receive. Indeed, it is possible to lose your license permanently.
It is sometimes possible to receive a “hardship license” that allows you to carry on driving under severe restrictions – but these are only granted in exceptional cases.
If you are fortunate enough to be granted a hardship license, an Ignition Interlock Device will be installed in your car for at least one year, at your own expense.
Defences for DUI 2nd Offence
Defending a DUI 2nd offence in Toronto requires considerable legal expertise. It’s very important to contact your lawyer as soon as possible after you are arrested.
Even if you know that you were driving over the limit, resist saying anything that could harm your defence and wait until you can speak to your lawyer.
Alan Pearse will start building your defence by examining the evidence against you, checking all the technical data collected from the scene of the incident and making sure that your civil liberties were not contravened when you were arrested and charged.
You have rights that are protected by the Canadian Constitution and sometimes during DUI arrests, charter rights are breached.
This is often the starting point for your defence as mistakes by police officers can sometimes mean that evidence is not admissible in court and the case must be dismissed.
Sometimes, too, correct protocols were not followed by law enforcement when gathering their evidence.
If your case goes to trial, Alan Pearse will vigorously defend your interests and work with the Crown prosecution to mitigate the consequences for you.
He is an established DUI lawyer and is experienced at negotiating the best outcomes for those charged with DUI offences.
Even if you are convicted of the offence, his influence may be able to reduce the severity of your sentence.
DUI 2nd offence and in need of legal advice?
Alan Pearse has successfully contested countless DUI cases in Toronto and can defend you against 2nd offence charges.
Get in touch with Alan and his team. He will assess your case and advise on the suggested next steps.
Together, we can ensure that a DUI charge does not jeopardize your future any more than absolutely necessary.