If you’re charged with a 3rd DUI offence in Toronto, you have already been through the criminal justice system twice so you know more or less what to expect.
However, with a 3rd offence, it’s much tougher for your lawyer to argue that your behaviour was an honest mistake.
The Crown prosecution will likely try to paint a picture of habitual behaviour that presents a grave risk to the public.
Stronger punishments will be sought in order to deter further offences. This may include a longer period in jail.
As an experienced DUI lawyer who knows the legal system in Toronto inside out, Alan Pearse will build a defence to help you avoid the most serious consequences.
Consequences for DUI 3rd Offence
The Canadian Criminal Code states that impaired driving is when a person “operates” or “controls” a motor vehicle while his/her ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug.
There is actually no such thing as “DUI” in Toronto, though the term is widely used.
Impaired driving has been a federal criminal offence since 1921 and, in recent times, the law has clamped down on repeat offenders.
Almost every person convicted of impaired driving will end up with a criminal record but with a skilled lawyer, the immediate and longer-term consequences can be mitigated.
When compared with a first or second offence, a conviction for a DUI 3rd offence usually results in longer jail time and other harsher penalties and restrictions.
If you commit the 3rd offence within five or ten years of the second offence, the penalties will be harsher still.
Crown prosecutors will attempt to demonstrate that you are a persistent threat to other motorists and road-users. They will try to persuade the judge to impose the heaviest penalties allowable under the law.
The federal laws dictate the following mandatory minimum penalties (if nobody was injured):
- A fine of $1,000 (though it is likely to be considerably more)
- 120 days in jail (maximum sentence 10 years)
- 36-month driving prohibition
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.
Your precise punishment will depend on the circumstances of your case, your criminal background, and local regulations across Toronto.
For instance, your fine is likely to be $5,000 or above rather than the federal mandatory minimum.
However, there are also longer-term consequences of a DUI 3rd offence conviction to consider, including:
- A lifelong criminal record
- Restrictions on employment
- Ineligibility for visas and travel
- Immigration restrictions (for non-Canadian citizens)
With strong legal representation from Alan Pearse, there is a possibility of case dismissal or a more lenient punishment that can help you avoid the most serious consequences.
Prohibitions and Suspensions for 3rd DUI Offence
In Toronto, you can be charged for any of the following offences related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs:
- Impaired driving
- Over 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood (Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC)
- Failure to provide a breath sample
You will face criminal charge(s) and your local province will also suspend your driver’s licence.
For a DUI 3rd offence, you may receive up to a 10-year suspension or it can even be suspended for life.
If your license is restored, you may face a lifetime enrollment in the ignition interlock program.
For impaired driving charges, it is sometimes possible to receive a “hardship license” that allows you to carry on driving under severe restrictions – but this is close to impossible for a 3rd offence.
Defences for DUI 3rd Offence
There’s no getting around the fact that a DUI 3rd offence is very tough to defend.
It requires a skilled and persuasive DUI lawyer if you are to avoid serious time in jail and other major consequences.
This makes it essential to contact your lawyer as soon as possible after you are arrested.
Do not say anything that could harm your defence. Ask to speak to your lawyer and do not be tempted to answer police questions even if you know that you were driving over the limit.
We 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 the police respected your rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when you were arrested and charged
Your charter rights are a good starting point for any defence.
Mistakes by police officers in following the correct procedure may lead to the court denying the use of certain evidence. This can, in turn, result in your case being dismissed and charges dropped.
DUI 3rd offence and in need of legal advice?
Alan Pearse has successfully contested countless DUI cases for repeat offenders in Toronto.
As an established DUI lawyer, he can help you defend your charges by exploring all possibilities and by liaising closely with the prosecution.
If your case goes to trial, Alan Pearse will vigorously defend your interests.
For an assessment of your case and advice on the suggested next steps, get in touch with Alan and his team.