If you are convicted of impaired driving in Toronto, there is a good chance that you will serve a period of probation rather than jail time.
An experienced lawyer may even be able to help you arrange probation if you are convicted of a second or third offence.
A DUI probation, as it is sometimes called (though this is a U.S. term that doesn’t actually exist in Canadian law) means that you serve your sentence in the community rather than behind bars. It is seen as an attempt to rehabilitate you.
The probation period is determined by a judge, who usually also imposes a series of restrictions that you must follow in order to retain probation status. These will vary according to whether you are given a conditional discharge with probation or a probation order.
A DUI probation violation occurs when you contravene the terms of your probation and this can lead to serious consequences, including actual jail time.
Alan Pearse can help you escape the most serious consequences of a probation violation with his vast experience in handling similar cases across Toronto.
What constitutes DUI probation violation?
An impaired driving probation violation is a criminal offence as laid out in the Canadian Criminal Code.
The terms of your probation must be followed to the letter as a single deviation may be considered a breach of probation and it can be revoked.
There are three basic requirements common to all probation periods:
- You are required to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”
- You must “appear before the court when required to do so by the court”
- You must inform the court or your probation officer, in advance, of any change in your name, address, or employment
Violating any of these stipulations, like failing to appear in court, possessing illicit drugs or committing another crime, or changing address without informing your probation officer, are serious breaches that can result in the immediate revocation of probation.
However, it’s not that simple. The judge will usually add extra terms that you must abide by at all times and these can be more difficult to follow.
A violation may occur, for instance, if you consume alcohol (if the terms of your probation forbid it) or fail to report to your probation officer.
Consequences for DUI probation violation
A probation violation could mean that on top of your impaired driving conviction, you have a second criminal conviction.
If the court finds that you breached the terms of your probation without “reasonable excuse”, you can expect more severe consequences than the original DUI charge in itself.
It can be treated as an indictable offence punishable by up to two years in prison and this is certainly not something that you should attempt to defend on your own. Legal representation is essential.
The Crown prosecution has three options available when dealing with your case:
- Charge you with an indictable offence
- Charge you with a summary offence
- Withdraw the charges
Obviously, the third option is the most preferable and the first option is the least preferable. Representation from an experienced lawyer will improve your chances greatly of avoiding the first option.
The final decision of the judge will likely depend on your criminal history (if any), the nature of the original offence, and the circumstances involved in your probation violation. Judges have a wide range of discretionary powers in such cases and that is why a persuasive and influential lawyer is so invaluable.
Alan Pearse can help you avoid the worst-case scenario (jail time) and may be able to get the charges dropped entirely.
Defences for DUI probation violation
If you fail to follow the rules and provisions set out in the probation order, you may be re-arrested.
Your defence attorney may have to attend your probation violation hearing and present evidence to persuade the judge to release you from the court while the probation violation case is pending.
Your attorney may attempt to explain why the violation occurred, point out that there were good reasons for the violation, present evidence why the violation was unavoidable or even dispute that a violation did actually occur.
Unintentional probation violations are common and your lawyer can often frequently argue that you made an honest mistake.
Legal counsel may be able to help you obtain an extension to fulfill a requirement of your probation and get the probation period reinstated.
DUI probation violation and in need of legal advice?
Alan Pearse has successfully contested DUI probation violations across Toronto.
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.