A DUI Can Significantly Affect Your Life
There are two groups of offences under the Criminal Code that are often colloquially referred to as “DUI”, Driving “Over 80”, “Driving Under the Influence” or “Impaired Driving.” They are:
1) Operating a conveyance while impaired. This means driving (or having care and control*) of a conveyance while your ability to do so is impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two; and
2) Having an excess amount of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two in your blood within two hours ceasing to operate (or having care and control*) of a conveyance. The basis for these offences is that there was excess alcohol, drugs or both in the person’s blood as determined by samples taken at the police station some time after the offence.
These offences are often charged together and either can significantly impact your life. Here is a run down of what to expect if you are convicted of one of these offences in Ontario.
If found guilty of a first offence, you will be subject to a mandatory fine, a mandatory driving prohibition, and to the Ministry of Transportation requirements which include an educational program and the costly interlock device to get your licence back.
Before you will be able to drive again, you will have to participate, to pay for and to complete the Back on Track Course. The fee for the program is $634.00. It consists of an assessment session, education and treatment workshops, and a follow-up interview 6 months after the workshops are completed.
Thereafter you will be subjected to the costs associated with the installation and rental of the interlock device and increased insurance premiums. Most significantly for many people, you will be saddled with the permanent effect and prejudice arising from having a criminal record.
If convicted of a second offence under this regime, a judge will be required to send you to jail for at least thirty days regardless of the personal circumstances of your case.
You will be subject to a 2 year driving prohibition, and a 3 year license suspension and will have to use an ignition interlock system for a period of three years. You’ll be required to cover the costs of the equipment installation and the monthly rental fees again. All of this is in addition to the mandatory participation in the Back on Track Course.
If convicted a third time, the jeopardy increases and a judge will be forced to impose a minimum jail sentence of 120 days. Additionally, you will be subjected to driving prohibition of at least three years under the Criminal Code and a life-time suspension from the MTO if the prior convictions were registered after September 30, 1993.
*Care and Control- Not driving the vehicle when the police stopped you? That may not matter since it is also a criminal offence to be in “care and control” of the conveyance under the offences in section 320.14 of the Criminal Code. The Crown can either benefit from a shortcut in the law, or it will have to prove that there was a realistic risk of setting the conveyance in motion beyond a reasonable doubt.
Refusing or Failing to Comply with a lawful demand
If you either failed or refused to comply with a demand to provide a breath sample you will also be charged. These cases arise when one pretends to attempt to provide a breath sample or completely refuses to do so. The consequences of these convictions are virtually identical to those listed above, except that the minimum fine is greater. To secure a conviction the Crown will have to prove that the demand was indeed a lawful one and that the refusal was unequivocal beyond a reasonable doubt.
Clearly, being charged with any of these offences can be extremely stressful.
Once charged with a DUI, time is of the essence. Dealing with the matter quickly is vital to your defence. You will want an experienced lawyer, to immediately gather and assess the evidence to determine whether your Charter rights have been adhered to.
This is a very specialized and complex area of law that requires a lot of experience and knowledge. To avoid the grave consequences, you will want a lawyer, who is well versed in the nuances of the law and potential defences available. At Foord and Crawford, we have vast experience dealing with these cases at trial as well as on appeal. We know all available defences, potential weaknesses in the Crown’s case and legal and constitutional arguments to advance in your favour. Our lawyers have been chosen year after year to educate other lawyers and judges on the areas of the law.
You need a team of lawyers that understands how these cases are decided and how these cases can be won.