While any impaired driving charge could severely limit your freedom and options for the future, you face even harsher penalties for a repeat offence. If you're facing a second drunk driving conviction in Ontario, you need a who will fight against the charges and minimise the effect the incident has on your life.
Potential Penalties for a Second DUI in Ontario
The Criminal Code of Canada allows more significant penalties for repeat offenders for various crimes. If you are pulled over and already have a DUI conviction on your record, you could face the following:
- Jail time. A second impaired driving conviction carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. You may also be under court-ordered probation for months or years following your sentence.
- Loss of your driver's licence. A second DUI results in an immediate seven-day licence suspension and a minimum loss of driving privileges of two years (with a potential of up to five years) upon conviction. After your suspension, you will have to pay a fee to reinstate your licence and complete the alcohol education "Back on Track" Program.
- Mandatory ignition interlock. You'll have to install and use an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least three years after your licence is reinstated. You'll be expected to cover the costs of the device and the monthly testing fees out of your own pocket.
- Fines. Financial penalties between $1,000 and $2,000 fine may be ordered at the judge's discretion based on your impairment level.
- A permanent criminal record. A criminal record can damage your reputation and your ability to travel outside of the country or apply to work in your chosen field.
- Increased insurance rates. As a high-risk driver, auto insurance companies might only offer coverage at excessively high rates for five years after you get your licence back (or refuse to insure you outright).
What Will My Sentence Be After a Second DUI in Ontario?
In addition to the increased minimum penalties, judges will examine the particular circumstances of your case when determining your punishment. Some aggravating factors that may be considered during sentencing include:
- Summary conviction or indictment. The Crown may try your case as a summary or an indictable offence. An indictable offence carries a potential for up to 14 years in jail and is reserved for offences with aggravating factors, such as high speeds, reckless driving, or severe intoxication.
- Additional charges from the incident. Your case becomes much more complicated if you committed one or more offences besides driving under the influence, such as BAC over 80 or refusing to submit to alcohol testing.
- The time between offences. The more time that has passed between your first and second DUI, the more favorable the outcome of your case. Jail time can be increased if you commit a second DUI within five or ten years of the first offence.
- Injuries resulting from your actions. A DUI where no one was hurt is far different from an incident involving a crash or bodily harm. If you injure someone while driving under the influence, you face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. If someone was killed as a result of your actions, you could face life imprisonment.
Should I Plead Guilty to DUI Charges?
Given the significant consequences of a conviction, you absolutely should not plead guilty to a second drunk driving offence without speaking to an experienced Ontario DUI lawyer. Pleading guilty will not allow you to put the matter behind you. It's almost certain that the conviction will follow you for the rest of your life.
At Kruse Law Firm, our criminal defence team works aggressively to get the most favorable outcome in your case. If you or a loved one are facing a second DUI charge, we can question the evidence against you and fight for the minimum possible sentencing. Contact us today at 800-699-0806 to arrange your free case review.