DUI Charges Overview
Impaired driving is a very tricky and complicated charge because it includes a wide range of different criminal offences. Collectively known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), it includes:
- Impaired driving
- The “Over 80” Rule
- Refusing to provide a breath sample
- Impaired care or control
Suspected drunk drivers are asked to take a roadside breath test so their blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) can be checked. If the concentration is less than 50 milligrams in 100 milliliters of blood, then the result is a pass. A warn status is between 50 to 80 milligrams. If you have over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, then you fail the test, upon which you may be charged.
The following sections cover different aspects of drunk driving.
Impaired Driving Charge Consequences
If you are faced with a charge of impaired driving, don’t limit your options. An expert criminal lawyer can assess your situation and advise you on appropriate defenses. Don’t give up and automatically enter a guilty plea to a charge of impaired driving.
The consequences may be very serious, you will temporarily lose your right to drive which may result in your inability to work. Also, your insurance premiums will rise exponentially if convicted of an impaired driving offence.
For persons accused of impaired driving, the minimum penalty is a fine of $1,000, coupled with a twelve-month driving prohibition. Whether or not you consent to providing a breath sample, you will still be charged.
Over 80 Charge Consequences
In Ontario, since the new measures were enacted in May 2009, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 50 to 80 milligrams in 100 milliliters of blood can be arrested for drinking and driving.
First-time offenders are given a three-day license suspension, as well as a $150 fine. If you are caught again within five years, you get a one-week suspension and will have to attend an alcohol education program, as well as pay a $150 fine. If you get caught a third time, your license will be suspended for a month and you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car for six months.
Your insurance company will also consider you a high-risk driver, and will likely increase your insurance premiums. Insurance rates of over $10,000 a year for at least five years is not uncommon. Sometimes, insurance companies will even cancel your insurance policy altogether.
Impaired Driving Charge Process
What Happens After a Person Is Charged by the Police?
Normally, the police will provide an accused with a Promise to Appear (which may have a requirement to attend for fingerprints and a photograph on a specific future date). If an accused fails to attend for his photographs and fingerprints, this will result in a further criminal charge.
If a person has already been convicted of a related drinking and driving offence, a Notice of Application for Increased Penalty will be served on the accused. By serving the Notice of Application for Increased Penalty, the Crown is able to rely on a previous conviction in support of a mandatory minimum jail term and lengthier driving prohibitions.
Michael Kruse is a leading Ontario DUI lawyer with over 30 years of trial experience practicing in the areas of impaired driving and criminal law.
Finally, a 90-day administrative licence suspension, the breath certificate, and a computer printout of the intoxilyzer readings are usually served on the accused at the time he or she is charged.
The above paperwork—which is provided to or served upon an accused—is only the “tip of the iceberg.” In order to properly process an impaired driving or exceed charge, the police must prepare extensive and detailed paperwork, including criminal information, a summary of the incident, detailed police and civilian witness statements, detailed police notebooks, a Certificate of Analysis, and an Alcohol Influence Report. Most police forces now also videotape the breath test procedure and the cell and hallway video at the police station. This package of paperwork and videotapes is known as “disclosure.”
What Kruse Law Can Do for You
Once Kruse Law Firm has been retained, one of our Ontario DUI lawyers will immediately order disclosure from the Crown Attorney and receive the extensive paperwork and documentation, which the police should have filled out in and around the time of the arrest.
Most Crown Attorneys offices across Ontario strive to provide the initial disclosure package to defence counsel no later than the date of the accused’s first appearance. There is often missing disclosure in the initial package, which defence counsel will have to order from the Crown.
‘Intake’ or Court ‘Remand’ Process
In most jurisdictions, there is an initial ‘intake’ or court ‘remand’ process of approximately three months. During this three-month period, there will be a first appearance in front of a Justice of the Peace in the Ontario Court of Justice. This first appearance will usually be followed by multiple court appearances in front of a Justice of the Peace.
Most jurisdictions, with a few exceptions, will not even require the accused to attend any of the ‘remand’ court appearances if the accused has retained counsel and files what is called a ‘designation’ (basically a form signed by the accused stating he or she has retained a particular lawyer). An Ontario DUI lawyer from our office will attend on your first appearance and file the designation on your behalf, and you will not have to experience the stress of attending criminal court until your trial or disposition date.
During the three-month remand period, our firm will review the disclosure, do any necessary legal research, meet with you and your witnesses, provide you with an opinion as to your odds of winning and whether you should proceed to trial or negotiate a resolution, meet with the Crown Attorney to discuss the case in detail and receive their position, attend multiple court appearances to report the progress of the case to a Justice of the Peace, and possibly meet with a Judge, with a Crown Attorney present, to discuss your case (this meeting is called a judicial pre-trial).
By the end of the typical three-month remand period, most jurisdictions (some provide more or less time than three months) will require us to set a trial date or a date for a guilty plea. Typically, trial dates will be set anywhere from six to 12 months from the first appearance or longer, depending on how busy the jurisdiction is and how much of a trial backlog there is.
If you decide to plead guilty and you potentially qualify for the Ministry of Transportation’s Stream A Ignition Interlock Program, you are required to enter the guilty plea no later than 90 days after your arrest in order to qualify for the program. The Ministry of Transportation claims the stream A deadline/limitation period to plead guilty is 90 days. However, in practice, the deadline appears to be 89 days.
DUI Lawyer in Ontario
Because there are so many things to be considered, Impaired Driving cases, Over 80 cases, and Impaired Care and Control cases are very complicated and require the aid of an experienced criminal lawyer.
When consulting with a criminal lawyer, it is important to be prepared to answer a number of questions, such as the circumstances of the charges, the strength of the case and what the Crown will need to prove guilt, any statements that you may have released, any possible defences, and also if you are a Canadian citizen. Don’t enter a guilty plea before you have all the facts! Contact Kruse Law Firm today to start your free online consultation with an impaired driving lawyer. You can also read more about DUI and Impaired Driving charges in our library or browse through our Impaired Driving videos.
FAQs About Impaired Driving
FAQs About DUI Criminal Trial
Impaired Driving Resources