When facing a first-time DUI charge, understanding the consequences of pleading guilty or being found guilty is crucial. Let’s explore the repercussions individuals may face in such situations:

Legal Consequences:

  • Mandatory Minimum Fine: The Criminal Code mandates a minimum fine of $1,000 for impaired driving offences and escalating fines of $1,000,  $1,500 and $2,000 for 80 plus blood alcohol charges,  depending on what the  driver’s level of alcohol was at the time of driving or  being in care or control of their vehicle
  • Victim Fine Surcharge: A 30% victim fine surcharge is added to the fine.
  • Driving Prohibition : A judge is required to prohibit the accused from driving for a mandatory minimum 1-year. The judge in their discretion can prohibit a first-time offender from driving from anywhere from 1 to 3 years, depending on the aggravating nature of the offence. 

 

Additional Consequences:

  • Criminal Record: pleading guilty or being found guilty results in a criminal record, impacting employment and community standing.
  • Insurance Rate Increase: individuals will face significant increases in insurance rates, often amounting to thousands of dollars over many years.

 

Stream A Ignition Interlock:

  • This program offers a potential benefit. If an individual pleads guilty within 89 days of being charged, they may apply for Stream A Ignition Interlock.
  • Upon pleading guilty, a new 90-day license suspension begins, during which the person can apply for the Ignition Interlock program.
  • If eligible, the Ministry of Transportation (“MTO”)  allows the installation of an Ignition Interlock device in the individual’s car  three months after the date they pled guilty and are sentenced.  They are then required to drive with the ignition interlock in their car for  nine months to ensure they do not have any alcohol in their system. 

 

Considerations:

  • If you are charged with impaired driving, DUI or refusing a breath demand, your licence is automatically suspended by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation  for 90 days commencing on the date you were arrested/charged. 
  • Not being able to drive for  an additional 90 days after pleading guilty is part of the process.
  • The overall cost of a DUI conviction, including fines, MTO fees and repercussions,  MTO  Back on Track program, and motor vehicle insurance increases, will amount to significant financial repercussions in the tens of thousands of dollars

 

Legal Assistance:

  • Retaining a lawyer will be beneficial to negotiate the best possible outcomes, such as negotiating a guilty plea to careless driving, having the charges withdrawn, minimizing fines, avoiding jail terms, or   exploring options like the Stream A Ignition Interlock program.
  • Negotiations with the Crown, including fine amounts and Stream A Ignition Interlock program eligibility, can be complex and will benefit from legal expertise.
  • Many cases can also be won at trial and only an experienced DUI lawyer will understand if your case is winnable and how to present the best possible defence at trial.  

 

 

Video Transcription:

I’m here to talk about the consequences or repercussions of pleading guilty or being found guilty to a first-time DUI.Clients come into my office and they’re often very stressed and they’re looking for answers. And one of the first questions they asked is “what am I facing here?” So let’s take a typical example of someone who provided a reading of 120 to say 150 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood or was found guilty of impaired driving or pled guilty.

In this situation, first of all under our Criminal Code, they’re facing a mandatory minimum, a fine of $1,000. That’s the minimum. They’re also a victim fine surcharge on top of that of 30%. A judge is required to take their license also for a minimum of one year. Now, that can be up to three years, it could be two years, it could be three years. That’s often negotiable on your standard, you know, first-time DUI. You can often achieve a one-year.

The Ministry is also going to take your license for the same one-year period. They have a concurrent program where they also take your license. But, you’re facing far bigger repercussions than that. You’re facing the stigma of a criminal record which could affect your employment, and you know, stigma in the community. You’re also facing you know, very serious increases in your insurance rates. There’s been, if you go on, on websites, you’ll find this could be in thousands of dollars over, over a number of years. So, it’s quite a penalty you’re facing in this regard.

Now, one of the things that the promises brought in, which is a benefit to you is what’s called Stream A Ignition Interlock. And this is what that means, well, first of all, when you’re first charged, you’re going to lose your license for 90 days. That’s a 90-day administrative license suspension. There’s no negotiation for that. It’s automatic. The police officers going to take your license right away for 90 days.

You’re going to have a court appearance say six weeks from that and receive your disclosure. If you decide to plead guilty, you may want to take advantage, or try to take advantage of what’s called Stream A Ignition Interlock. That means, from the date you plead guilty, if you plead guilty within 89 days of the time you are charged, then the government may allow you to drive with an Ignition Interlock on your vehicle.

So, what’s going to happen is you plead guilty, say you plead guilty at day 77 after you’re charged. You plead guilty on that day, you’re going to lose your license for another 90 days and during that time period you apply for Stream A Ignition Interlock. And what happens there is, is if you qualify, if you sign up for the back on track program, you qualify for interlock with the Ministry of Transportation, they’re going to allow you to put a device in your car for nine months. So, you can drive for nine months.

So, let’s have a quick recap. You lose your administrative license suspension for 90 days. If you plead guilty within that time period, a new suspension starts which is a minimum of one year. Within 89 days, you get the, you have to apply and get the Ignition. You’ll plead guilty, get your interlock on your car but you’re going to lose your license for another 90 days and then be able to drive with a device in your car that you provide a breath sample into. So, there’s a lot of repercussions. Saying there’s, if you go on these websites, I’ve seen estimates as much as twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars that a DUI is going to cost you over the years including of course excessive insurance rates.

So, it often pays and it will pay to consider retaining a lawyer, you know, to negotiate the best possible outcome for you. Because these things have to be negotiated. That the fine amounts whether a judge will allow you to apply for a Stream A Ignition Interlock. So, you really should consider retaining a lawyer to get try and get the best outcome possible.

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