A DUI charge is a serious offence in Ontario and can be difficult to remove from your criminal record if convicted. You should not feel intimidated, however, as there are ways to build a strong case for yourself in certain circumstances.
Whether you hire a private criminal defence lawyer or turn to a public attorney, you have a right to protect yourself if you have been charged with a DUI in Ontario. You should never feel like you are on your own in handling this issue.
Semyonov Law will work with you to get the best outcome for your case. We’re an affordable DUI attorney team based out of Newmarket and are your first point of contact for legal aid. Our team of legal professionals will answer any questions you might have and provide all the information you need for your case.
So, what exactly is a DUI and what can you do to protect yourself? We got the answers you want right here and can give you a good run-down.
What’s a DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and is also known as impaired driving. Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation defines it as operating a vehicle with your ability compromised by consuming alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both substances.
Such vehicles are not exclusive to automobiles and include trucks, boats, snowmobiles, or any other off-road vehicles. In the same manner, the use of cannabis, prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medicine is also prohibited.
DUI charges are determined by your level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and certain levels can get you in big trouble. If a police officer determines that you are intoxicated after an initial test, you can be charged with severe consequences.
Who is Affected?
Impaired driving not only affects yourself but many others that you are close with or do not know at all. MADD Canada reports that between 1,250 and 1,500 lives are affected by DUIs and causes around 64,000 injuries in the country each year. They also estimate that about 12.5 million impaired driving trips are taken annually.
Young drivers can be particularly vulnerable because of their minimal driving experience, inadequate judgement, or hasty decision-making. Approximately 45% of youth crash deaths are alcohol-related and one in three casualties in such incidents is under the age of 25.
A DUI charge can seriously affect a young driver’s ability to get behind the wheel later on. The Ontario government enforces a strict zero-tolerance rule for novice drivers and anyone under the age of 21, stating that there must not be any trace of alcohol or drugs in your system.
What are the Consequences?
Penalties for driving under the influence vary depending on your age/driving experience, BAC level, and the number of times an offence is committed. Deaths and injuries caused by DUIs are preventable and you should take preventative steps to avoid expensive fees and a criminal conviction.
For first time offenders, some immediate penalties include a $250.00 fine and an unappealable three-day licence suspension. If convicted in court, the suspension extends to at least one year and you will be required to undergo a medical evaluation and attend a treatment program.
Repeat offenders face stiffer fines and longer licence suspensions. If you are found guilty of multiple DUI charges within 10 years, this extends to a lifetime driving ban, vehicle impoundment, and potential jail time. You risk getting a permanent mark on your criminal record, affecting your ability for employment, financial aid, housing, and personal stability.
How Do I Protect Myself?
As stated before, impaired driving is preventable and it is your responsibility to drive safely to the benefit of everyone on the road. You will keep yourself and many other innocent bystanders away from harm’s way.
The most common solution to avoiding a DUI charge is to prepare a plan to get home safely after a night out. Rely on a designated driver or family member to give you a ride or use public transit or a taxi to get back home. If those solutions are not possible, stay at a hotel or a friend’s place.
If you are using medical prescription or over-the-counter substances, be sure to check the information on the packages and consult your doctor or pharmacist about any potential side effects.
Medical cannabis users are also cautioned because they can still face the same charges and penalties for impairment, even if they are authorized for its use.
Distracted driving can also be another issue as carelessness can put you or someone else in danger. In addition to avoiding any alcohol or drugs, be sure to always have your eye on the road and not use a phone or electronic device while driving.
Who Do I Turn to?
When you have done all that you can, you can rely on our team at Semyonov Law to support and guide you through the process. We will prepare a strong defence in court on your behalf and improve your chances of an acquittal or try to facilitate a reduced sentence.
We’re your trusted legal defense team in Newmarket, Ontario and you can contact us for additional information.
Kindly note that the above material is intended to serve only as general information and not qualified legal advice.