What are the DUI laws in Toronto?
Sections 320.11 to 320.4 of the Canadian Criminal Code covers the impaired driving laws in Toronto. Charges for DUI vary based on the circumstances leading to the arrest. The charges include:
- Care and Control
- Driving Under the Influence
- Failure to Provide a Breath Sample
- Impaired Driving
- Over 80 Mgs BAC Reading
The prosecutor’s strategies for establishing guilt for the above charges vary but the penalties for a guilty finding are the same.
What happens next after a person is arrested for DUI in Canada?
A person is arrested for DUI in Canada after the police officer has established reasonable suspicion that the person may be impaired while driving based on observations and roadside testing. The person will be brought to the police station for further testing and evaluation. Note that refusing to provide fluid samples or perform a test carries the same penalties as a DUI conviction.
What are the penalties for those found guilty of a DUI charge in Toronto?
The minimum penalties for those convicted of a DUI charge in Toronto or anywhere in Canada are as follows:
- $1,000 fine for a BAC of 80 to 119, $1,500 fine for a BAC of 120-159, and $2,000 fine for a BAC of 160 or more
- 12-month driving prohibition
- $2,000 mandatory fine for anyone with first refusal to provide a breath sample
- 24-month driving prohibition
- 30 days of jail time
Third and Subsequent Offences
- 36-month driving prohibition
- 120 days of jail time
All transportation offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years on indictment and 24 months less a day on summary conviction.
What are the consequences of a conviction for a drinking and driving charge?
A drinking and driving charge is treated as a serious criminal offence in the Canadian Criminal Code and is met with the following consequences:
- Criminal record
- Expensive administrative fees
- Impounding of vehicle
- Increased insurance premiums
- Mandatory attendance to education and/or treatment program
- Possible ignition interlock requirements if and when driving privileges are restored
What is the maximum BAC or blood alcohol concentration level?
A DUI charge of Over 80 means that the accused registered a blood alcohol concentration of more than 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood as measured by a screening device. The Criminal Code of Canada lays down specific requirements for the collection of blood and breath screening samples under Section 320.14(1). According to the Canadian Criminal Code, screening devices must be handled by qualified technicians for the reading to be admissible in court as evidence. The testing must be completed within a window of 2 hours starting from the time when the accused was initially detained by the arresting officer. Furthermore, individual samples should only be taken at intervals of 15 minutes. Because of the technical aspects and strict legal requirements of testing an accused’s BAC, an accused will need the services of a highly skilled DUI lawyer to challenge the results as well as identify possible errors during the procedure.
How to beat a DUI charge effectively?
Having a criminal defence lawyer with expertise in defending DUI charges is the first step in effectively beating a DUI charge. Each DUI charge that goes to trial carries key differences that require a skilled DUI lawyer to defend effectively. An experienced DUI lawyer has a repertoire of defences to form the best strategy to defend a DUI charge based on specific circumstances and charges. An Over 80 charge will not have the same defence as a Care and Control charge and will require a different strategy.
What are the common defence strategies used for a DUI charge?
The defence strategies that are most often used for a DUI charge are the following:
- Challenging if the accused’s Charter-protected rights were respected
- Challenging the arresting officer’s interpretation of care and control
- Challenging the validity of the drug screening or the validity of the BAC screening device
- Raising legal reasons if the accused failed to provide a sample, refused a roadside screening, or rejected a breathalyzer test
- Questioning the lawfulness of the police procedure and the original police detainment
How much does it cost to hire a DUI lawyer?
The professional and legal fees charged by a DUI lawyer varies based on the amount of time spent to defend the accused and the complexity of the case. Although the actual court time spent for hearings of DUI charges are usually short, the DUI lawyer will spend a lot of time sorting through details to create an effective defence strategy. More so, defending some cases can take a lot of time due to assorted motions which will require additional time for case preparation, research, interviewing witnesses, and more.
Can a DUI charge go away without a trial?
A skilled DUI lawyer may be able to resolve the charges in favour of the accused by negotiating a settlement with the prosecution and/or without having to go through a trial. If the DUI lawyer can recognize a significant flaw in the Crown’s case before the trial, that information can be used by the DUI lawyer to convince the Crown to drop charges.
Generally speaking, the Crown prosecutor will reject dismissals except in instances where the recognized flaw is so obvious and cannot be ignored. In most cases, the Crown will opt to drop the DUI charges for the acceptance of a guilty plea for a lesser offence such as careless driving. An experienced DUI lawyer will know how to work with the case details to achieve the most favourable outcome for the accused while making the other party think that they are not at a disadvantage.
Is there a chance for getting a DUI charge dismissed in Toronto?
As mentioned in response to other DUI FAQs, Crown prosecutors will usually not dismiss charges unless with a compelling reason to do so. The possible reasons for a DUI charge to be dismissed with the help of a DUI lawyer are if the accused’s charter rights were not protected, the screening methods used were impaired, the arrest was questionable, there were mistakes during the stop and detention, and other similar circumstances wherein the right processes were not followed.
Is it possible for a Toronto DUI charge to be dropped?
The Crown prosecutor is likely to drop the DUI charge if their case is so flawed that it is impossible for them to win during the trial. If the DUI lawyer knows for certain that the case is flawed but was not able to convince the Crown prosecutor to drop the case, then the DUI lawyer can use the flaw as a key defence strategy during the trial and possibly achieve a not guilty sentence.
Will auto insurance get affected by a DUI conviction?
A DUI conviction means having to pay higher auto insurance in most cases. More so, insurance companies may choose not to renew insurance or reject an insurance application for someone guilty of a DUI. If you can find an insurance firm willing to take you as a client, be prepared to be charged minimum of twice the standard rate.
Can a DUI conviction have an effect on permanent residency in Canada?
Since impaired driving offences are classified under serious criminality in Canada, Canadian immigration law Bill C-46, Part 1 says that it is grounds for revocation of permanent resident status and could lead to deportation.
Is it possible to remove a DUI from a person’s record?
Canadian law does allow for the expungement or suspension of a DUI criminal record. This action seals the record from public view while law enforcement can still access the data. Application for a record suspension is possible 5 years after a guilty plea or a conviction and may need the services of a DUI lawyer.