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What Happens When I’m Arrested And It’s Not My First Drinking & Driving Offence?

Drinking and driving laws in Ontario are already quite strict for first-time offenders, so what happens if someone has been arrested for subsequent offences?

Consequences for First-time Offenders

Under Ontario’s Stream A program, first-time offenders are required to pay a minimum fine of $1,000 and can get back to driving again after 3 months provided that they agree to have an Ignition Interlock device for the next 9 months. This is a welcome change because prior to this, first-time offenders are prohibited from driving for a full year. Does this mean that the law is lenient for first-time offenders? Yes and no. The fact is that majority of individuals who are convicted of drinking and driving are first-time offenders who have never been in trouble with the law. The law still wants them to be punished to discourage further drinking and driving offences but at the same time, the focus is on education and rehabilitation so that they can continue with their lives as productive citizens.

Consequences for Subsequent Offences of Drinking and Driving

Penalties are severe for those who are convicted of drinking and driving for subsequent offences. The minimum jail sentence starts at 30 days for a second offence and can go to a minimum of 120 days for subsequent offences. If your second offence happened on or after July 1, 2018, and occurred 10 years after your first offence, you may be eligible for a program that can allow you to drive with an Ignition Interlock device for 18 months after you observe a driving prohibition of 9 months as long as you plead guilty within 89 days of your offence. Your license will be suspended for 3 years if you go to trial despite qualifying for this program.

Note that the maximum penalties for impaired driving for instances wherein there is no bodily harm have been recently increased to 2 years less a day from the previous 18 months of jail time for summary conviction. For indictment, it has gone up to 10 years from the previous 5 years.

Other Driving Offences Can Count as Priors

Under the Criminal Code, charges of Failing to Remain at the Scene of an Accident and Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle count as priors for a drinking and driving charge. Having these on your record will have an effect on sentencing, jail time, and driver’s license suspension. More so, no matter how many times someone has been charged with a DUI, refusing or failing to provide a breath sample or having a blood alcohol concentration of over 80, will face immediate license suspension for 90 days.

In addition to the above, previous offences that were from more than 10 years ago can still be brought up by the Crown as reasons for more severe punishment especially in the presence of aggravating factors. Aggravating factors include details that make the offence more serious such as having an extremely high blood alcohol concentration.

There are so many ways that the Crown can severely punish you for subsequent DUI charges. A great DUI defence can help you avoid the harshest consequences that can follow you for life. Contact Calvin Barry if you want to hire a DUI lawyer in Toronto. Our offices support both in-person and virtual meetings for our clients at this time.