As Canada opens up again following the pandemic, many municipalities are reporting increases in the rates of impaired driving.
While impaired driving has generally seen a decline in recent years, this recent uptick is naturally cause for concern — not only because of the danger impaired driving poses to the safety of all motorists, but also because the decision to drive while intoxicated can have a far-reaching impact on the lives of those who do it.
Even if driving while drunk doesn’t lead to a fatality, if you are pulled over and charged with a DUI, it can haunt you for years to come.
The Legal Consequences of Impaired Driving
Under Canadian law, driving under the influence (DUI) is treated very seriously. If you are pulled over and found to have a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 80 mg per 100 ml of blood, you will face an automatic 90 license suspension. If you are convicted, you face a mandatory fine of $1000 — but this can be much higher if your BAC is found to be above 120 mg. If you refuse to provide a breath sample, you will face a fine of $2000.
If this is your second or third offence, the penalties are much higher: a second offence will land you a 30-day prison sentence, and a third will put you behind bars for 120 days. You may also have your license suspended for a year or more.
But that isn’t all. Having a DUI conviction on your permanent record will lead to skyrocketing insurance premiums, and can make it harder for you to:
- Find work
It goes without saying that if you are involved in a collision while driving under the influence, you will face a range of other charges. If your actions while intoxicated lead to bodily harm or death, you could spend years in prison.
What Should You Do If You are Charged with a DUI?
Obviously, the best way Canadians can avoid the consequences of a DUI is to take great care not to mix drinking and driving. But if you are facing impaired driving charges in a city like Toronto, the first thing you should do is hire a DUI lawyer to represent you.
A Toronto criminal defence lawyer can help you gain a better understanding of the charges you face, and can explore options for reducing your sentence. In the event that you have been wrongly charged with a DUI, having a Toronto DUI lawyer on your case is essential for clearing your name.
In some cases, even if you are found guilty of impaired driving, the judge can choose to sentence you in such a way that you will not receive a permanent criminal record. If you’re a first-time offender, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer can help make the case for why a reduced sentence is a fairer penalty.
Impaired driving is Canada’s deadliest crime. If you want to avoid the serious legal consequences of being convicted with a DUI, always make sure you have a safe way to get home at the end of the night. And if you are charged, make sure to hire an experienced Toronto DUI lawyer to represent you.