It's Never 'Just' A Fine
Never sign a plea agreement without good advice!
If you have been charged with an impaired driving offence, it is essential that you fully understand the possible penalties and consequences of a conviction before entering a plea. Typical penalties for a conviction on an impaired driving charge include:
- A criminal record.
- Jail time.
- Loss of your driver’s licence.
- Higher insurance rates.
For most drivers, when faced with these potential consequences, fighting the charges is the obvious choice. But you don’t have to make this decision on your own. Frank Genesee, an experienced impaired driving lawyer in Hamilton can help you to understand your legal rights and successfully defend the charges against you.
The penalties for an impaired driving conviction are severe
The penalties for a conviction on impaired driving charges are severe, and will only become more severe in the future. Typical fines and jail times include:
- For a first offence: A minimum fine of $1,000 plus a victim surcharge. A minimum 1-year driving prohibition. In some provinces, the driving prohibition can be reduced to 3 months if you install an alcohol ignition interlock device in your vehicle (at your expense).
- For a second offence: A minimum 30-day jail sentence plus a minimum 3-year driving prohibition.
- For a third or subsequent offence: A minimum 120-day jail sentence plus a minimum 3-year driving prohibition (in some provinces a lifetime prohibition is imposed).
Maximum jail terms for an impaired driving conviction are 18 months if the charge is prosecuted by summary conviction and 5 years if the charge is prosecuted by indictment.
Courts will impose harsher penalties (more than the minimum required under the law) on those whose breath test results are over .160, which is twice the legal limit.
Driving prohibitions apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout Canada. In addition to a driving prohibition imposed by the court (the federal prohibition), the province can suspend your driver’s licence as well. These suspensions generally run concurrently, however, the province’s suspension may start before you go to trial and are convicted, while the federal prohibition usually starts only upon conviction. The provincial licence suspension may be for an even longer period than the court-imposed prohibition. .
If you have a U.S. driver’s licence, you may still lose your licence if you are convicted of impaired driving in Canada. Contact Frank Genesee to find out the specific consequences that you may be facing if you are convicted of the charges against you.
Penalties are becoming harsher
Impaired driving and DUI penalties continue to become more severe as federal and provincial legislatures impose harsher requirements for sentencing. Fines are getting higher and court-imposed driving prohibitions are becoming longer.
Recently, some states in the U.S. have started charging impaired drivers with murder when they are involved in an accident causing death.