Charged with Drinking and Driving? 10 Things You Need to Know If You’re Found Guilty
If you’re found guilty or plead guilty to drinking and driving related offence (impaired driving, over 80, care or control, refuse breath sample, etc), the consequences are enormous. The list below will provide you with answers that you may not have considered. The following will provide you with the guidance to help you appreciate your circumstances:
A Criminal Record
- The judge has no choice! The mandatory minimum sentence is a criminal record. There’s no way around this.
- This will have an impact on your future employment as many employers require a clean criminal record background check as a condition of employment.
- If you’re not a Canadian citizen, a criminal record could have an impact on your ability to live and remain in Canada, obtain your citizenship, even if you are a permanent resident! This could be catastrophic.
- A criminal record is forever! Yes forever! It will follow you wherever you go. There may be ways to have your record pardoned but this can only be done after many years.
- The fine will range from $1000.00 to $5,000.00, depending on the circumstances of your case.
A Driving Prohibition
- The judge must order that you not drive for a minimum of one year. There are ways to have this reduced to three months or six months if you install an interlock device but consult a criminal lawyer to explain how this works.
- In order to get your license back, you will be required to complete an alcohol counselling program (Back on Track). The Ministry of Transportation regulates this and it costs between $650.00 to $1000.00.
- Depending on the circumstances, a judge has the power to impose a jail sentence. This is generally an issue when the breath readings are too high and/or there has been an accident.
- If this is the second or subsequent time you’ve been convicted, the judge must impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence, however, there are sometimes ways to avoid this. This is why retaining a good criminal lawyer is so important.
- Your insurance company will find out about your drinking and driving conviction which means your insurance rates will go through the roof. Each insurance company is different but expect your rates to double, if not triple.
- In order to drive once you have your license back, you will need to install an ignition interlock device that will randomly require you to blow into it to ensure that you haven’t been drinking. The length of time varies depending on the circumstances which can range from 9 months to 3 years.
- You’ll have to pay for the installation of the device, sign a lease agreement for the equipment, and also pay a monthly fee. You can expect over a year to pay at least $1500.00.
Risk of Losing Your Job
- Many employers will conduct a criminal record check as part of your continued employment. If your employer discovers your criminal record, you could lose your job.
Risk of Deportation
- A criminal record could lead to deportation proceedings, even if you are a permanent resident.
- Let's face it if people find out that you’ve been found guilty of drinking and driving, it’s extremely embarrassing. People may look at you differently or even look down on you.
- Please keep in mind that the information above is a guideline and that each case is different. Be sure to consult with a criminal lawyer for legal advice about your particular case.