“Don’t drink and drive….”
“Don’t drink and drive….”
“Don’t drink and drive….”
This sentiment is worth repeating because 1.) it’s dangerous, and 2.) an arrest and subsequent conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs in Ontario will cause significant disruption to your life.
How significant is this disruption?
Let’s examine the basics. Your day is pretty much ruined as soon as you are arrested for DUI in Ontario. Whatever plans you may have had for the rest of the day (or night) will be suspended, as will your freedom to do what you please. Instead, you are under the direct control of the law enforcement agency which placed you under arrest. You will not be free to go about your business until you’ve successfully completed the booking process — which entails questioning, breathalyzer, drug testing, and assorted paperwork — and are deemed sober enough for release.
Meanwhile, your vehicle has been towed and will be impounded for at least seven days. The terms of your release include an immediate 90-day suspension of your driver’s license and a $550 penalty. All of this, and you haven’t even been convicted yet.
If the Ontario court system subsequently convicts you of the DUI charges, at a minimum, you face:
- One-year license suspension.
- Medical evaluation to determine your fitness to drive.
- $1,000 fine (and assorted fees).
- Enrollment in Ontario’s “Back on Track” education/treatment program before license reinstatement.
- One-year ignition interlock device upon license reinstatement.
- A criminal record
Such penalties alone should convince you to seek expert legal guidance if you are arrested for DUI in Ontario. Experienced DUI lawyers, such as those with the Greater Toronto Area’s Mass Tsang, can help you avoid these penalties by getting the charges dropped, dismissed, reduced, or otherwise favourably resolved. And, you will definitely want to seek a favorable resolution because the disruption caused by a DUI extends far beyond the mandatory penalties. Just consider the different ways that DUI might affect your employment.
How a DUI Arrest Can Affect Your Employment
If you are arrested for DUI, you’ll quickly realize that the arrest might impact your employment. That immediate 90-day suspension of your driver’s license will cause problems if you rely on your vehicle to get to work. You’ll need to find alternative modes of transportation, which could prove difficult, costly, or even unmanageable. If your employment requires you to drive as part of the job, you face an even more difficult situation. Depending upon the importance of your on-the-job driving and your status with your employer, the arrest alone could lead to a demotion.
In most cases, Ontario employment laws prevent employers from outright dismissing or firing employees who have been arrested for DUI. Employees with contractual jobs face the most risk, as the contract may carry stipulations allowing for termination based on a DUI arrest. If motivated, employers can also find workarounds to employment law that they can use to terminate employment based on other reasons.
For those with driving-related work, the best means of protecting employment status if arrested for DUI is to claim that your license suspension is related to a disability — specifically, alcoholism. Under employment law, your employer will have to make accommodations that maintain your employment as long as you seek treatment for your alcoholism. Even if company insurance helps pay for that treatment, it will still cost you time and perhaps disrupt your regular weekly routine.
Last, know that a DUI arrest alone may prevent you from getting hired in specific fields. While it may seem unfair, Canadian law enforcement agencies, the military, certain government sectors, the aviation sector, and some other industries may bar employment based solely on the grounds of a DUI arrest.
DUI Conviction Raises More Potential Impacts on Employment
Even if your DUI arrest failed to significantly impact your employment, a conviction for DUI raises the jeopardy threshold due to the criminal record that comes with it. If you’re seeking employment, employers can reject you based on that criminal record. If you fail to disclose the DUI conviction and the employer uncovers it during a background check, it will also undoubtedly disqualify your employment.
A criminal record can also completely derail your employment in specific careers. Many government and private sector jobs carry security requirements or conduct codes that mandate disciplinary action or possible job termination to those criminally convicted, DUI, or otherwise. If your employment involves international travel, that DUI may bar your entry into certain countries, which can also impact your employment status.
In our field, a DUI conviction can end a lawyer’s career because the Law Society of Ontario has conduct rules that may disbar active lawyers who get convicted of DUI and deny licensing to potential applicants to the bar. Professional codes of conduct used in the fields of medicine, law, engineering, dentistry, education, architecture, and others, also carry licensing/employment restrictions for those convicted of criminal offences, including DUI. That DUI criminal record may also impact higher education opportunities, as some universities and/or disciplines have rules that ban those with criminal records from attending classes or graduating.
A DUI conviction can even inhibit your ability to work for free as a volunteer. In particular, volunteer organizations working with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable populations will not accept volunteers with criminal records. Many other volunteer organizations also have distinct policies that restrict accepting volunteers with criminal records.
Seek Out the Best DUI Criminal Defence Lawyers at Mass Tsang
If you or a loved one is arrested for DUI in Ontario, don’t risk the life-changing impacts that can result from a criminal conviction. The onerous penalties, criminal record, and potential effects on your employment can seriously disrupt your life. An experienced DUI criminal defence lawyer can strategize a solid defence designed to secure acquittals, withdrawn or dismissed charges, negotiated plea deals for reduced charges, a discharge, or other favourable outcomes as warranted by the Crown’s evidence. To secure the most effective defense to DUI charges in the Greater Toronto Area, contact the highly skilled DUI defence lawyers at Mass Tsang.