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Drinking and Driving (D&D) offences such as impaired driving, failing to provide a breath sample or a breath sample is over 80 mg are Criminal Code offences in Canada. A DUI (Driving under the influence) offence has dire consequences to both your licence and insurance premiums. If found guilty, harsh sanctions can be put into place that can affect your current job, future employment opportunities and your ability to travel.

You do not need to let one mistake affect your future. We have a team of Toronto DUI criminal lawyers that can help you avoid the disastrous mandatory penalties associated with impaired driving. Our team of DUI lawyers in Toronto will demonstrate strong attention to detail when it comes to defending you against your drinking and driving charges.

Drinking and Driving – DUI Charges

  • Impaired driving – This charge occurs when a police officer has reason to believe that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol or drugs based on physical observations such as poor driving or diminished motor skills such as unsteadiness while on your feet, and slurred speech.
  • Over 80 PLUS mg – This charge occurs when the driver has an alcohol level of over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. A breathalyzer is used to obtain the evidence for this charge.
  • Refusing to provide breath sample – Refusal can happen at a roadside traffic stop or at the police station. This charge occurs when a demand for a breath sample(s) is made by a police officer followed by an outright rejection to providing a sample. The charge also applies if inadequate samples are provided.

How DUI charges can affect you

Drinking and driving charges are offences in the Criminal Code that have mandatory sentences even if you have no Criminal or Highway Traffic Act record. The minimum sentence for a first offence is a $1000 fine and a 12-month driving prohibition. For a second offence, the sentence is 30 days in jail and for a third offence, it increases to 120 days in jail. Aggravating features such as an accident, high breath sample readings or reckless driving can lead to penalties well above the minimum sentence. Our Impaired Driving lawyers will work tirelessly to win your case or to ensure the lowest possible penalty.

How we can help you defend DUI charges

There are viable defences to drinking and driving charges. You can challenge allegations through a variety of methods which include:

  • exclusion of evidence as a result of the police officer violating your Charter protected rights,
  • challenging technical aspects of the breathalyzer and breath testing procedure, or
  • challenging the police officers’ reasons for obtaining a breath sample.

We recommend that you consult with one of our firm’s Toronto DUI lawyers on the best steps to deal with your situation. You are entitled to seek consultation upon arrest or detention for advice and our impaired driving lawyers are eager to help with any advice that is required.

Call us now for expert Toronto DUI Lawyer services

For a consultation with an experienced DUI lawyer in Toronto, call Mass Tsang LLP at 416-781-1148. With 20 years of total experience, our Toronto DUI lawyer service serves the Newmarket, Oshawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton regions and surrounding areas.

What happens when a person is arrested for DUI?

When the police have established reasonable suspicion based on roadside testing and/or observations that a person has been driving while impaired, they will place that person under arrest and bring them to the police station for further testing. Refusal to perform a test or provide fluid samples carries the same penalties as a DUI.

What types of DUI laws are there in Toronto?

Impaired driving laws in Toronto are covered under Sections 320.11 to 320.4 of Criminal Code of Canada. Depending upon the specific circumstances leading to the arrest, DUI charges can fall under any number of parameters, including:

  • Impaired Driving
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Over 80 Mgs BAC Reading
  • Failure to Provide a Breath Sample
  • Care and Control

While the prosecution’s basis for establishing guilt for these charges vary, the end result—and subsequent penalties—are the same for any guilty finding.

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What is the maximum DUI blood alcohol level (BAC)?

The DUI charge of driving 80 Plus mgs BAC refers to a blood alcohol screening device reading that shows that the accused has more than 80 milligrams of alcohol present in every 100 millilitres of blood. Section 320.14(1) of the Criminal Code lays down exacting requirements for the collection of screening samples, whether through breath or blood. Screening devices need to be handled by a qualified technician whose findings are admissible in court as evidence. Testing must be conducted within two hours of the arresting officer’s initial detainment of the suspect, and individual samples can only be taken at 15-minute intervals. Given the strict legal requirements and other technical aspects of BAC testing, skilled DUI lawyers are adept at challenging all potential shortcomings of BAC results.

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What are the penalties if found guilty of DUI charges in Toronto?

If convicted of a DUI offence in Toronto, or anywhere in Canada, the minimum penalties are as following:

  • First offence — $1,000 fine for BAC of 80 to 119 there is 12-month driving prohibition as well
    ▪ $1,500 fine for BAC of 120 to 159
    ▪ $2,000 fine for BAC of 160 or more
    The current mandatory minimum fine for a first refusal to comply with a breath demand - $2,000 fine
  • Second offence — 30 days of jail and 24-month driving prohibition
  • Third or subsequent offence(s) — 120 days of jail and 36-month driving prohibition

The maximum penalty for all transportation offences – 24 months less a day on summary conviction, and 10 years on indictment.

Are there other consequences from a drinking and driving conviction?

Canada’s Criminal Code treats drunk driving as a serious criminal offence and other consequences of a conviction can include:

  • Criminal record
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Various administrative fees
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Mandatory education or treatment program attendance
  • Possible ignition interlock requirements upon the restoration of driving privileges

How can someone effectively beat a DUI charge?

Finding a criminal lawyer experienced with all elements of impaired driving laws represents the best option for effectively beating a DUI-related charge. Every DUI case that comes before the court system has distinct differences that may offer any number of options with which a skilled DUI lawyer can strategize a winning defence. Additionally, a DUI lawyer has different defence strategies depending upon the DUI charges. For example, defending against a care and control charge is distinctly different than defending against an over 80 mgs BAC charge. Some of the more common defence strategies include:

  • Challenging the validity of the BAC screening device or validity of drug screening;
  • Questioning police procedure and the lawfulness of the original police detainment;
  • Challenging whether the suspect’s Charter rights were protected;
  • Raising legal justification for failure to provide or refusing a roadside screening or breathalyser;
  • Challenging the police’s interpretation of care and control.

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How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

The cost of hiring a DUI lawyer depends in large part on the complexity of the case and the amount of time needed to successfully defend the accused. Actual court time needed to hear most DUI cases is relatively short, though case complexities can increase court hearing time frames due to assorted motions that may be made as part of the defense strategy. Along with court time, a DUI lawyer will also bill for time preparing for the case and any payments made to outside research and/or expert witnesses as per the needs of the case.

Can someone get out of a DUI without going to trial?

An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to favourably resolve a client’s DUI charges without going to trial and/or by negotiating a settlement with the prosecution. If a DUI lawyer can identify a significant flaw in the Crown’s case prior to trial, he (or she) may be able to convince the Crown to drop the charges. Crown prosecutors generally resist outright dismissal of DUI charges unless the apparent flaw in their case is patently obvious, but may be willing to drop DUI charges for the acceptance of a guilty plea for careless driving. A skilled DUI lawyer is usually highly adept at working out arrangements that can be seen as a partial win by all parties—the defendant’s avoidance of a DUI conviction and criminal record balanced against the Crown’s potential for possibly losing the case at trial.

What are the chances of getting a DUI dismissed?

As previously suggested, Crown attorneys are not willing to outrightly dismiss DUI charges without compelling reasons. However, if there are definite flaws relating to the stop and detention, arrest, impairment screening methods, protection of charter rights, or any other elements of the case, a skilled DUI lawyer will push for dismissal.

How do you get DUI charges dropped in Toronto?

Typically, the only way to get DUI charges dropped is to convince Crown prosecutors that their case is so flawed that they will end up losing the case in trial. If a DUI lawyer is convinced that the Crown’s case is flawed, but fails to convince the Crown to drop the charges based on the flaw(s), it will likely become a key point in the defence strategy at trial and could end up leading to a finding of not guilty by the judge.

Can a DUI be removed from your record?

As long as a person has not been charged with another offence, and meets other eligibility requirements, Canadian law does allow for the possible suspension or expungement of a DUI criminal record, which seals it from public view (though law enforcement agencies retain access to it). Applying for a record suspension can only be made five years after the conviction or guilty plea and may call for the skills of a DUI lawyer.

Will a DUI conviction affect auto insurance?

Yes, a guilty finding in a DUI case will definitely affect auto insurance. Many insurance companies will not provide or renew auto insurance of those found guilty of DUI, and insurance rates for those with a DUI are typically at least two times higher than standard rates.

Can a DUI affect permanent residency in Canada?

Yes, under Bill C-46, Part 1 impaired driving offences were characterized as “serious criminality,” which is treated under Canadian immigration law as grounds for revocation of permanent resident status and subsequent deportation.

Our DUI lawyers

Jeff Mass
Toronto Impaired Driving Lawyer
Robbie Tsang
Toronto Impaired Driving Lawyer
Heather Spence
Toronto Impaired Driving Lawyer
Brian Brody
Toronto Impaired Driving Lawyer
Alexei Zaitsev
Toronto Impaired Driving Lawyer

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