Driving under impairment by drugs or alcohol is illegal in Canada. This offence is called Impaired Driving, sometimes also referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI). If you are caught driving while impaired, you face being charged for one of the following offences:
When Should I Call a DUI Lawyer?
- Impaired driving
- Care and control
- Refusal or failure to blow
- Driving over 0.08
- Drug-impaired driving
If you are pulled over under suspicion of impaired driving and face charges, you should contact a DUI lawyer right away. A skilled lawyer can protect your rights and help you navigate the legal system toward the best possible results in your case.
What do I do if I am charged with Impaired Driving?
Thousands of Canadians face impaired driving charges each year. Of course, not all of these individuals are found guilty. Many evade conviction with the help of an experienced DUI lawyer.
When you are suspected of driving impaired, do not contact the prosecutor or provide a statement to the police. Instead, find a lawyer who specializes in DUIs to immediately start building a case strategy.
Will I go to jail for Impaired Driving?
If you are accused of driving while impaired, you will usually be taken into police custody. This is because DUI is an arrestable offence. At the police station, you will go through booking. Standard booking procedures include:
- Blood alcohol test or drug test
- Police questioning
If the police question you, it is critical for your case that you do not make any statements. You first need to speak with a lawyer. It is within your rights to do so. You can either call a DUI lawyer from the police station or have a friend or family member do so on your behalf. You can also make this call after your release on bail. Most lawyers will provide a free consultation.
After your arrest and release on bail, you must enter a plea in your provincial court. By this time, you should have had a consultation with a qualified lawyer and retained them to help you fight your charges. They will advise you on how to plea in court, based on your case. This plea typically takes place in a docket courtroom.
Otherwise, you must meet the requirements of your licence suspension and court appearances. If you do not comply, you can face additional charges. The court process for DUI typically takes between three and 12 months.
Should I just plead guilty and represent myself?
Self-representation is not a good idea when you face DUI charges. The consequences of this offence are severe. Punishment includes a hefty fine and losing your driving privileges. You can also face jail time, and your vehicle insurance rates will increase. A conviction also places you in federal criminal databases for impaired driving. This can keep you from travelling abroad and getting or keeping a job.
Obviously, all of these penalties make it important to fight your charges. This is why you need a good lawyer with experience in representing people charged with DUI. Otherwise, you face little chance of a not guilty verdict.
What can a lawyer do for me?
An experienced lawyer can examine your case and develop a strategy to preserve your rights. They can also determine whether filing an appeal makes sense, then guiding you through that process. Appeal and other aspects of your case have time limitations. For example, you only have 30 days after your licence suspension or vehicle seizure to file an appeal.