Driving under the influence is a series matter in Canada. The consequences of a conviction can remain with you for years. Far from being an event that involves paying a fine and moving on with your life, things can get complicated quickly. Along with helping with your case, DUI lawyers will help you understand how the laws work and what may happen long after you’ve received a conviction.
You Don’t Have to Be Operating a Vehicle in Order to be Stopped and Tested
Many people assume that laws related to impaired driving and/or driving under influence require that they be actively operating a vehicle. That’s not the case. You could be sitting in the driver’s seat in a parked car listening to music. You could be apparently intoxicated and about to open your car door. If there’s probably cause, an officer can request that you consent to a test.
Officers now have greater latitude when it comes to requiring a test. The House of Commons Bill 46-C went into effect at the end of 2018. Provisions within this bill establish a two-hour window of time in which you can be tested. This is true even if you are not getting behind the wheel.
Consider this example: you and a friend go out. The plan is for your friend to be the designated driver. Knowing that, you have a few drinks. Even though you appear to be sober and don’t plan on driving, an officer sees you leave the bar and walk to a vehicle with your friend. Requiring that you submit to a test, you are found to have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 or 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. That leads to an arrest.
Keep in mind that refusing to take the test will also lead to an arrest. At the station, you have another opportunity to take the test. If your BAC is over 0.08, your trouble is just beginning.
Is a DUI Considered a Criminal Conviction or a Summary Conviction?
A DUI conviction is a criminal rather than a summary conviction. Remember that until it’s confirmed that you are over the legal limit, there are no grounds for further action.
What Happens if I’m Indicted?
To some degree, what happens next depends on whether this is a first conviction or if you have prior ones for DUI or impaired driving. Do expect a fine of some type. You may spend some time in jail. The court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Completing some type of substance abuse rehabilitation program is often required. There may also be a medical evaluation that determines if you will be allowed to drive in the future.
Will I Lose My Driving Privileges?
There’s a good chance of losing your driving privileges for a period of time. The court may revoke your privileges for a period of 30 days or longer. Based on the circumstances, you may have to comply with all the requirements of the court in order for restoring those privileges to be considered. Repeat offenders may lose their privileges permanently.
Your DUI lawyer can provide some idea of what to expect based on your past history and the severity of the current situation. Remember that your legal counsel can offer a potential outcome based on legal precedents and the requirements of current laws.
How Long Will the Conviction Remain on My Record?
The amount of time the conviction will remain on your record varies slightly from province to province. In Ontario, you can expect it to be present on your driving record for three years, starting with the date of the conviction.
Will It Show Up on Background Checks?
Since driving under the influence is a criminal conviction, expect it to appear on any criminal background check. That includes background checks ordered by a prospective employer, a lender, or an insurance provider. Arrests for DUI or impaired driving that did not end in a conviction are not likely to show up on any background check.
Could a Conviction Affect My Chances for Employment?
It’s possible. Depending on the type of position you’re seeking, the employer may consider any type of criminal conviction to be grounds for disqualification. When the job does not require driving or managing proprietary information, the employer may not consider a single conviction to be a deal breaker.
What Happens to My Insurance Premiums?
Definitely expect your auto insurance premiums to increase if you’re convicted. In some cases, the provider may drop you completely. While there are high-risk auto insurance providers who would cover you, those premiums will be more than you’re used to paying.
Never take an arrest for a DUI or impaired driving lightly. Seek legal counsel as quickly as possible. Doing so will help you understand what legal protections are provided under current laws.