DUI 1st Offence

Being charged with a DUI in Canada is very serious. However, if it is your first offence, the prosecution is more likely to be flexible providing you are able to argue a strong case.

Repeat offenders are seldom treated with leniency by the law but, in the case of DUI 1st offence, there is some understanding that people do make honest mistakes, especially when they are young.

Alan Pearse can help you build a strong defence that provides a good chance of avoiding the most serious penalties and may help you escape a lifelong criminal record.

Consequences of a 1st DUI offence

The Canadian Criminal Code defines impaired driving (DUI) as when a person “operates” or “controls” a conveyance while his/her ability to do so is impaired by alcohol or a drug.  For our purposes, we will consider a “conveyance” to be the same things as a “motor vehicle.”

The consequences of an impaired driving charge in Canada are very severe, including fines, potential jail time, and license suspension, as well as a lifelong criminal record.

By the letter of the law, a DUI 1st offence can result in:

  • A fine of $1,000
  • A jail sentence of up to 18 months (if nobody was injured or killed)
  • A minimum of one year driving a car fitted with an ignition interlock device
  • Drivers’ license suspension (see below information)
  • Mandatory attendance at an education and treatment program
  • These penalties may be greatly increased if bodily injury or death is caused as a result of your impaired driving or if there are other aggravating circumstances (such as an open container of alcohol or drugs in the car or a child present at the time of arrest).

As a practical matter, very few first offences result in incarceration, unless there has been injury or death.  Penalties for repeat offenders are harsher.

If you are convicted and end up with a criminal record, this can have long-term consequences on your ability to find employment and travel to some countries (including the U.S.).

If you are not a Canadian citizen, a conviction can also seriously impact your immigration status.

However, with strong legal representation for a 1st offence charge, you have the chance of case dismissal or some degree of leniency.

Prohibitions and suspensions for a 1st DUI offence

A DUI charge in Canada can encompasses a variety of alleged crimes, for instance:

  • Impaired driving (the usual term for DUI in Canada)
  • Over 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood (Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC)
  • Failure to provide a breath sample

Provincial laws regarding licence suspensions may be longer than the criminal prohibition you receive.

  • If convicted of your first offence, your ability to drive will be prohibited for one (1) to three (3) years.
  • If convicted of your second offence, your ability to drive will be prohibited for two (2) to ten (10) years.
  • If convicted of your third or subsequent offence, your ability to drive will be prohibited for not less than three (3) years.  There is no “maximum” prohibition in this scenario.

Defences for DUI 1st offence

If you are arrested on a DUI in Canada, ask to speak to Alan Pearse as soon as possible.

Even if you know that your driving was impaired, you are entitled to a defence and that should start as soon as you are stopped.

You also have civil liberties that are protected by the Canadian Constitution.

To successfully contest a DUI case, Alan Pearse will start by examining the evidence against you. He will check all the technical data collected from the scene of the incident.

Sometimes, arresting police officers make mistakes in the process or breach your charter rights when processing the charges against you. At other times, evidence can be questioned or is not admissible in court.

This can result in outright case dismissal if it can be proven.

For instance:

  • If the police breach your rights, the breathalyzer certificate can be excluded
  • If the breathalyzer certificate is excluded, in most cases you will win the trial
  • If your case does go to trial, Alan Pearse is an established DUI lawyer who is used to working with the Crown prosecution to mitigate the consequences for clients.

He will defend your interests vigorously and, even if you are convicted, his influence can reduce the severity of the sentence.

DUI 1st offence and in need of legal advice?

Alan Pearse has successfully contested countless DUI cases in Canada and can defend you on your impaired driving charge.

Get in touch and he will assess your case and be able to advise on the suggested next steps.

Together, we can defeat the charge or at least reduce the consequences for your immediate and longer-term future.