What Happens If You Get a DUI in Canada

Regina Criminal Defence Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Law > What Happens If You Get a DUI in Canada
What Happens If You Get a DUI in Canada Featured Image

Have you ever been accused of drinking and driving? It is definitely not a pleasant experience to go through. Driving while intoxicated is against the law in Canada. And one may go through several legal procedures, such as penalty, licence suspension, etc., due to DUI driving.

So if you don’t know what happens if you get a DUI in Canada, then go through this article till the end.

Possible Consequences of DUI Charges in Canada

Some basic principles exist, even if regulations vary slightly based on the region and state. So, if you find yourself charged with DUI for the first time, you must be conscious of the following impacts:

Jail Time And/Or Financial Penalties

If you are accused of drunk driving and are proven guilty, you may have to pay a fine. In Canada, the typical fine for a first-time DUI charge is $1,000. But generally, it will depend on your situation and the surrounding factors.

Be aware that the expenses of required rehabilitation programs, detention and towing costs, licence restoration costs, or the price of renting and maintaining ignition interlock devices are excluded from this charge.

However, if you commit the same crime twice within ten years of the first, you will be arrested and sentenced to at least 30 days in jail.

You’ll spend at least 120 days in jail if you receive additional punishments. Additionally, if the case results in a summary conviction, the sentence could be up to 18 months.

Additional Fines

When you are charged with driving while impaired, you may also have to pay additional fines as a result of your conviction; these fees can range from $500 to $2,000 for a first offense. Second, in addition to being arrested and sentenced to jail, you can also have to pay fines.

Licence Suspension

One of the most frequent punishments if you are guilty is suspending your driving licence. In Canada, the punishment for DUI driving is typically restricted for a full year. The court will only give your licence back once you fulfill some requirements. However, several programs offer a shortened licence suspension for first-time offenders.

Your driving licence is typically suspended following your first DUI arrest. Some regions won’t act until you’ve been arrested twice or three times. 

In other situations, instead of the DUI directly, some judiciary may also suspend your licence for not taking a breathing test. To find out about licence suspension for a DUI, consult your local state’s DUI regulations.

Criminal History

When a DUI offence results in criminal history in Canada, it will be recorded in official systems and the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). You can acquire a history suspension or a plea requiring at least five years to petition to have the DUI conviction removed from a history check.

Be aware that the DUI accusation will remain on file with the police department even if you are not ultimately found guilty and do not hold a criminal history.

Suspensions of Out-of-State Licences and Travel

You can enter the US even if you have a DUI history and are travelling from Canada. You may still be turned down, as a DUI is a crime. A verified copy of the original legal documents should always be with you.

If you’re from the US and travel to Canada having your first DUI, your home region may still prosecute you. However, those from New York or Michigan will have their driver’s licences suspended if found guilty of driving under the influence in Canada.

Verdicts in those regions that have already happened may also count as previous convictions in Canada. Thus, the effects could be worse than you predicted.

Learn: The Difference Between DUI vs DWI 

How to Reduce your Licence Suspension Time?

There are several programs available that can help you reduce your licence suspension period. Some of them are as follows:

DUI Programs

To get your licence back, you must participate in rehabilitation programs in some regions, including counselling and educational seminars.

The course costs $634 and can be completed within 11 months if you have been convicted of drunk driving. Then, you will have to sit for a test after you complete the six-month session.

Ignition Interlock Program

If you are a first-time offender seeking to restore your driving licence, you might be required to participate in the ignition interlock program. In most regions, this provisional program is mandatory.

It involves installing an interlock ignition system in your vehicle and having it checked by a professional on a routine basis.

If you are a first-time offender in Canada, this device must be on your vehicle for at least a year. You can apply to the Ministry of Transportation to get the restriction on your licence lifted. 

Or else, you are only permitted to use an ignition interlock device-equipped vehicle, and violators will be subject to charges between $200 and $1,000.

Learn More: How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record in Canada?

What Amount of Alcohol is Safe to Consume Before Driving?

There is no acceptable amount of alcohol to consume before driving. Even one drink can impact your ability to think clearly and avoid rash decisions. However, the legal limitations vary depending on the amount of alcohol in your blood.

According to the Department of Justice of Canada, the legal blood alcohol (BAC) limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol or more for every 100 millilitres of blood. The decimal point “.08” derives from this. At a lesser rate, it can create regional restrictions and sanctions.

Final Words

Finally, before you start driving intoxicated, make sure you are ready to deal with the effects of a DUI. Be aware that convictions are not always certain.

Generally,  after being detained, a first-time DUI allegation can be appealed. If you are uncertain of the accusations made against you, hire a trustworthy and knowledgeable lawyer immediately.