Ottawa DUI lawyer Brett McGarry can help you avoid the stiff penalties for drinking and driving offences in Ontario.

If you are convicted of a impaired driving, driving Over 80 mg, or breath sample refusal in Ontario, you will face the following consequences:

1. A criminal conviction and a permanent criminal record.

2. Driver’s license suspension for 1 full year. (Subject to reductions from the interlock program.)

3. A minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence.

4. Potential jail time.

5.  Insurance premiums will sky-rocket.

6. Installation of an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device will be in your car for 1 year at your expense.  It costs approximately $1,300 per year.

7. Required to take a license reinstatement program. (The Ministry of Transportation’s “Back on Track”program must be completed before license reinstatement.)

8. Travel restrictions. You may be denied entry into the US and other countries.

These penalties are further explained below.

Mandatory driving prohibition / loss of driver’s license

If you are convicted you will be subject to a mandatory driving prohibition under the Criminal Code. After a conviction your driver’s license will also be suspended under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.

The Criminal Code says that the length of the mandatory driving prohibition for impaired driving or Over 80 are:

• For a first offence, 1 to 3 years (subject to reductions from the interlock program).  A jail sentence of 18 months is the maximum penalty if the charge proceeds summarily.

• For a second offence, 2 to 5 years, in addition to any period of jail.  The minimum jail term is 90 days.

• For a third offence, 3 years or more, in addition to any period of jail.  The minimum jail term is 120 days.  (The Ontario Ministry of Transportation will impose a lifetime driving ban.)

Click here to see the consequences imposed by the MTO drinking and driving offences.

High insurance rates

A driver’s insurance premiums will increase drastically after a conviction for impaired driving, Over 80, or refusing/failing to provide a sample in Ontario.  There will be a 100% surcharge on your car insurance policy for at least two years. The Ministry of Transportation estimates that after a conviction a driver’s insurance will increase by a minimum of $4,500 annually for three years, for a total increase of $13,500.

5-year wait for a pardon

The waiting time before someone is eligible for a pardon has increased to 5 years under the Conservative’s recently passed omnibus crime bill, Bill C-10.  Pardons have now been renamed “record suspensions” by Bill C-10.  Canadian pardons are not recognized by:

• American border authorities.

• Some provincial legislation, including the rules for calculating driving suspensions for subsequent driving offences under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.

• Criminal Code driving prohibition rules for subsequent offences.

• Criminal Code sections providing for mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat drinking and driving offenders.

Career impact

A criminal conviction may preclude certain careers like becoming a teacher, a police officer, or a government employee, or make it more difficult. There may be consequences or reporting requirements for many professionals.

If you need to drive for a living, a conviction will obviously have a significant impact on your ability to work. Your employer, for example, will likely not install ignition interlock devices on company vehicles.  Your employer’s fleet insurance may not cover you.