Impaired Driving



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1. Take the matter seriously. This could follow you for the rest of your life if you are convicted. The Canadian Police Information Computer (CPIC) and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation will maintain records of it for the rest of your life. As I have described above, you will be fined and your licence will be suspended. Subsequent convictions could lead to jail and to longer suspensions. Your insurance rates will go up drastically. This alone could cost you thousands of dollars. In addition, your insurance company may deny coverage for certain damages sustained while you were drinking and driving.

2. See a lawyer. The law is complex and you need competent representation. Find out your rights and determine whether you have a viable defence. Only a lawyer can tell you this. Speak to one who can properly handle your case. If you decide to fight the charge, hire a lawyer to represent you in court. Drinking/driving charges are too complicated for you to defend on your own; no matter how much information you obtain ahead of time. You should also remember that all lawyers are not created equal. The practice of law has become more and more specialized. The lawyer who did your house deal cannot be expected to also keep up on the latest developments in drinking/driving law. You should, however feel free to ask previous lawyers for their suggestion as to whom you might retain to defend you.

3. Your choice of lawyer should not be based on the amount of the fee alone. The Province has almost unlimited resources when it comes to your case. You need to hire a qualified lawyer who has experience in defending drinking/driving cases and pay him a fee that will allow him to put sufficient time and effort into your case to counter the prosecution. Lawyers must earn enough in the time they spend on your case in order to cover their expenses and make a living wage. If you go too low, your lawyer will not be able to put in the time necessary to protect you. Look for a reasonable, predictable fee, not the lowest. Often, you do get just what you pay for. Do discuss fees before hiring a lawyer. In my practice, I will tell you what your case will cost, usually at the first meeting.

4. Do not drive after your license has been suspended. You have no right to drive then and doing so could be as serious an offense as your original charge. There are no provisions for you to drive for work or for any personal reasons.

5. Make sure you appear to have your fingerprints and photograph taken and that you attend court as required by your Appearance Notice, Promise to Appear or Undertaking. If you fail to do so, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. The next time you are stopped for a traffic infraction, you could be spending some time in jail.

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