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If you are facing DUI charges in Toronto, there are some serious consequences. Ontario has some of the DUI toughest policies in all of North America. The laws and penalties for driving under the influence are strict and not all of them are well known.

Toronto DUI Lawyer, William Jaksa, delves into the details and consequences of driving under the influence charges.


Generally, in Toronto, and throughout Ontario, anyone that is caught driving or in the care and control of a motor vehicle while their ability is impaired can be charged with a DUI. Typically, drivers that are impaired are charged with one or more of three different offences: operating a motor vehicle while impaired, either by drugs, alcohol or by other means; exceeding the legal limit of 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content or refusing to consent to drug or alcohol tests will result in DUI charges.

How Much Can You Drink Before Your BAC Hit 0.08?

A BAC of 0.08 indicates 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. To stay below this, a common rule is not to exceed one drink per hour. One drink being equivalent to 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of distilled spirits. This is a guideline, not a legal rule.

While one drink per hour concept works for most people most of the time, it is no guarantee. There are too many factors that can affect BAC to have one hard and fast rule. It is different for every individual and for every individual situation. Some factors that affect BAC include:

  • Age
  • Alcohol tolerance
  • Body type, size, & fat/muscle content
  • Carbonation of drinks
  • Consumption rate
  • Drink Strength
  • Food
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Hydration
  • Medications
  • Metabolism

Wait, You Can Still Face DUI Charges For Blowing Under The Legal Limit?

Although technically, the legal limit is 0.08%, you may face charges even if you register at 0.05-0.08% BAC. This is commonly referred to the Warn Range. Despite the name, this does not mean you will get off with a warning. There are penalties, often severe, that vary from one province to the next.


Drug-impaired driving is treated just as seriously as drunk driving. The proposed legalization of marihuana is resulting in stricter drug-impaired driving laws.

A drug-impaired driving charge is not limited to illegal drugs. Any drug deemed to impair driving can result in a charge. That could be over-the-counter or even prescription medication. It is best to consult a physician and check labels before driving while medicated.

If you are charged with a drug offence, you need to find a lawyer with drug charge experience. This should be done as soon as possible. It is best practice not talk to anyone about your case before consulting a lawyer.


There are three main categories of DUI and impaired driving charges. Each with their own set of consequences. The categories are:

  1. Zero BAC
  2. Warn Range or Failing a Standard Field Sobriety Test
  3. Impaired Driving, Over the Legal Limit, Refusing a test or failing the Drug Recognition Expert evaluation

What are the consequences for a second DUI or impaired driving conviction?

Consequences of a Zero BAC DUI or Impaired Driving Charge

The Zero BAC law applies to all drivers aged 21 and younger, as well as novice drivers of any age. This law allows for zero tolerance for any alcohol in the blood while driving.

Commercial drivers of any age or licence level are also subject to zero tolerance for drug-impaired driving.

Being caught with a BAC above zero will result in an immediate 24 hour license suspension. You will also be responsible for fees if your vehicle is towed or impounded.

If convicted you face:

  • An additional minimum license suspension of 30 days.
  • A $60-$500 fine
  • Potential cancellation of license (for novice drivers)
  • Potential participation in an education or treatment program at your expense ($294-$634)
  • Potential ignition interlock
  • Potential medical review for substance abuse

Consequences of BAC in Warn Range or failing a Field Sobriety Test

At this level, the number of instances within a 5 year period will affect the consequences. If you fail a Standard Field Sobriety Test or test BAC in the Warn Range you will face:

  • $198 administrative penalty
  • A roadside license suspension that cannot be appealed
    • First time: 3 day suspension
    • Second time: 7 day suspension
    • Three or more times: 30 day suspension
  • Mandatory education program (for 2 or more instances) at your expense ($294-$634)
  • 6 month ignition interlock (3 or more instances)
  • Potential medical review for substance abuse

Consequences of testing over 0.08% BAC, refusing testing, or failing Drug Recognition Expert evaluation

Meeting any of these three criteria for impaired driving or DUI charges in Toronto has immediate consequences. You will incur a 90 day licence suspension, a $198 administrative penalty, and a 7 day vehicle impoundment. And that is before conviction.

If you are convicted of Alcohol or Drug Impaired Driving you may face:

  • Mandatory education program (for 2 or more instances) at your expense ($294-$634)
  • Ignition interlock
    • First time: 1 year minimum
    • Second time: 3 year minimum
    • Third time: Varies depending on prior convictions
  • Jail sentence
    • First time: No minimum
    • Second time: 30 day minimum
    • Third time: 120 day minimum
  • Fine
    • First time: $1000 fine
    • Subsequent times: Fine amount at judges discretion
  • License suspension
    • First time: 1 year minimum
    • Second time: 3 year minimum
    • Third time: Lifetime, with potential for reduction to 10 years.
  • Potential medical review for substance abuse


Drug and alcohol-impaired driving charges are not limited to cars, motorcycles, and trucks. Boats, cars, trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicle are all eligible for impaired driving charges. If convicted you will lose your license for all vehicles, including cars.

For boats, this applies to both motorized and non-motorized. Powerboats, sailboats, and canoes, alike are all eligible for impaired driving charges.


If you are convicted on a DUI offence in Ontario it will go on your criminal record. It will show on background checks, and affects your insurance rates. It remains on your record until you receive a pardon. However, it will remain in police databases indefinitely.

Having a criminal record affects your future. A criminal record for a DUI can result in lost job opportunities, loss of driving privileges, and harsher future sentences. If you meet the requirements, your criminal record can be eligible for suspension as early as five years after you have completed any sentence and paid all fines.


If you are facing a driving under the influence charge, it is important to understand what a DUI attorney does for you. An experienced DUI lawyer increases your chances for a better result.

A good criminal lawyer will explain your options, potential trial strategies, the costs involved, and the potential consequences. Your Toronto DUI lawyer will make sure you get the best representation and a fair trial. They ensure the Crown bears the burden of proof of impairment, as well as that police followed proper procedure while gathering evidence.


Every case has different problems and considerations and requires different strategies. For the best results, you should hire an experienced DUI lawyer. Toronto criminal defence lawyer, William Jaksa has over 10 years of experience defending impaired driving related cases. Contact William Jaksa, a top criminal lawyer in Toronto today.

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