A plea deal can be tempting for an impaired driving offence. DUI charges are embarrassing, scary, and most people want them over with as soon as possible. A plea deal, however, is not a short term solution. In reality, it is often a mistake with serious long-term repercussions and should not be made for improper reasons.
In addition to a desire to get the matter over with, people often accept plea deals due to concerns of not being able to beat the charges – even if they are innocent. This fear often comes down to misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge of the charter defences, substantive defences, and technical defences available to you.
While there may be times where a deal is your best option, more often than not, they cause more problems than they resolve. For this reason, we always recommend discussing DUI charges with a criminal defence lawyer before accepting a plea deal.
Why You Shouldn’t Accept a Plea Deal
Having an impaired driving offence on your record can have an immediate and lasting effect on your freedoms and life. Accepting a plea deal, even if it avoids a conviction, may not prevent impaired driving charges from affecting your record. Here are a few of the potential outcomes of accepting a plea deal for a DUI:
It Can Cost You (Literally)
Insurance regulations allow insurance companies to raise your rates. Having impaired driving offences on your record increases your risk in their assessment and will result in significant increases that will remain for years.
Impaired driving is not necessarily a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT), although it may still prevent or cause complications when attempting to travel to the USA.
Aggravating factors can influence the possibility of a conviction prohibiting you from entry to the United States. As well, the difference in laws may result in upgrading an offence to a CIMT. For instance, cannabis, although legal in Canada, is not federally legal in the USA. As such, impaired driving can potentially qualify as a drug offence in the USA, which may constitute moral turpitude there. This may result in prohibiting entry.
As well, if you enter the USA, or return there as a resident, you may lose your ability to rent cars in the United States. If the plea deal is discovered after a rental, the company may cancel your insurance. This can impact your liberties, travel, or even the ability to perform your job.
Accepting a plea deal for an impaired driving offence may limit your job prospects. Jobs that require driving may be impossible or more difficult to obtain, and may potentially be lost. As well,
your record may appear during the hiring process for any jobs that require a background check.
Always Contact a Lawyer Before Accepting a Deal or Admitting Guilt
A lawyer for your DUI will help you understand not only the deal but its potential consequences. They can help you better understand your options and give you a better sense of whether a plea deal is truly in your best interests.
William Jaksa is a criminal defence lawyer with experience in impaired driving charges and plea deals. Get in touch today for your consultation.