The Importance of Fighting a Second DUI Charge
Any impaired driving charge can severely impact your personal freedoms. It can result in a criminal record, more severe sentencing, limit travel, increase insurance rates, and will at least temporarily suspend your driving privileges. If you are facing a second (or more) driving under the influence charge, the consequences are even more severe.
One of the aggravating factors that Judges consider in sentencing is your criminal record. If you already have one (or more) DUI conviction on your record you are considered a repeat offender. This makes you appear to be a greater risk to the community and of reoffending. As a result, there are generally greater fines and penalties if you are convicted of a repeat offence.
On the second offence for DUI, there are more severe sentencing options available to the Judge than on your first. There is a real possibility of receiving a jail term and/or probation as the criminal code sets out a 30 day jail imprisonment as the minimum sentence for a second impaired conviction. As well, you could end up having your driver’s license permanently suspended.
Once your license is reinstated, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. After three or more impaired driving convictions, within ten years, you are forced to join the ignition interlock program, or you cannot drive until the condition requiring it is removed from your license. A second impaired driving charge will not necessarily require an ignition interlock device, although voluntarily joining the program may reduce the suspension period.
Fighting any impaired driving charge is important. But with more severe sentencing options and increased consequences, fighting a second DUI charge is even more important.
Sentences for Second DUI Convictions in Ontario
The first offence for impaired driving in Ontario sets a fine as the minimum sentence. For a second offence, jail time is added. The minimum is imprisonment for a term of 30 days as well as a 24-month driving prohibition. For every repeat offence after the second, the minimum increases to a 120-day term of imprisonment and a 36-month driving prohibition. There is a maximum sentence of 10 years jail time for second impaired driving convictions.
In addition to these increased minimums, other factors will be considered that can increase the severity of sentencing.
The biggest difference in what sort of sentence the Crown will pursue comes down to whether the case is tried as a summary or an indictable offence. An indictable offence is considered more serious and carries heavier punishments. Whether you are tried for an indictable or summary offence will depend largely on the specific circumstances and nature of the events.
Another major contributor to DUI sentencing is the harm done. If anyone was killed or received bodily harm as a result of your impaired driving, a conviction could result in a long jail term. If a person receives bodily harm as a result of the offence, the maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment. In the event that someone is killed, the maximum is a life sentence.
One of the other common aggravating factor for impaired driving charges is the time since the first offence. The less time that has elapsed between the first and second offence, the more severely it is viewed. A short period suggests a pattern rather than a lapse in judgement.
How to Fight a Second Impaired Driving Charge or Over 80 Charge
Your first, and most important step, in fighting an impaired driving charge should be to hire a DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer will help you understand the DUI charges against you, and the potential implications and impact on your personal life. As a repeat offender there will almost certainly be jail time involved.
An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to determine if the police had the grounds to request a breath sample and followed the correct procedures in determine the blood alcohol levels. A DUI offence can be a very technical offence to both prosecute and defend.
Proving in court that a person was impaired while driving is a very technical process for the Crown. A criminal lawyer who understands the right questions to ask and how to effectively challenge evidence can make the difference between getting a conviction, plea deal, or being found not guilty.
Hire an Impaired Driving Lawyer in Toronto
Do not give in. If you, or a loved one, are facing a second DUI charge it is important to fight it. It can be tempting to just try and accept the charges and get through the matter as quickly as possible, but there may be serious long-term consequences as a result.
A DUI lawyer will review the circumstances of your arrest to examine your best options for a defence. William Jaksa is a criminal defence lawyer with over a decade of experiencing challenging evidence and protecting client interests in cases like yours.
Contact William Jaksa today for your consultation.