Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a major problem worldwide and is a criminal offense in most countries. Although there are some differences from one country to another, the one thing that remains constant around the globe is the fact that a large percentage of arrests and trials are caused by this specific problem.
If you ever asked yourself why there are so many criminal law firms specializing in this type of offences, now you know the answer. For example, in Ontario alone, in the year 2005, the police reported about 17,000 impaired driving incidents, resulting in 174 deaths and 3,852 injured in motor vehicle collisions involving an impaired driver. This alone might explain why Toronto DUI lawyers will always have a large number of clients.
Statistics related to driving under the influence
• Each year, around seventeen thousand citizens are convicted of offences like impaired driving, driving while the blood alcohol level is over 0.08, dangerous driving, criminal negligence resulting in death or bodily harm, manslaughter, etc.
• In Canada, it is estimated that 38% of fatalities and 19% of injuries resulting from car crashes are due to use of alcohol.
• By 2008, cases of driving after drinking represented the largest percentage of cases for a single criminal charge, namely 12 percent. Almost 53,000 such cases are under trial every year. Usually there are more cases for male offenders, especially for those who are younger than 25 years of age, for which driving under influence is usually related not only to alcohol, but also the use of drugs.
With such alarming figures, it is not surprising that law enforcement agencies are treating this matter with great interest.
Legal provisions regarding DUI/DWI in Canada
When it comes to DUI, Canada has very strict legislation. It is illegal to drive or control any vehicle on land, water or air after consuming alcohol or drugs. If you do so, you are liable for punishment under multiple offences according to the Criminal Code, and you risk having your driver license suspended. Section 253 (1) of the code clearly states what constitutes an offense and establishes the BAC limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, as the maximum allowed for someone who is in care or control of a motor vehicle, even when not driving it.
Types of possible punishments under Canadian law
If you have been found guilty and convicted in Canada for any type of drinking and driving offense, then you will face not only a driving prohibition, but also a fine or a jail punishment as follows:
• After a first offence, 12-month driving prohibition and a $1000 fine
• After a second offence, 24-month driving prohibition and thirty days in jail
• For subsequent offences, 36-month driving prohibition and 120 days in jail.
If the collision did not result in human victims, either fatalities or injured persons, then the maximum penalties are:
• 18 months of jail for summary offences
• 5 years in jail for indictable offences;
If the accident resulted in injured victims, the maximum penalty can go up to 10 years in jail or even a life sentence for fatalities.
Try to remember that, although there are a large number of lawyers specializing in this kind of offence, the punishments you risk are also serious, so the best option you have is still to avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.