A person drinking and driving is said to be driving under the influence (DUI). This term is also used for persons taking illicit drugs while driving.
There is zero tolerance for underage drinking in Toronto. Drunk driving can attract extreme consequences for offenders. Furthermore, a DUI charge need not be associated with a car or truck. It could involve a boat, plane, train, or motorcycle. You must be sober to operate any of these means of transport.
Minors are generally considered inexperienced drivers and drunk driving can cause further damage. This one act can change the trajectory of one’s life and leave a negative impact. If you get pulled over for drinking under the influence, it is best to hire an experienced DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer can help you understand the process involved in a DUI lawsuit and proffer a solution.
You can only drink when you are of legal drinking age. The legal drinking age depends on your province but it is generally the age of 18 or 19.
Concerning a DUI offense, there is zero tolerance for drinking and driving for drivers under the age of 21. This means you cannot consume any amount of drugs or alcohol, no matter how little.
Drivers above the age of 21 can take alcohol. The only condition is that their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level must not reach .08. The police measure your blood alcohol content level using a Breathalyzer. This device measures the alcohol in your system and converts it mathematically. Refusal to take the chemical test can also lead to the revocation of your license. It doesn’t matter if you are found guilty or not for the DUI charge.
If you are caught drinking and driving as a minor, you would be charged with a criminal offense. This will lead to a DUI lawsuit. It is paramount at this stage to involve a DUI lawyer.
Cases of DUI and related offenses
Care or Control offense
This involves intoxication and drunkenness’ but not when driving. For example; a person sleeps off in his car because he was too drunk to drive and then drives when he wakes up. Such persons might still have their blood alcohol level above the legal limit. This can also lead to the arrest of such persons.
Proxy Drunk Driving
This is rare and unusual but it can lead to arrest. For example, a sober driver left a drunk person in the passenger seat of a vehicle running to get something. The drunk passenger found in the car with the keys of the vehicle in the ignition may be charged.
Effects of getting charged with underage DUI
The consequences of an underage DUI charge depend on the severity of the damage caused by you. The following are possible consequences of a conviction in DUI cases.
- You might be liable to pay a fine between $1000 to $1500.
- If it is your first offense for DUI, you might get your license suspended for 30 days.
- You might be remanded in a juvenile detention center to serve a jail term.
- Community service
- House Arrest
- vehicle impoundment
- Participating in drug and alcohol educational prevention courses
The long-term consequences of a DUI conviction include:
- Your criminal record is no longer clean. You deal with a lifelong criminal record that is reflected in background checks.
- You might face difficulty with getting a job especially if it involves driving.
- You might have travel restrictions.
- It can cause an increased insurance premium.
Repeat offenders can face more severe consequences such as cancellation of permanent licenses and serving a jail term.
What to do when you get your license back
Installing an ignition interlock device may be required for you to drive any vehicle. This will be done after you get your license back.
An ignition interlock device detects illegal substances in your system. Once detected, it prevents you from driving a vehicle.
How to deal with a DUI Charge
The first step in resolving a DUI charge is to hire an experienced DUI defense lawyer. The lawyer can do the following to help your case:
- Review your case and come up with a criminal defense strategy.
- Discuss and negotiate with the crown prosecutor on your behalf.
- Conduct legal research.
- Defend your case in court and show up on your behalf at every meeting.
You should not handle your DUI case by yourself. Getting an experienced DUI lawyer will ensure a positive outcome in your case.
The second step is to discuss with your DUI lawyer the options available in dealing with a DUI charge. The various options include:
- to plead guilty
- plea bargaining
This involves negotiating with the prosecutor for a lesser charge. This will in turn get you a lighter sentence than what you would have got with your original charge.
- You can also proceed to trial. You have the option of a trial with a judge or a jury trial.
Background checks and criminal records
When a background check is conducted on you, it will reflect you have a criminal record. This is why it is essential to hire an experienced DUI lawyer. The DUI lawyer can help you have your record expunged.
If you do not get convicted after a DUI arrest, you should apply for your file to be destroyed and expunged. Additionally, your record of arrest can also be easily viewed in future background checks.
If you get convicted after a DUI arrest you can apply for a pardon. The first step in applying for a pardon is to ensure all fines have been paid provided you have no jail term to serve. Ensure there are no traffic violations within the waiting period of pardon approval. All these will be checked during the review process. Once you meet the eligibility criteria, your criminal record will be sealed. Your DUI charge will also be removed from your record.
Understanding the above information gives you knowledge of the DUI process. You can approach your DUI defense lawyer with this knowledge of the DUI process. It makes the job of your DUI lawyer easier because you are an informed client. It is also easier for you to get the result you want as well.