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Consequences of DUI, Over 80, and Refusal charges in Canada

The consequences of a DUI charge conviction will vary depending on the facts of the case, the individual's criminal background (if any), and the personal circumstances of the accused. Here are the typical penalties to expect.

1st Offence

For a typical case involving accidents or injury to third parties, most individuals without criminal histories who are convicted of DUI will face a fine of approximately $1,000, and a one year mandatory driving prohibition in Canada (possibly less if accepted into ignition interlock program). This ban will render the individual unable to drive in some US states as well.

If there are other factors involved in the case such as injuries or property damage, a longer driving prohibition may be imposed (up to three years). If is even possible that an individual could be sentenced to a term in jail.

2nd Offence

If you are convicted of a DUI type offence for the second time, you will automatically receive a minimum 2 year Canada-wide driving prohibition and you will be sentenced to 30 days in jail at a minimum.

Many offenders will be offered an intermittent jail sentence allowing them to serve their jail time on the weekends so as to not affect their employment, but this is at the discretion of the judge. The judge can also choose to bar the accused from driving for up to a maximum of five years if he feels it is necessary. Also, some provinces will suspend your license for three years automatically (including Ontario).

3rd Offence or more

You will be sentenced to a minimum of 120 days in jail if you are convicted of DUI 3 or more times. You will also be forbidden to drive anywhere in Canada for a minimum of 3 years. In addition, depending on your province you may receive a 10 year licence suspension.

In Ontario and several other provinces, a 4th offence will result in you losing your licence for life (3rd offence is 10 years).


Financial Consequences of DUI

Calculating the exact financial losses associated with DUI is difficult because some factors are hard to quantify. Having a criminal record can damage a person's employability. Moreover, the driving prohibition associated with a DUI can result in job and employment losses. Below are some of the financial losses that are easier to calculate and typical of most cases: Lawyers fees: $2,000 - $10,000+

Fines: $1000+

Insurance premium increases: $20,000+ (usually will triple your rate at a minimum for at least 7 years)

Required Educational Program Costs: $1,500+

Interlock Car Modification: $1,000+

Third Party indemnification costs

In cases involving a 3rd party injury the defendant may be financially liable to pay the costs associated with the 3rd parties pain and suffering and income losses. These amounts can easily range from $50,000 - $1 million+.

Provincial insurance law forces your insurance company to indemnify third parties for their losses (lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, etc.), the insurance company, however, can then sue you (the policy holder) for these amounts because drunk driving is a violation of your insurance policy. Depending on the circumstances, these amounts could easily range from $50,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In short: If you drive drunk and cause an accident injuring a 3rd party, it could cost you your entire life savings. Being convicted of DUI would make it extremely easy for your insurance company to sue you for the amounts paid out.


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