No one in their right mind would argue that driving drunk is a good idea – it endangers the driver and everyone else on the road. Even so, somehow DUIs are the most common conviction in all of Canada.
While this is often due to poor judgment associated with emotional or psychological agitation, it can also happen because the driver had a little bit too much to drink and didn’t realize they were over the limit.
Know Your Limit
If you’re going to have a drink at dinner and drive home, it’s important to understand how much alcohol it takes to put you over the legal limit of .08 blood-alcohol level. For a smaller person, it could be a single glass of wine or a beer.
Even if you’re of a larger build, it’s still a good idea to cap the drinks early in the meal and switch to water. Another point to remember is that cocktails sometimes have two or three ounces of liquor in them, which is much more than a single beer or 12-ounce glass of wine – in general, it’s wise to steer clear of hard liquor if you’re driving.
Summary Offense Vs. Indictment
Summary – While a DUI is a federal offence in Canada – meaning, a charge that could leave you with a permanent criminal record – first offenders are typically prosecuted by a summary conviction unless major damage, injuries or some other “aggravating circumstance” escalated the offence.
A lawyer can help you fight the summary charge, which could mean avoiding a $1000 fine (minimum), a criminal record, a lengthy driving suspension and significantly increased insurance rates – just to name a few of the consequences.
Indictment – Charges prosecuted by indictment are more common for repeat offenders or offenders who have caused major damage to property, or otherwise endangered or taken a life.
An indictable DUI carries much higher penalties than a summary conviction, including the real possibility of jail or a lifetime driving prohibition. Good lawyers can make the difference to any outcome in such circumstances and hiring a talented legal team like the criminal defense lawyers at Shaffie Law is imperative for exploring your legal options and getting the best result in these types of cases. Otherwise, an indictable DUI can make a terrible situation much worse.
Realistically, the best way to avoid DUI charges is to plan ahead. Making sure that you have a reliable ride home, taking transit or hailing a cab/ Lyft will ensure that you aren’t in the compromising situation of driving over the limit. Driving over the legal limit complicates and jeopardizes your future, in addition to costing you thousands in legal bills, planning ahead is preventable measure that is easy to implement.
Putting it in Perspective
A summary charge is a huge pain in the butt, an indictment can pull your life apart. The charge will show up any time a prospective employer runs a background check, and if your current employers run a check you could lose your job. If you work with children or in vulnerable sectors, both types of convictions could prevent you from working in your field ever again.
Having considered all of the above, you may re-consider having that last glass of wine. If you are slapped with a DUI, keep calm, pick up the phone, and find a great criminal defense lawyer.
Allen Sturm is a freelance writer who provides information on legal affairs for legal specialists.