What is DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence” or, in other, words drunken driving. This means driving while having blood levels of alcohol above the legal limit, limit that in Canada is of 0.8%. Of course, driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal because of the great number of accidents in which drivers who had consumed alcoholic drinks were involved. DUI also refers to having consumed illegal drugs and driving while impaired by them.
What are the consequences of drinking and driving?
Under the BC Motor Vehicle Act, for concentrations under 0.08:
- If you drink and drive, the BC Motor Vehicle Act firstly says that you can get an immediate roadside prohibition (IRP). This means that, if the police have probable grounds to consider that your capacity to drive is impacted by alcohol or drugs, then you may get prohibition from driving and lose your car right away.
For a first offence of such – and the blood level must be between 0.05 and 0.08 – you can get a three-day driving prohibition, three-day impoundment of vehicle, you will pay impound and towing fees, a $200 penalty and a license reinstatement fee of $250. The second and third offences are more severely punished.
- 24-hour prohibition from driving and vehicle impoundment – Again, if there are reasonable and probable grounds for the police to think that you are unable to drive due to alcohol or drugs, you can be imposed not to drive for 24 hours and your vehicle can be impounded. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) needn’t be tested and the prohibition will go on your driving record.
- If you are a new driver, learner or novice, you will get a 12-hour suspension (a breath test must be taken) and you have to start your stage again. For BAC over 0.05 the consequences are the same as with more experienced drivers.
- There are cases where an ignition interlock device will be required. Such a device requires a breath sample of yours so that you can start the car.
- You might have higher insurance costs.
Driving with a blood alcohol level of above 0.08 is a criminal offence, meaning that the Canadian Criminal Code deals with it. Being charged with DUI means that you will be going to court. There, the Crown will attempt to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your capacity to drive was affected by alcohol or by a drug, legal or illegal.
If you are convicted for a first offence, the minimum fine will be of $1000 and you will be prohibited from driving for one and up to three years. A second offence also comes with a minimum of 30 days in jail and with a longer driving prohibition. Having killed someone is always a sentence to jail. Higher insurance premiums will also be requested.
If you are charged with DUI, then a DUI attorney can help establish if there is any defence you can use, if a plea bargain can be arranged and advise you on how to plead. The possible legal defences are quite technical, that is more reason to be counselled by a professional. Of course, after these initial steps, he or she can represent you in court and you will most likely appreciate the help.