Chances of Winning a DUI Case in Ontario | Explained By DUI Lawyers

Every year, countless individuals are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Ontario, facing severe impaired driving penalties ranging from fines to licence suspension and even imprisonment. Naturally, the prospect of a conviction can be daunting, leading many to wonder what are their chances of winning a DUI case in Ontario.

If you’re among those charged with impaired driving in Ontario, take heart: the chances of a successful defence might be better than you think. 

In fact, according to recent data from Statistics Canada, nearly 60% of all DUI cases heard in Ontario criminal courts result in a “not guilty” verdict or a stay or withdrawal of charges.

So let’s delve into the topic of winning a DUI case in Ontario, exploring the various factors that can impact your chances of success.

Statistics on DUI cases in Ontario

But first, let’s take a look at the data on DUI cases in Ontario, shedding light on just how frequently charges are dismissed, stayed, or withdrawn.

Impaired driving cases in Ontario are heard in criminal courts, and each case is unique, with different factors that can affect its outcome. 

In recent years, there has been a decline in the number of DUI cases going through the Ontario court system. For instance, the total number of decisions decreased from 22,302 in 2019/2020 to 14,914 in 2020/2021.

The following table shows how many DUI cases were dismissed in Ontario, guilty convictions, acquittals, and cases stayed or withdrawn for the period from 2015/2016 to 2020/2021 (source – Statistics Canada):

Fiscal YearTotal DecisionsGuilty Convictions% GuiltyAcquittals
% AcquittedStayed or Withdrawn% Stayed or Withdrawn

Chances of Winning a DUI Case in Ontario

Based on the most recent statistics, the chances of winning a DUI charge in Ontario are promising.

In the fiscal year 2020-2021, out of 14,914 DUI cases heard in Ontario criminal courts, 37,55% resulted in guilty convictions, while 60.68% were stayed or withdrawn. Only 1.28% of cases ended in acquittals.

dui stats ontario - how many dui cases are dismissed

According to the statistics provided for the past six fiscal years, the chances of winning a DUI case in Ontario vary

  • In the 2015-2016 to 2019-2020 fiscal years, the percentage of guilty convictions ranged from 47.10% to 49.17%. However, in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the rate of guilty convictions decreased to 37.55%
  • The percentage of cases stayed or withdrawn also increased to 60.68% in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, indicating a significant shift in outcomes.

Therefore, we can assume that the chance of winning a DUI case in Ontario in 2021 was 60%. But such an assumption could be wrong because it is difficult to conclude definitively about the chances of getting your DUI case dismissed in Ontario. 

The outcome depends on several factors, including the specifics of each case and the strategies employed by the defence and prosecution.

These statistics only suggest that defendants charged with DUI in Ontario now have a higher chance of avoiding a conviction, although the reasons for this trend require further investigation.

So, it’s always best to consult with a DUI lawyer who can provide a personalized assessment of the chances of beating a DUI case in Ontario.

Factors That Affect the Chances of Winning a DUI Case in Ontario

However, as mentioned, the likelihood of winning a DUI case can vary depending on various factors. Some of the most important ones include:

  • Evidence: The strength of the evidence against you is perhaps the most critical factor in determining the likelihood of success. If the Crown has a strong case with convincing evidence, it can be challenging to win the case. On the other hand, if there are weaknesses or inconsistencies in the evidence, your chances of success may increase.
  • Legal representation: Having a skilled DUI lawyer on your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. A lawyer can identify weaknesses in the Crown’s case, challenge the admissibility of evidence, and argue in your favour in court.
  • Police conduct: The circumstances of your arrest, such as whether you were pulled over at a sobriety checkpoint or if there were any rights violations, can also impact the outcome of your case.
  • Prior record: If you have a prior DUI conviction, your chances of success may be reduced. However, if it’s your first offence, you may have a better chance of winning the case.
  • Mitigating factors: If there are any mitigating circumstances, such as a medical emergency or a malfunctioning breathalyzer, they can work in your favour.

DUI Reduced to Careless Driving Ontario: Is It Possible?

As impaired driving lawyers in Ontario, we often get asked if it’s possible to have a DUI reduced to careless driving in Ontario. The short answer is yes. There are examples where a DUI charge can be reduced to a lesser offence, such as careless driving, which is not a criminal charge but a violation under the Highway Traffic Act.

While getting a DUI charge withdrawn, dismissed, or acquitted is undoubtedly a win, reducing it to careless driving can also be considered a favourable outcome for many individuals. 

This can be achieved through negotiations with the Crown prosecutor or by presenting a strong defence case in court:

  • Your DUI lawyer will need to negotiate with the prosecutor and present a strong case in your favour. 
  • The prosecutor will consider several factors, including your driving record, the specifics of your DUI case, and the strength of the evidence against you.
  • Factors that may increase your chances of having a DUI charge reduced to careless driving include having a clean driving record, no prior DUI convictions, and a low blood alcohol level (BAC) at the time of the arrest. 
  • Your lawyer may also argue that the arresting police officer did not have reasonable grounds to suspect impaired driving or that the BAC test results were inaccurate.

Ultimately, the decision to reduce a DUI charge to careless driving is up to the prosecutor and the judge overseeing the case. 

However, with the help of an experienced criminal lawyer, it is possible to improve your chances of having your DUI charges dropped or reduced and avoid the harsh penalties associated with a DUI conviction in Ontario.

Is It Worth Fighting a DUI in Ontario?

Whether it’s worth fighting a DUI charge in Ontario depends on the specific circumstances of your case. Generally speaking, it is almost always worth fighting a DUI charge because the consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe, including a criminal record, fines, licence suspension, and potentially even jail time. Moreover, you must consider how long DUI stays on your driving record in case of conviction because it can significantly impact your life.

Fighting a DUI charge in Ontario allows you to challenge the evidence against you, question the police’s conduct during the arrest, and possibly negotiate a plea deal to have the charges reduced or withdrawn. With the help of an experienced DUI lawyer, you may be able to avoid a criminal record and the associated consequences.

However, it’s important to note that fighting a DUI charge requires time, effort, and resources, and there is no guarantee of success. It’s essential to be honest with your DUI lawyer about your case’s circumstances and consider the potential outcomes of fighting the charge.

Winning a DUI case in Ontario may seem complicated, but the chances of success can be significantly increased with the help of an experienced DUI lawyer. From preparing for the case to questioning the validity of BAC tests, a qualified lawyer can help build a strong defence strategy. Additionally, while the statistics show that winning a DUI case is not easy, it is not impossible either.

At X-COPS, we understand the stress and anxiety of facing a DUI charge, so we offer a range of services to help increase your chances of success. 

If you are facing an Ontario DUI charge, don’t hesitate to contact us for help. Together, we can work towards a favourable outcome for your case.


Here we've prepared a short list of frequently asked questions in order to provide quick answers to anyone who's looking for information associated with the topic. If you need more clarification, please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

👉What are the chances of beating DUI Ontario?

As per the available statistics, the chances of winning a DUI case in Ontario are around 40% to 60%. However, the likelihood of winning can be improved by hiring a qualified DUI lawyer to help navigate the complex legal process and identify any weaknesses in the case against you. It's important to note that every case is unique, and the outcome will depend on various factors.

👉What is the best case scenario for a DUI in Ontario?

The best-case scenario for a DUI in Ontario is having the charges withdrawn or dismissed or having the DUI charge reduced to careless driving. However, the outcome of a DUI case depends on several factors, including the strength of the evidence against you and the skill of your DUI lawyer in building a solid defence.

👉Can you beat a DUI charge in Ontario?

Yes, it is possible to beat a DUI charge in Ontario. But the likelihood of success depends on various factors such as the weight of the evidence against you, the conduct of the police during the arrest, and the quality of legal representation you have.

It is essential to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer to assess your case and develop a defence strategy. While there are no guarantees in legal matters, a skilled DUI lawyer can work to increase your probability of successfully fighting the charges or obtaining a favourable outcome.

Thank you!