Driving under the influence (DUI) is a severe offence in Ontario, with significant legal and personal consequences. If you’re facing a DUI charge, it’s crucial to understand the full implications of a conviction, including how long it will stay on your record and how it can affect your future.
So let’s explore it together!
DUI Charges in Ontario: Keypoints
DUI charge (check the difference between DUI and DWI in Ontario), also called impaired driving, is an offence under section 320.14 of the Criminal Code of Canada. It is defined as operating a motor vehicle or having care and control of a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Unlike other driving offences, such as speeding or running a red light, Ontario DUI charges involve a driver believed to be impaired, which can be very dangerous for the driver and others on the road. That’s why impaired driving has more serious punishments and consequences, like losing the ability to drive, travel, or get a job.
In Ontario, DUI charges are typically laid against drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. However, there are other factors that police can use to determine impairment, such as erratic driving or the presence of drugs.
The penalties for driving under the influence in Ontario can vary depending on the severity of the offence and the number of times the offence has been committed. Generally, the penalties for a first offence include:
- Driver’s licence suspension for a minimum of 1 year
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) in the offender’s vehicle
- Mandatory alcohol education or treatment program
- Possible imprisonment for up to 10 years if the offence resulted in injury or death
The Ontario impaired driving penalties for subsequent offences can be more severe, including longer license suspensions, higher fines, and longer prison sentences.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Driving Record in Ontario?
The period Ontario DUI charges stay on your driving record can vary depending on your previous history and convictions:
- 3 years: a first-time DUI conviction without any licence suspension will stay on your record for three years from the date of conviction.
- 6 years: if a licence suspension accompanies your first-time DUI conviction, the conviction will stay on your record for six years from the date of conviction.
- Forever: if you have multiple DUI convictions or other driving-related offences, the conviction can stay on your driving record indefinitely, depending on the severity of the violations.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Criminal Record in Ontario?
A DUI conviction in Canada will stay on your record for at least 80 years, and there is no way to automatically remove it, even if you stay out of trouble your entire life. It is because DUI is considered a criminal offenсe in Canada, and all criminal convictions are recorded on a person’s criminal record, regardless of whether they have any previous convictions or not. Also, DUI conviction can transfer from province to province.
The only way to eliminate a DUI conviction from your criminal record is to apply for a Record Suspension (former pardon) from the Parole Board of Canada. However, there are strict rules for when you can apply, and the waiting period can be 3, 5 or 10 years, depending on the circumstances of your case. So, it’s essential to apply for a Record Suspension as soon as you are eligible to minimize the impact of your DUI conviction on your life.
Additionally, even if you were acquitted, your DUI arrest will still appear on background checks (DUI criminal record check), which can also have serious consequences. The only way to remove traces of your DUI arrest from your record is to get a File Destruction.
To sum up, a DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for a particular number of years, depending on the circumstances of the case, but it will remain on your criminal record permanently unless you apply for and receive a Record Suspension.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Insurance in Ontario?
- A DUI conviction will result in higher insurance premiums, as you will be considered a high-risk driver.
- Insurers can maintain high-risk driver rates for up to six years, even though the DUI will be removed from your motor vehicle record after three years. But it isn’t easy to estimate precisely how long does a DUI affect your insurance in Ontario, as it will depend on your specific circumstances.
- Your insurance premiums could increase by anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 annually, depending on various factors such as your driving history, type of vehicle, and location.
Impact of DUI Ontario Charges on Your Personal & Professional Life
As mentioned, a DUI conviction can significantly impact your personal and professional life in Ontario. Here are some of the ways it can affect you:
- Driver’s licence suspension: DUI entails a driver’s licence suspension. The period depends on the severity of the offence and whether it’s your first offence or not.
- Increased insurance premiums: Once you get your driver’s licence back, your premiums may increase significantly. Insurance companies consider you a higher-risk driver after a DUI conviction.
- Employment: A DUI conviction can make finding and keeping a job difficult, especially if it involves driving or working with vulnerable populations. Employers may view it as a lack of judgment or responsibility.
- Criminal record: DUI is a criminal offence in Canada, so that it will appear on your criminal record. This can have severe implications for your ability to travel outside of Canada, obtain certain types of employment, and even volunteer in your community.
- Finances: DWI entails significant fines, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 (depending on the circumstances of the offence), that can also impact your quality of life.
- Personal life: A conviction for impaired driving can strain relationships with family and friends, lead to financial stress due to fines and legal fees, and cause emotional distress.
Having experienced lawyers specializing in this area is crucial if you’re facing DUI charges in Ontario. That’s where X-COPS comes in.
As seasoned DUI lawyers, X-COPS can provide you with competent legal representation to navigate the complexities of DUI law in Ontario. We offer free initial consultations to help you assess your legal options, understand your case’s best course of action and estimate your chances of winning your DUI case.
With X-COPS on your side, you can have confidence in your legal defence and work towards the best possible outcome for your situation.