Toronto DUI | Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm

As experienced Toronto DUI lawyers, we understand that impaired driving is a serious offence in Ontario and Canada.

Different terms can refer to driving under the influence (DUI), such as driving while impaired (DWI), driving while intoxicated, or impaired driving. However, regardless of the terminology used, the outcomes can be life-changing.

Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to catastrophic outcomes and have significant repercussions. These include a higher likelihood of accidents, substantial fines, imprisonment, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, job loss, and a criminal record.

If you find yourself charged with impaired driving, it is critical to immediately seek legal assistance from a Toronto DUI lawyer.

Refrain from speaking to the authorities until after receiving professional legal guidance. Remember, the police cannot declare you guilty; you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise by a judge.

What is DUI Toronto, Ontario?

Before we explore the aftermath of driving under the influence in Toronto, it’s crucial to establish what constitutes impaired driving under the Criminal Law of Canada.

According to section 320(14) of the Criminal Code of Canada, any person who operates or aids in the operation of a motor vehicle, aircraft, railway equipment, or vessel is committing an offence if:

  • They have consumed alcohol, any drug, or both, and their blood concentration surpasses the legal limit.
  • Their ability to operate the vehicle has been affected by alcohol or drugs to any degree.

It’s important to remember that in Toronto (as well as all over Ontario), being charged with impaired driving can occur even if your blood concentration is below the legal limit. So, don’t let yourself fall prey to the misconception that you’re in the clear just because you haven’t reached the threshold.

There are also prohibited levels of alcohol and drugs in blood:

  • Legal blood alcohol limit in Ontario: 80 mg or more per 100 ml of blood; warn range – 50~79 mg;
  • Cannabis (THC): 2 ng (less serious offence) & 5 ng (more serious one) per 100 ml of blood.
  • Combination of cannabis and alcohol: ≥50mg of alcohol per 100 ml blood and ≥2.5 ng of THC per ml of blood.
  • Other drugs: any detectable amount of psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, psilocin, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine or 6-mam in the blood system. 

The more you exceed the level of any substance, the more severe penalties you’ll get.

Penalties for Toronto DUI

Operating a vehicle while impaired is a serious offence in Toronto, and it’s crucial to understand the potential penalties and consequences. DUI can result in severe legal repercussions, as both the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and the Criminal Code of Canada enforce penalties for such conduct.

It’s worth noting that the penalties for drug-impaired and alcohol-impaired driving are the same, which means that impaired driving Toronto in any form can lead to severe consequences.

Law enforcement officials in Toronto have various equipment and tests to detect drivers under the influence, including sobriety tests and roadside drug screening tools.

If found to have prohibited substances in your blood, you may face legal consequences that depend on your age, licence type, and the amount of alcohol or drugs in your system. So, it’s critical to avoid drunk driving at all costs to ensure your safety and avoid the potentially life-altering penalties that come with it.

Immediate Ontario Impaired Driving Penalties under the HTA:

First offence:

  • 90 days roadside licence suspension;
  • 7 days vehicle seizure;
  • $550 fine;
  • additional expenditures: licence reinstatement fee.

Second offence:

  • 90 days roadside licence suspension;
  • 7 days vehicle seizure;
  • $550 fine;
  • fee for licence reinstatement;
  • mandatory education or treatment program.

Third offence:

  • 90 days roadside licence suspension;
  • 7 days vehicle seizure;
  • $550 fine;
  • fee for licence reinstatement;
  • mandatory education or treatment program;
  • Ignition interlock condition for 6+ months.

Toronto DUI penalties upon conviction:

First conviction:

  • 1+ year driver’s licence suspension
  • mandatory education or treatment program (at your expense)
  • installation of ignition interlock system in your vehicle for at least 1 year (at your cost)

Second conviction:

  • 3+ years driver’s licence suspension
  • mandatory education or treatment program (at your cost)
  • installation of ignition interlock system in your vehicle for at least 3 years (at your expense)
  • medical evaluation to determine if you meet the requirements for driving in Ontario

Third conviction:

  • lifetime driver’s licence suspension
  • mandatory education or treatment program (at your cost)
  • installation of an ignition interlock system in your vehicle for at least 6 years (at your expense)
  • medical evaluation to determine if you meet the requirements for driving in Ontario

If you’re convicted of DUI Toronto, it signals to your insurance provider that you’re a “high-risk driver.” This can significantly increase your premiums, potentially as high as $10,000 per year for the next 5 years. In some cases, insurance companies may even cancel your policy altogether.

It’s also important to understand that being convicted of impaired driving can have far-reaching consequences beyond fines, insurance increase or imprisonment.

In addition to a criminal record, you may also face limitations on your ability to operate any vehicle or equipment pulled, pushed, or driven by any engine type, including farm and construction equipment. These restrictions can significantly impact your personal and professional life, making avoiding Toronto impaired driving at all costs crucial.

DUI Penalties under the Criminal Code

Furthermore, if you have been charged with a DUI criminal offence under section 320(14) of the Criminal Code of Canada, you will face the following minimum penalties:

First offence:

  • Criminal record;
  • Fine – not less than $1,000;
  • Driver’s licence suspension for 1 year;
  • Participation in the counselling program – “Back On Track” course in Ontario (at your expense)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system in your vehicle for at least 1 year (at your expense).

Second offence:

  • Mandatory imprisonment for at least 30 days;
  • Driver’s licence suspension for 3 years;
  • Participation in the counselling program – “Back On Track” course in Ontario (at your expense)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system in your vehicle for at least 1 year (at your expense).

The severity of the punishment increases with the number of offences committed, with a potential jail term of up to 10 years upon conviction and a possible lifetime suspension of your licence.

A lifetime criminal record for impaired driving can significantly impact your life in several ways:

  • It can be a decisive factor in your job applications, potentially limiting your career opportunities.
  • Specific jobs may become off-limits for you due to your criminal history.
  • Your ability to travel to countries like the USA, UK, or Australia may be restricted.
  • Furthermore, your photos and fingerprints will be recorded and kept in the Canadian Police Information Centre, accessible to all police agencies.

Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm

Impaired driving causing bodily harm is a grave criminal charge with severe consequences. If you are found guilty of this indictable offence, you may face imprisonment for up to 14 years and substantial fines.

In impaired driving, causing bodily harm can refer to any injury inflicted on a person due to a driver’s impaired state. Such people can include passengers in the driver’s vehicle, pedestrians, or other drivers on the road.

If you are charged with DUI causing bodily harm in Toronto, the prosecution has the discretion to choose between two legal options:

  • a summary conviction or
  • an indictable offence.

A summary conviction is a less serious charge, which carries lower penalties, while an indictable offence is more serious and carries harsher penalties, including a longer jail sentence.

Ultimately, the prosecution’s decision on which charge to pursue will depend on several factors, including the extent of the injury, the driver’s criminal record, and whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident. The goal is to seek the most suitable charge for the situation, ensuring justice is served.

Penalties for DUI Causing Bodily Harm (Summary Conviction)

  • Minimum fine – $1,000
  • Imprisonment: max. 2 years less a day

Penalties for DUI Causing Bodily Harm (Indictment)

  • Minimum fine  – $1,000
  • Imprisonment: max. 14 years

How To Fight DUI Charges in Toronto

Drunk driving can have a significant impact on everyone involved. If you’ve been charged with DUI causing bodily harm, it can have life-altering consequences. Hiring an impaired driving lawyer Toronto to defend your freedom in court is the best investment you can make in your future.

How to choose a good DUI lawyer in Toronto?

  1. Look for a lawyer with extensive experience in criminal trials.
  2. Ensure the lawyer has a deep understanding of criminal law.
  3. A skilled Toronto DUI lawyer should possess strong negotiation and dispute-resolution skills.

Things to consider when Fighting DUI Charges:

  • Trials aren’t always necessary – some Toronto DUI cases can be resolved before trial.
  • Impaired driving charges can sometimes be withdrawn or reduced to a traffic violation, such as careless driving, or even resolved in a way that avoids a criminal record.
  • The police must follow strict guidelines for collecting and presenting evidence in DUI cases. Failure to do so can provide grounds for challenging the charges.
  • Depending on the specifics of the case, you may not need to attend court in person, as Toronto impaired driving lawyers can represent you.

At X-COPS, we understand the importance of supporting clients during difficult times. We specialize in handling driving violations and criminal cases within the scope of practice set out by the Law Society of Ontario.

For more serious matters, we have connections with criminal lawyers who have in-depth knowledge of criminal, traffic, and Ontario drinking and driving laws.

Our Toronto DUI lawyers have a history of success in the courtroom. They are skilled in developing defence strategies that can help reduce the severity of your sentence and protect your driving privileges. Additionally, our impaired driving lawyers are well-respected among judges, which can be beneficial to your case.

What we provide:

  • legal support at all stages;
  • development of individual defence strategy;
  • representation in court and at trials;
  • trials preparation (if applicable);
  • all paperwork associated with your case.

You can receive legal advice from our DUI lawyers in Toronto by making a simple phone call without obligation, and the initial consultation is free. We guarantee the privacy and confidentiality of your information.

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    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.

    👉Is it worth fighting a DUI Toronto?

    Usually, when a Toronto DUI lawyer examines police officers’ evidence, they can answer that question based on each specific circumstance. It’s impossible to know if fighting a DUI charge is necessary without knowing how the crown prosecutor will proceed with charges, especially if this is your 2nd or 3rd offence.

    Often fighting a DUI charge is not worth it but negotiating favourable conditions to a plea is crucial to avoid jail time and be able to reinstate your driver’s licence as soon as possible.

    The answer often depends on the lawyer's legal opinion, which you can only obtain once we are hired to deal with your case.

    👉What is the penalty for a DUI in Toronto?

    The penalties for a DUI in Toronto and the rest of Ontario depend on the specific circumstances of the case, such as the driver's blood alcohol level, previous convictions, and whether anyone was injured or killed as a result of the impaired driving.

    Generally, penalties can include fines, licence suspension, mandatory participation in an education or treatment program, installation of an ignition interlock device, and even imprisonment. The maximum penalty for a first-time DUI offence with a blood alcohol level over 0.08 is a fine of $1,000 and a one-year licence suspension.

    In contrast, subsequent offences carry more severe penalties.

    It's noteworthy that impaired driving causing bodily harm or death can result in even more severe penalties, including lengthy imprisonment.

    👉What happens when you get a DUI for the first time in Toronto, Ontario?

    If you are convicted of a DUI for the first time in Ontario, the penalties may include:
    - minimum $1,000 fine
    - minimum 1-year driving prohibition
    - mandatory education or treatment programs
    - installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a minimum of 1 year
    - potential imprisonment for up to 10 years, depending on the severity of the offence.
    It's also worth noting that a DUI conviction will result in a criminal record, which can have long-term consequences for your employment and travel opportunities.

    👉What happens if you get a DUI in Toronto?

    If you get a DUI in Toronto, you will be subject to both criminal charges and administrative penalties.

    The criminal penalties include fines, jail time, a criminal record, and a licence suspension.

    The administrative penalties involve an immediate 90-day driver's license suspension and additional fees and requirements to participate in an education or treatment program.

    The severity of the penalties will depend on various factors, such as the driver's blood alcohol concentration, previous convictions, and whether or not bodily harm was caused.

    It is highly recommended to seek legal advice from a DUI lawyer to help minimize the impact of the charges.

    Don’t just pay the fine or go to court alone


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