What Are the Chances of Winning a DUI Case in Ontario?

A DUI is an issue that almost no driver wants to deal with, and the consequences and chances of winning your case can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you have been charged with a DUI in Ontario, Canada, you might be wondering what the likelihood is of winning your case.

In general, the chances of winning a DUI case in Ontario is about 50%. The likelihood of winning a DUI case depends largely on the circumstances of the case, your previous criminal history, and also the knowledge and capabilities of the defence lawyer.

If you are facing DUI charges in Ontario, there could still be hope for your case to have a positive outcome. Keep reading to learn more about the chances of winning a DUI case in this location, as well as some frequently asked questions about the topic.

DUI Cases in Ontario Explained

Impaired driving is a serious charge that can result in the following consequences:

  • Fines
  • License suspension
  • Back On Track remedial training
  • The Ignition Interlock Program
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Prison time

However, DUI charges can also be acquitted; in about 50 percent of Ontario DUI cases, the defendant is cleared of their charges. The following sections will answer some common questions about DUI charges in Ontario and give you some advice on how you can improve your chances of winning your case.

How Many DUI Cases are Dismissed in Ontario?

Although it is difficult to get exact numbers for the data, we can see that in the year 2018-2019, 48 percent of DUI cases in Ontario courts were found guilty. Of the remaining 52 percent, the defendants were either:

  • Acquitted
  • The case was dismissed or withdrawn
  • The case was resolved under other circumstances, such as a special plea

If we break this down by numbers, we can see that of the 20,604 DUI cases, 10,302 were withdrawn or dismissed. This is exactly 50 percent of all cases. It is worth noting that the rate of DUI dismissals appears to be going down as more people are found guilty of their DUI charges.

Is it Worth Fighting a DUI Case in Ontario?

As you contemplate your next steps after your DUI charge, it is normal to wonder if it is worth it to fight the case or plead guilty and accept the consequences.

When you are deciding if you should fight your DUI case, you should keep the following things in mind:

  • Evidence: If there is clear evidence that you were impaired, such as a blood alcohol content above the legal limit as measured by a test, you will probably not want to fight the charges as it is scientifically obvious that you were in the wrong.
  • Circumstances: If the DUI resulted in injury or harm to another person, or if children were involved, you are far more likely to lose.
  • Prior criminal history: If you have past DUI charges, the court is far less likely to be sympathetic. They will take your record into account when deciding to clear your charges.
  • Budget: Finding a good defence lawyer is a must if you want to win your case, and it is also not cheap. Though there are always pro bono lawyers, the best lawyers will come at a price. 

Take some time to examine the circumstances of your case before deciding. For some people, it is worth it to fight the charges and for others it is not.

How Do You Win a DUI Case in Ontario?

Winning a DUI case will largely be in the hands of your lawyer. Once you find a good defence lawyer, they will prepare all the evidence and present it to the court who will then determine the outcome.

This means that it is your responsibility to find a good lawyer. Research lawyers’ reputations and ask what their success rate is. Though you may be tempted to represent yourself, avoid doing this unless you have a strong legal background. The impaired driving lawyers at Criminal Defence Connect have reputations of high success rates of defending DUI cases.

What Happens if You Win a DUI Case?

If you win a DUI case, the answer is simple: charges will be waived against you. This means your driving record and criminal history will not reflect the charges, and you are considered free of wrongdoing. 

In some cases, you may be made an offer, such as a careless driving plea instead of a DUI. While this is still a criminal charge, it is considered much less severe, and many people prefer to choose this option.

How Long Does a DUI Case Take in Ontario?

If you have a DUI charge in Ontario, you may be in for the long haul. Courts have up to 30 months to bring your charges to trial—this is 2 and a half years. In the meantime, you can speak with your lawyer and they will prepare the best possible defence for your situation.

In the event that 30 months have passed and you still have not had your trial, you can petition the court to waive your charges. This is because beyond the 30 months is considered an unconstitutional amount of time to wait. For this reason, it is very important to keep an eye on the timeline of your case and let your lawyer know if you believe it has passed the acceptable wait limit.


Being charged with a DUI is something that nobody wishes to occur. However, it does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty. In Ontario, roughly half of DUI charges are found not guilty or acquitted. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could win your DUI case and keep your record clean.

Finding a capable defence lawyer is the key to winning your Ontario DUI case. However, if the circumstances of your DUI are clearly against you, it is probably not worth your time to fight it. Contacting a lawyer who will help you review the evidence is the first step toward seeing if you have a chance at winning your DUI case in Ontario.

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