How To Get Out Of A DUI
Often, DUI charges are dropped for two reasons:
A major flaw in the Crown’s case has been identified by the defendant’s lawyer, making it inappropriate to prosecute.
The Crown is willing to negotiate a plea to a provincial careless driving charge rather than a criminal DUI charge (given the overall facts of the case)
In most DUI cases, the Crown agrees to drop the DUI charges in exchange for a guilty plea to careless driving. While a careless driving conviction carries penalties, it is a provincial regulatory charge rather than a criminal offence (similar to a speeding ticket).
A person can avoid a criminal record and conviction if they are convicted of dangerous driving. When there are possible legal or constitutional flaws in the case (or when the reading is low/close to the legal limit), this arrangement is commonly agreed to. Typically, the person will be prohibited from driving for a year (similar to a DUI conviction), but there may be exceptions that allow them to drive to work. Except for agreements in certain provinces for ignition interlock programmes, there is no similar driving ban exception for a criminal DUI conviction.
Normally, Crown Attorneys do not drop charges right away.
Most Crown Attorneys will not immediately offer a careless driving option unless the case is seriously flawed. It usually entails entering a not guilty plea and waiting for a trial date. There are time limits that expire relatively soon after the charge is laid in provinces that offer ignition interlock options, which require admitting responsibility. This means that deciding whether to go to trial or try to bargain for a dangerous driving option will mean giving up the option of using the ignition interlock programme to get back behind the wheel. This is why it is critical to have a lawyer evaluate your case as soon as possible to determine whether your case is a good candidate for a not guilty plea.
Why does the Crown sometimes agree to drop DUI charges in exchange for careless driving?
Crown Attorneys may offer a dangerous driving option to defendants for a variety of reasons. They may legitimately doubt the accuracy of the blood alcohol test if the reading is close to the legal limit (BAC.08 – BAC.11). In some of these cases, a defendant’s lawyer is able to persuade the Crown that criminal prosecution is simply not in the public interest. Case withdrawal decisions may also be influenced by the accused’s personal circumstances. It is not in the public interest to burden the defendant with a criminal record and the possibility of losing his job if he has a job and is supporting his family.
Finally, when it is in the public interest, Crowns are tasked with prosecuting DUI cases. In many cases, it is not appropriate to prosecute if there are doubts about the accused’s level of impairment.
Cases of high BAC readings
There may be other reasons for a Crown to agree to drop the charges in cases where the accused is clearly impaired. In cases where the reading is extremely high, police error or a violation of the accused’s Charter rights to a substantial agreement is often enough to persuade them to agree to careless driving.
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