November 17, 2019

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Should I Just Plead Guilty to Impaired Driving?

By Katrina L. Mulligan, B.A., LL.B.

You've just been charged in Canada with impaired driving, over 80, and you've decided you should plead guilty and "get it over with". Your licence in Ontario has been suspended automatically for 90 days, and the Ontario Government has you convinced you should plead guilty so that suspension and the one year suspension on conviction run concurrently.
You think lawyers cost too much and they can't do anything anyway But you want to know what's going to happen If you plead guilty: You will have a record of a criminal conviction for the rest of your life. It's true that you might get a pardon several years down the road but more and more the politicians are saying that legislation will be changed so that pardons should not erase convictions for drunk driving.
If you ever want to become a teacher, a police officer, a professional, or a government employee you may be giving up any hope of acceptance for such a job if you get a conviction for drunk driving. On conviction for any drunk driving offence in Ontario you will automatically lose your driver's licence for at least one year.
If you're like most Canadians that will have a devastating impact on your job and on your family. If you get caught driving while suspended you will go to jail and your car will be impounded. On conviction for any drunk driving offence you will be ordered by a judge to not drive in Canada for at least one year. If you breach that order you will go to jail. If you plead guilty to your first impaired or over 80 you'll be facing at least 14 days in jail and a 3 year licence suspension on your second and you'll regret pleading guilty on the first.
At the end of the year you'll have to pay a lot of money to the Ontario Government to get your licence back and you have to take a course, if there's one available. Worst of all, your car insurance rates will be out of sight.
If you take some time to think about what you're doing:
You can ask for and get "disclosure" and a copy of the "breath room video" on your first Court appearance or shortly thereafter, even if you don't have a lawyer.
You can ask in Court for a short adjournment (3 days to 3 weeks), bring "disclosure" to one or two lawyers, and find out whether or not you have a defence to the charge.
You can find out how much a defence will cost.

Questions? Contact Katrina L. Mulligan Now !

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