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Impaired driving charges: What are my options?

If you have been caught drinking and driving, you will likely be charged with impaired driving. This means that if convicted, you will have a criminal record. There are generally a few ways you can handle this situation, as outlined by the Ministry of the Attorney General website.

However, before you make any decisions, you may want to consult an experienced criminal defence lawyer in order to review your options and pursue outcomes suited to your specific situation.

If you have been charged with an offence, you will receive instructions for a first court appearance. This is the kick-off to the legal process for a criminal charge. This first appearance allows you to understand what the next steps are, what you need to do (such as contact a lawyer) and when your hearing will be scheduled. A hearing is to determine if there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial.

In some cases, such as if you’re a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a lighter penalty, such as a fine. Repeat offenders are likely to face harsher consequences. If you are faced with the choice of paying a fine, keep in mind that paying a fine does not make the criminal charge go away.

Paying a fine could mean you may avoid a licence suspension, or another type of driving penalty if you require your vehicle to do your job, or to go to work, or to support your family. But it also means that the criminal conviction will stick and it will be part of your permanent record if someone requires a background check on you.

In order to avoid a conviction, you would need to attempt to fight the charge. In this situation, it’s best to find out what your options are from an experienced legal professional.

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