The Costs of Impaired Driving: A Toronto Drinking and Driving Lawyer Speaks

The dangers of drinking and driving are abundantly clear but for some people, questions remain about the legal consequences. If you are facing drinking and driving charges, the following information will be of use.

The Legal Consequences of Drinking and Driving

For someone who is convicted of a drinking and driving offence for the first time, the minimum sentence is a fine of at least $1,000 and a 1-3 year driving prohibition. For someone who is convicted for a second time, the minimum sentence is 30 days in jail and a 2-5 year driving prohibition.  For each subsequent conviction, the minimum sentence is 120 days in jail and a driving prohibition from 3 years to life. Note, these are the minimum sentences.  In each case, the Court may impose even more severe sentences.

As your drinking and driving lawyer can tell you, DUI charges will also give you a permanent criminal record. This can cost you many promising employment opportunities and may affect your ability to secure a loan or line of credit.

If you are convicted of drinking and driving, you will be prohibited from driving anywhere in Canada for a set period of time.  As well, the Ministry of Transportation will suspend your driver’s licence which means that you will not get it back after the expiry of the prohibition order unless you fulfill all of their requirements.  For more information, contact a Toronto drinking and driving lawyer at

The Insurance Cost of Drinking and Driving

Drunk driving is treated very seriously by insurance companies. If you are convicted, your insurer will consider you to be a much higher risk and your premiums will skyrocket. These increased rates will last for many years from the first renewal date that follows your conviction.

But what if I’m a first time offender?

The minimum penalty for a first offence includes:

– A minimum $1,000 fine;

– A lifelong criminal conviction. Your fingerprints and photographs will be held in a police data bank;

– Your driving privileges will be revoked for 1-3 years. This means you will be unable to drive anywhere in Canada until this prohibition expires;

– The Ontario Ministry of Transportation will suspend your license for 1 year. To get your license reinstated, you will need to attend alcohol education and treatment programs and fulfill are all other requirements stipulated by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation;

– Your vehicle will have to be outfitted, at your expense, with a special ignition interlock device for 1 year.

The Human Cost of Drinking and Driving

The financial and legal consequences of drinking and driving are severe but the human cost can be immeasurably greater. Thousands of Canadians are killed or injured by impaired drivers each year.  None of us are immune to the effects of alcohol and for each of us, the first thing to be affected is our judgment.  Even just one drink can impair your ability to drive.  Never drive after drinking.  Please take these words to heart, if not for your own sake, then for the sake of those who may be forced to suffer the consequences of your decisions.

Contact a Drinking and Driving Lawyer

Get in touch with a drinking and driving lawyer in Toronto by calling (416)-363-3612. John Erickson has decades of experience with impaired driving offences, and offers free consultations for those in need.