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DUIFix: Helping Canadians charged with DUI is all we do.

Should you hire a lawyer for a DUI charge?

Those charged with DUI type offences will often ask whether they need a lawyer or not. There are three main benefits to hiring a lawyer to defend a DUI case:

  1. Some provinces have programs that allow the accused to drive earlier with a alcohol screening device installed on their car, but these programs are time limited. A lawyer can help persuade the Crown Attorney to agree to this option for you.

  2. Lawyers can often persuade the Crown to agree to a lesser non criminal charge. This can be tremendously beneficial to the accused because it allows them to avoid a criminal record. They are also often able to reach agreements to allow the accused to drive earlier. Getting the Crown to agree to drop a DUI charge is often not simple. It normally requires the presentation of evidence that if the charge went to trial there was a reasonable prospect that evidence could be excluded because of a technical or constitutional reason.

  3. In order to properly defend a DUI case in court (and win), you often need to present highly technical and case specific arguments. Legal research and expert opinion is often part of hte defence. DUIs are not like other common charges (assaults, threats, etc.) where the case hinges on the credibility of witnesses. DUI cases are all about the Charter, interpretation and application of case law, scientific evidence, and other highly technical aspects. These cases are decided by a judge with an expert understanding of the law (and not a jury).

The consequences of a DUI conviction are severe (even a first time conviction). There is very little judicial discretion in these cases and you will get a criminal record if convicted that will show up on employment and travel background checks.

Having a DUI record and hurt you a lot because employers will see you as someone who has a problem with alcohol and following rules. Some people view DUI offenders as particularly careless individuals because of the perception that they are putting the lives of innocent people at risk.

In short, the punishments (both direct and indirect) of a drunk driving conviction are extremely serious and it is therefore in your best interest to retain a lawyer in these types of matters.

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