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Toronto lawyers dedicated to helping people charged with impaired driving

Nurses (RN), Doctors, RPNs, PSWs, and other health care workers charged with DUI offences

A lot of our clients are health care workers such as nurses (RN), nurse practitioners, RPNs, PSWs, paramedics, physicians, etc. who get charged with impaired driving.

All healthcare workers in Canada experience extremely stressful job conditions especially during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. While many other types of employees are able to work from home, this option is not available to nurses, personal care workers, doctors, and other frontline workers. They also have to deal with the stresses of seeing people die firsthand and worrying about becoming infected with COVID themselves and possibly bringing it home and spreading it to their family.

While healthcare workers are among the most notable professions in Canada, this does not mean they are immune to impaired driving charges. Sometimes the stress of the job, a general disposition towards alcohol, or a chronic habit that developed over the years combined with external pressure will ultimately result in the health care worker being charged by the police with DUI.

The impaired driving charges may have nothing to do with work or their behaviour on the job but since they work in a highly regulated vulnerable sector profession it will likely be something they will have to answer for eventually at work (hospital, university, private doctor’s office etc.) or to their governing regulatory body such as the CNO for RNs.

Maybe someone expected them to drive and they chose to do so because they were embarrassed to admit that they had been drinking.

Perhaps they had a drink or two publicly but more without their colleagues knowing and they wanted to hide that from them. Some will take the risk of getting a DUI over admitting they can’t legally drive or making up some other excuse for saying no to driving. Often it is a coworker, family member, or professional superior that is pressuring the person to drive when they do not want to.

The accused ends up charged with impaired driving/over 80 because they are not sure if they are sober enough to drive and take the risk by doing so. They often do this because they feel ashamed to admit that they drank too much and also because their decision making process was impaired by alcohol.

They may have driven drunk or high because they felt a need to hide it from family members or friends. In their mind, it would seem weird if they did not drive home after work to their spouse, parents, coworkers, etc. and so they take the risk of driving while impaired by either alcohol or drugs.

Most health care workers reading this will have already been charged with a DUI offence in Ontario (received a Form 9 Appearance Notice, Form 10 Undertaking or Form 11 Release Order from the police).

While most people reading this are already facing charges that will have to be dealt with in court, for those not yet charged remember you should just walk away. Don’t ever take the risk of being charged with a DUI. You can always just walk away without explanation from a party or gathering of coworkers or friends. If you are a young healthcare worker you may feel pressure to drive and maybe you were drunk but just walk away because the next day who is going to really care? Nobody.

While nobody will care if you just disappear and go home, if you get caught drinking and driving by the police and criminally charged it could have a huge lifelong negative impact on your career and abilities to travel to other countries such as the USA in the future. Those at the party who probably wouldn’t have ever noticed you left on foot, non electric peddle bike, uber, or whatever else will for sure be out to report you to your regulatory body and employer if they find out the next day that you were charged by the police with impaired driving.

The CNO, CPSO, and other regulatory bodies that govern health care professionals take impaired driving offences extremely seriously and can take disciplinary action against them.

Whether you are a nurse, a doctor, a psw, paramedic etc. your profession is governed by a regulatory body that you must be in compliance with. Impaired driving convictions are reasons to be barred from the profession for conduct unbecoming. From their perspective, if a person is found guilty of and convicted of drinking and driving this may mean they pose a risk to their patients or that they may have a higher propensity to steal drugs from the workplace. Sometimes the reasoning for disciplinary action is that having convicted criminals in the profession makes other healthcare professionals look bad. They generally do not want those who have criminal records working in healthcare..

Not only are regulatory bodies such as the CNO going to scrutinize the case, employers such as hospitals also generally do not want employees convicted of impaired driving. HR disciplinary action is often taken against those who get charged and convicted. Sometimes temporary action, such as putting the employee on a paid or unpaid leave, will be put in place while the outcome of the case is decided in court.

Virtually all healthcare professions such as Nurses (RNs), PRNs, PSWs, Nurse Practitioners, Physicians etc. are vulnerable sector workers subject to higher level police background checks (sometimes referred to as: vulnerable sector screening checks)

While there are some health care workers who are self-employed (dentists, some family doctors, pharmacists), most work for large companies that run background checks on their employees for criminality. Since health care workers also work with vulnerable people (children, the elderly, the mentally ill, etc.) they are often subject to vulnerable sector screening checks that can disclose all arrests and charges regardless of findings of guilt or conviction. Sometimes this information can be suppressed before it is provided to the employer.

If someone is found guilty of an impaired driving offence in Canada this is automatically a criminal record and conviction. Unlike some other offences, DUIs carry a mandatory minimum sentence meaning the Judge has no choice but to sentence the offender to a criminal record (conviction).

Not only are all healthcare professionals governed by their respective professional regulatory bodies, they also usually work for large companies, hospitals and universities that require vulnerable sector background checks.

A vulnerable sector background check will show all pending charges and convictions, but it may also show non-convictions and those who were suspects of committing a crime (perhaps being unaware of it).

When someone is charged with a DUI related offence (impaired, over 80, refusal) all of this information is recorded by the police and may be released on a vulnerable sector police check. This is especially important for healthcare workers who almost always are required to present a VSS background check. While some background checks may show charge and arrest information this can sometimes be suppressed.

The result of the case will be paramount as in Canada everyone is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. This obviously also applies to DUI related offences. Despite this many intelligent and hardworking healthcare professionals just assume that because they did drink and drive that they will be found legally guilty in court. This is definitely not always the case.

Whether you believe you are innocent or not there are often legal defences available that should be explored with your lawyer.

Many accused have no idea that potentially successful defences exist such as technical evidence gathering problems, Charter applications, etc. prior to receiving legal advice. All forms of DUI are mandatory minimum sentence offences meaning anyone convicted will receive a criminal record in Canada.

It is worth having a criminal defence lawyer, at a minimum, review your case with you to determine your opinions. This applies to everyone but especially those who work in health care and other vulnerable sector professions.

Call us today.

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with impaired driving offences throughout Ontario.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on impaired driving related charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

    call us: 647-228-5969


  call us: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending an impaired driving related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  Law and Consequences

  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel