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Costs of going to trial for a DUI type charge

It is essential for individuals considering pleading not guilty to DUI to consider the pros and cons of going to trial. The potential pro is obvious: you may be found not guilty and acquitted.

The cons of going to trial can also be substantial:

  1. If you retain a lawyer to represent you (which is wise for a DUI case), lawyers fees will be significantly higher because they will have to charge to prepare and attend court for trial.

  2. Depending on your province, you may forfeit the right to participate in an interlock ignition program which would allow you to get back behind the wheel in as short as three months. Most provinces, including Ontario, only offer such programs to individuals who admit responsibility at a relatively early date. If you choose to go to trial, this makes you ineligible.

  3. You may have to wait upwards of one year for trial. This means that had you instead pled guilty right away the matter would have been over with by the time you reach trial. Of course, you would also have a criminal record, tripled insurance premiums, and all the other negative consequences associated with a DUI conviction.

As with any criminal charge, there are tremendous financial and social consequences generated from the charge itself. If you plead not guilty you will have a pending charge while you await the trial date that will prevent you from having a clean criminal record check. Your name may be reported in the media (even without being convicted). Those who know about the charge may accuse you of being an "alcoholic".

Of course, if you plead guilty you will get an automatic criminal record, driving ban, and astronomical insurance rates. It is best to discuss your case and options with a lawyer immediately to determine a plan of action.

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