What is a DUI?

DUI is an abbreviation for Driving Under the Influence (aka DWI - Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired). Driving Under the Influence of alcohol (Driving While Intoxicated, drunk driving, drinking and driving, drink-driving) or other drugs, is the act of operating a motor vehicle (and even a bicycle, boat or horse in some jurisdictions) after having consumed alcohol, to the degree that mental and motor skills are impaired. It is a crime of offense in most countries around the world.

In most countries anyone who is convicted of injuring or killing someone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be heavily fined in addition to a lengthly prison sentence.

Historically, guilt was established by observed driving symptoms, such as weaving, administering field sobriety tests, such as walking a straight line heel-to-toe or standing on one leg for 30 seconds. Another test is to say the alphabet backwards (but many people can rarely do this while sober). Starting with the introduction in Norway in 1936 is where it was first made an offense to drive with more than a specified amount of alochol in the body. This was determined by doing scientific test for blood alcohol content (BAC).

George Smith, a London taxi driver, was the first person to be convicted of drunk driving, on 9 September 1897. He was fined 20 shillings. (The information is taken from Mass Tsang Criminal Lawyer company's site)

Driving Under the Influence in Canada


The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 made it a "per se" offense in Canada to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of 80 mg/100 ml of blood. It was also a crime to refuse a police officer's demand to provide a breath sample. Both were made illegal at the same time and a mandatory minimm C$50 fine was established.

In addition to there being federal criminal laws, all provincial governments have their own measures against drunk driving. Some provinces will suspend a driver's license upon him or her being charged with drunk driving, rather than being convicted. Some provinces will automatically impose a licence suspension that runs longer than the driving prohibition handed down by the court. Provincial and federal driving prohibitions run concurrently if imposed for the same offence(s)at the same time.

On January 27, 2001, Andrey Knyazev, a Russian diplomat in Canada killed a Canadian woman while drinking and driving. He was imprisoned in Russia. This incident triggered a crackdown on drunk driving by diplomats in Canada.

On Dec 15, 2005, Charly Hart of Watford, Ontario, a man with a 35-year history of impaired driving which included thirty-nine convictions, was on the occasion of his latest such conviction sentenced to six years in prison, the most severe penalty ever handed down in Canada when the offence did not involve a fatality, and the maximum sentence permitted under the law.

Visit official website of drinking and driving lawyers in Toronto - Torontodui.com for more information about DUI statistics across Ontario.


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