1. Will I go to jail if I am convicted of drunk driving?
Answer: As a general rule of thumb you will probably not go to jail if this is your first offense. However in rare cases it is a possibility that you can go to jail for a first offense.
2. I have been told by others there is no hope for success. Is there a chance or am I wasting my money?
Answer: Those people you have talked to are absolutely wrong. The majority of cases have the potential for success. Many lawyers have a excellent success rate. Impaired driving law is very complicated and therefore because of this most cases are won as a result of capitalizing on these complications.
3. Why should I care if my lawyer are former criminal prosecutors and have substantial experience?
Answer: If you have a lawyer who has represented both sides (police and defense) they have additional insight and experience needed to defend your case. As well a former prosecutor spends everyday in court so he/she will have gained substantial experience.
4. I have been charged with driving "over 80" and impaired driving. What does this mean?
Answer: The Impaired Driving charge means that the police are alleging that they pulled you over while you drove your car while under the included of alcohol. The "over 80" charge means that the police measured your blood alcohol (percentage of alcohol) and it was in excess of 80mg of alcohol/100ml of blood (which is illegal in Canada).
5. I refused to provide a breath sample. Does this help me at all?
Answer: Absolutely not! It may get you off the hook for your conviction for "over 80"; however, as a result of your failure to provide a breath sample, the police will have charged you with Refusal to Blow charge. You will still face the same penalties.
6. What will happen if I am convicted of one of the charges?
Answer: If it is your first conviction, you will be facing the following consequences (click here to see the penalties as well):
7. Can I get the pre-trial driving suspension reviewed?
Answer: The pre-trial suspension can be reviewed within seven (7) days of the notice of suspension being served upon you.
8. What steps should I take right now?
Answer: What you should do is write out a full document of everything you did on the day you were pulled over by the police. Include all the details from the moment you woke up until when you went to sleep (assuming you weren't in at the police station). You should give details of what you drank, how many, and at what time. Usually a trial will not occur for 6 months after the fact so having this information for a lawyer is very helpful.
9. If I am charged with a second offense of drunk driving will I be going to jail?
Answer: Yes. If you are convicted for a second time you will be facing a minimum period of 14 days in jail. Jail however can be avoided if you receive a Curative Discharge.
10. What is a Curative Discharge?
Answer: A curative discharge is an order of the court when an accused person is found guilty of impaired driving, but needs to go home or the hospital for curative treatment in relation to drugs or alcohol. So what happens is that the person who is found guilty get sentences to probation in lieu of conviction. This condition is only to receive treatment for drugs or alcohol problems.
11. I do not understand the three (3) driving suspensions that I now face?
Answer: The guilty is subject to a pre-trial 90 day driving suspension that commences 21 days after the date of charge. After this pre-trial period if you get proper approval you may drive until your trial date.
However if you plead guilty to driving while impaired, over 80, or Refusal to provide a breath sample and it is your first conviction, you will face two additional one year driving prohibitions. These post-convictions will run at the same time so instead of waiting two years it will feel like just one year.
12. Should I plead guilty to my charges?
Answer: No! Not at this time. There is very little to no benefit to plead guilty right away. It is better to disclose the information to a lawyer and they will help you through the process.
13. What will happen if I drive during the pre-trial driving prohibition?
Answer: If you are convicted of driving while in prohibition you will be facing a minimum fine of $500.00 up to $2000.00 and a period of incarceration not exceeding 6 months. If you are convicted a second time of driving while in prohibition period you will face a fine of $500.00 - $2000.00 and a period of no less than 14 days in jail. You will also receive an additional 12 month driving prohibition.
14. What does three strikes and your out mean?
Answer: If you are convicted 3 time in a period of ten years for over 80, refusal of a breath sample, or impaired driving, or any combination of these offences, you will be prohibited indefinitely from driving.
15. When can I receive a 24 hour license suspension?
Answer: You can receive a 24 hour license suspension at any time if the police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that the driver's ability to drive a motor vehicle is affected by alcohol.
The driver can however request a breath test and if the results of the test do not exceed 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, the prohibition is terminated.
16. Can I get my license back during the post conviction prohition period if I put a breathalizer machine in my car?
Answer: No. Currently in British Columbia there is not such thing as a interloc program that allows for this type of thing to happen.