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Do I Need an Impaired Driving Lawyer for a 1st Time DUI?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offence in Canada. The penalties can be quite strict and have a significant impact on your life. However, with penalties for first-time offenders being lower than for repeat offenders, you may be wondering whether you need an impaired driving lawyer.

With DUI it’s important to realize not just the legal cost of a guilty verdict, but also the social cost. Due to this, hiring a DUI lawyer is always going to be a wise decision and here we’ll look at exactly why that is.

Understanding the Severity of DUI Charges in Canada

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. There are set minimum penalties for offenders, but depending on the circumstances, penalties can be more severe than the minimum required.

As a first-time offender, you will receive at least a $1,000 fine and a one-year license suspension at minimum. You may also be required to attend educational programs. If there are a set of aggravating circumstances, such as bodily harm, you may even face imprisonment.

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The Complexities of DUI Law

It’s easy to assume that DUI cases are simple. Your breathalyzer was over the limit, and therefore, you will be found guilty. The reality is that DUI cases are complex and multifaceted. There are many ways a DUI lawyer can challenge various aspects of the case.

Trying to do this on your own can be daunting. Not only that but without legal expertise, you are likely to miss areas of law that can be challenged. In addition, you are unlikely to be up to date with the latest legal developments and precedents.

A DUI lawyer will interpret the law in the context of your case to not only identify defences but also look at ways to cast doubt on the prosecution. They are skilled in formulating legal strategies tailored to individual circumstances.

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Protecting Your Rights

During the whole legal process, your rights must be protected. This includes from the moment you are arrested, including when the law enforcement officers complete their administration work and continue all the way through to your trial.

If these rights haven’t been respected, it can cause huge headaches for the prosecution and can result in the case being thrown out, charges reduced, or a not-guilty verdict. For example, if the evidence was taken unlawfully, then it can’t be used in court.

Without legal training, it’s difficult for others to be aware of these rights and how to assert them in court. A DUI lawyer will go through every aspect of your case to look at areas where your rights haven’t been upheld.

protecting your rights in dui case

Building a Strong Defense

If you want to successfully defend a DUI, then you need to have a thorough understanding of every aspect of the case. This includes an understanding of the evidence, relevant legal precedents, and knowing the procedural rules.

An expert DUI lawyer would have done this many times before. They have the tools to complete a comprehensive review of the prosecution’s evidence and see where it can be challenged. Without this expert knowledge, it can be easy to miss opportunities to challenge the case.

Minimizing Penalties and Negotiation

Even in cases where guilt seems clear, there are things that can be done. A skilled DUI lawyer can work to mitigate the consequences of a conviction. As mentioned above, the minimum penalties for first-time DUI’s can be increased. An expert lawyer can ensure that all you get is the minimum sentence.

There is also the opportunity to enter into a plea bargain before the case begins. This is where your lawyer will negotiate a lesser charge (usually to careless driving) in return for you admitting guilt. They do this to speed up the process and reduce costs. Your lawyer will give you the right advice on whether or not this is something you should do.

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Navigating Administrative Processes

Trials require you to follow specific steps and there is a whole administrative process involved. This includes the likes of court dates, submitting evidence, and pleas. A lawyer will help to guide you through this.

In addition, you are likely to have a lot of questions. This can be especially true if you have been given mandatory education courses, had a license suspension, or vehicle impoundment. Your lawyer will be there to put your mind at ease.

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Preventing Future Issues

You may think “It’s only my first time, I’ll accept the punishment and move on”. As we mentioned, penalties aren’t usually severe for first-time offenders. However, this is taking a huge risk to your future and isn’t a wise decision.

If you are then found guilty of a second DUI, imprisonment becomes mandatory. License suspensions and fines also increase, and you make yourself more vulnerable to future punishment.

There can also be a huge social cost to DUIs that can affect your relationships and employment. You will also receive a criminal record that can have a negative impact on many areas of your life.

dui case in court

Peace of Mind

Finally, using an experienced DUI lawyer will give you peace of mind. Going to trial can be a stressful experience, but a lawyer will be able to guide you through it. It’s their job to advocate on your behalf for the best possible outcome.

Not only that, but you know that you’re much more likely to receive the best possible outcome for the case. If you try to challenge it yourself or with an inexperienced lawyer, you may live to regret your decision should you be found guilty.

Final Thoughts

Using a lawyer experienced in DUIs is always advised whether it is your first time or not. The cases can be quite complex and hiring an impaired driving lawyer could end up being the best decision you’ll ever make.

They will build a strong case and ensure your rights are protected to try and get the best possible outcome for you. If you need help fighting a DUI, then contact AGP LLP today, and we’ll be happy to offer you a consultation.

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