Having been convicted of a driving offence in Canada means more than just a criminal record. It can adversely affect your personal and professional life and prevent you from fulfilling your day-to-day responsibilities. For example, it may come with consequences such as a driving prohibition and imprisonment. It may also affect your employment prospects or cost you a monetary fine.
The nature of legal punishment following a driving offence depends on various factors. Such as whether you have been convicted of the same type of offence in the past, the consequences of the alleged crime (were there any casualties involved), and the situation surrounding the offence. However, whatever the case may be, if you have been charged with a traffic violation or driving offence of any type, you must seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer.
The consequences following a conviction for a driving offence or traffic violation can range from simple tickets to a mandatory jail sentence. Below we have mentioned some of the consequences that can result from such violations.
Many people believe that driving offences are not a big deal. As in most cases, you pay the mandatory fine and get on with your life. However, in some cases, these small infractions can lead to bigger consequences. For example, numerous small traffic tickets over time can cause an increase in your insurance rates. This is because, to your insurance company, you’re just a liability that is costing them more compared to their other customers. And to compensate for the loss, they raise your insurance rate.
Common driving offences that raise your insurance rates include:
- Impaired driving
- Reckless driving
- Failure to stop at a red light
- Refusing a breathalyzer test
- Fleeing from police
It is unclear how much your insurance rates will increase after a ticket or accident is reported against your driving records. Every insurance company has its formula for calculating that. Some insurance companies also offer accident forgiveness, where your rates may not go up at all after your first accident.
For major offences such as DUI, your insurance company may check your record as far back as ten years and calculate your rates accordingly. Ask your insurance company to explain to you how they calculate their insurance rates.
To keep Canadians safe on the road, the country has some of the strictest driving laws regarding driving-related offences. In addition to license suspension for driving offences, court penalties can quickly escalate to include fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, reinstatement fees, licence restrictions, and even a lifetime ban.
Your license may be suspended for numerous reasons ranging from minor to major violations. These include:
Repeat Minor Offences: If you’re a repeat offender and have multiple speeding tickets or tickets for other minor violations, you may be at risk of having your license suspended.
DUI: Driving under the influence of drugs, also known as impaired driving, is one of the top reasons drivers receive license suspension in Alberta. DUI is a serious offence, and depending upon the subsiding facts, it can even result in other penalties such as imprisonment for a term of up to 10 years, hefty fines, and license suspension for a lifetime.
Other common reasons your driving license may get suspended include:
- Distracted or careless driving
- Unpaid fines
- Driving without insurance
- Accumulate too many demerits points (12 or more demerit points within the span of three years)
- Failing to comply with police orders when stopped
While it is highly unlikely that you will go to jail for overspeeding, however, some serious kinds of driving offences can put you in prison for an indefinite time. If a driving offence is that serious, you should immediately call for an attorney and hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer. It is important to keep in mind that the greater the charge you face, the greater is the risk of a jail sentence.
You can receive jail sentences for the following driving offences:
- Causing injury or death to someone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or due to dangerous or distracted/careless driving
- Leaving the scene of an accident without waiting for the authorities to arrive
- Refusing to provide a sample of blood, urine, or breath when required to do so by the police
- Driving whilst disqualified or with a suspended license
We Can Help You
The criminal defence team at Slaferek Law has vast experience defending people charged with various driving offences, specifically impaired driving from alcohol and drugs. Visit our website now to learn more about how we can help you.