Driving under the influence (DUI) is a grave offence in Ontario, leading to severe consequences, including the suspension of your driving license. If you’ve faced such a conviction, understanding the path to license reinstatement is crucial. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through this process.
Immediate Consequences of a DUI Conviction
A DUI conviction in Ontario can lead to:
- A criminal record
- Hefty fines
- Possible jail time
- Immediate license suspension
Of these, the suspension of the driving license often causes the most disruption in daily life.
The Two-Fold License Suspension
In Ontario, individuals convicted of DUI usually face two license suspensions:
- Administrative License Suspension: This is an immediate suspension upon arrest. The Highway Traffic Act mandates this suspension for anyone charged with a DUI-related offence. After a 90-day suspension period, those awaiting trial can reinstate their license by paying a $281 fee at a ServiceOntario centre.
- Court-Ordered Suspension: Post-conviction, the court mandates another suspension. Reinstating your license after this requires more than just a visit to a ServiceOntario centre.
Steps to License Reinstatement
- Settle All Outstanding Fines: Ensure all fines related to the conviction are paid in full.
- Complete Court-Ordered Programs: You might be required to attend specific programs, such as the “Back on Track” education/treatment program. This program, which costs $634 to enroll, can take up to 11 months to complete. It starts with an assessment to determine the appropriate workshop (either an eight-hour educational workshop or a 16-hour treatment workshop). Six months post-workshop, attendees must complete a follow-up interview to pass the program.
- Ignition Interlock Program: After the suspension period, your reinstated license will have an ignition interlock designation. This means you can only drive vehicles equipped with an approved ignition interlock system. This system prevents your car from starting if it detects blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) over a pre-set limit. The duration for which you need to have this system varies:
- Minimum of one year for first-time offenders.
- Minimum of three years for second-time offenders.
- Minimum of six years for third-time offenders after a minimum 10-year license suspension.
- Documentation: Ensure you have proof that the suspension has been lifted.
- Reinstatement Fee: Pay the $281 fee at a ServiceOntario centre.
- Undergo Testing: Depending on the length of your suspension, you might need to undergo specific tests:
- One- to three-year suspension: Vision test
- Three- to 10-year suspension: Vision test, written knowledge test, and two road tests (G1 and G2).
- 10-plus-year suspension: Reapply as a new driver, retake all tests, and adhere to all mandatory waiting periods.
Seek Expert Legal Assistance
While the above steps provide a roadmap to license reinstatement, each DUI case is unique. An experienced DUI lawyer can guide you through the complexities, ensuring you’re well-informed at every step. They can also help strategize a defence that might reduce penalties or even prevent a conviction.
Karapancev Law: Your Trusted Partner in DUI Cases
Facing a DUI charge can be overwhelming. At Karapancev Law, we understand the intricacies of the Ontario legal system. Our team is dedicated to guiding you through every step, ensuring you’re well-informed and that your rights are protected. Don’t navigate this journey alone. Let Karapancev Law be your trusted ally, providing the expertise and support you need. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and take the first step towards securing your future.