905-273-3322 or 1-877-273-3322


Should I Just Plead Guilty to Impaired Driving?

An Impaired Driving Lawyer Responds

See also: Guilty Pleas to Other Offences

  • You've just been charged in Canada with impaired driving, over 80, or refusal and you've decided you should plead guilty and "get it over with".

  • Your licence in Ontario has been suspended automatically for 90 days and the Ontario Government has you convinced you should plead guilty so that suspension and the one year suspension on conviction run concurrently

  • You think lawyers cost too much and they can't do anything anyway

  • But you want to know what's going to happen

If you plead guilty:

  • You will have a record of a criminal conviction for the rest of your life. It's true that you might get a suspension of conviction (there is no longer such a thing as a pardo) several years down the road but more and more the politicians are saying that legislation will be changed so that suspensions of conviction should not erase convictions for drunk driving. Suspensions of conviction now take much longer to get than pardons used to. Canadian suspensions of conviction are not recognized by some provincial legislation (including the Ontario 10 year lookback period), by US border authorites, or  Criminal Code driving prohibition rules.  If you ever want to become a teacher, a police officer, a professional, or a government employee you may be giving up any hope of acceptance for such a job if you get a conviction for drunk driving. There may be consequences under the Registered Insurance Brokers Act , the Surveyors Act, the Veterinarians Act, the Architects Act,  the Professional Engineers Act, the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Funeral Directors and Establishments Act,  the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, the Chiropractic Act, the Early Childhood Educators Act, and similar statutes. The police have a broad discretion to tell other people about charges, findings of guilt, and convictions.There may be consequences if your business sells lottery tickets or you are an officer or director of a company that has restaurants with liquor licences. There may be consequences if you are a medical student in another country.

    On conviction for any drunk driving offence in Ontario you will automatically lose your driver's licence for at least one year. If you're like most Canadians that will have a devastating impact on your job and on your family. If you get caught driving while suspended you will go to jail and your car will be impounded. Even if you are eligible for the Stream A or Stream B permission to drive during the second part of the prohibition with interlock:

    • You must pay a $250 deposit at the time of interlock lease agreement

    • Interlock costs $105 per month in advance starting at installation

    • Installation costs $150 plus HST

    • Removal costs $50 plus HST

    • Monitoring costs $105 per month plus HST

    • You must pay insurance on the interlock device

    • The education or treatment program costs $178

    • The Back on Track Programme costs $578

    • All outstanding fines must be paid

    • The charge may need to be amended to delete the words "or a drug"

    • If you are found driving without an interlock your car will be impounded for 7 days

    • Every member of the family or the workplace who drives the vehicle (including your parents, your spouse, your children, and your co-workers) will have to blow into the interlock device  

  • On conviction  for any drunk driving offence you will be ordered by a judge to not drive in Canada for at least one year. If you breach that order you will go to jail. That order is subject to provincial interlock legislation.

  • If you plead guilty to your first impaired or over 80 you'll be facing at least 30 days in jail and a 3 year licence suspension on your second and you'll regret pleading guilty on the first.

  • At the end of the year you'll have to pay a lot of money to the Ontario Government to get your licence back. You have to take a course during the suspension and the course lasts at least 8 months. 

  • You will need to install an Ignition Interlock Device on your car and any other vehicle you drive.

  • Worst of all, your car insurance rates will be out of sight for many years. 

  • You may not be able to visit the United States.  

If you take some time to think about what you're doing:

  1. You can ask for and get "disclosure" and a copy of the "breath room video" on your first Court appearance or shortly thereafter, even if you don't have a lawyer.

  2. You can ask in Court for a short adjournment (3 days to 3 weeks), bring "disclosure" to a lawyer, and find out whether or not you have a defence to the charge. You will need to spend about an hour with a lawyer. Ask the lawyer to take the time (that's why you should pay for the first consultation) to carefully review the disclosure and breath room video to assess whether or not there are issues that can be litigated with some chance of success. Phone Stephen Biss, personally, at 905-273-3322 for a one hour consultation at $200 plus HST.

  3. You can read a lot of information about impaired driving and drunk driving offences at this web site.


Can I Fight It?


How I Can Help


Practical Stuff: The Canadian Impaired Driving Checklist (Bring this Questionnaire with You to Your Lawyer)


Practical Stuff: The Drinking Driver's Worksheet (Exactly How Much You Drank)   


More Information About the Law



Licence Implications in Ontario

Automatic Suspension of Licences on Arrest


Automatic Suspension of Licences on Conviction


Re-instatement of Licences


Vehicle Interlock Requirement


Drive While Suspended Penalties in Ontario


Insurance Implications in Ontario (see Rule 25 Facility Association)


Search Caselaw and Articles


Other Links and Resources



List of Young Offenders Debates



Copyright 2018 Stephen Biss



Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor

470 Hensall Circle, Suite 303
Mississauga, Ontario
L5A 3V4

905-273-3322  or 1-877-273-3322


Advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the Province of Ontario, Canada only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult a lawyer, solicitor, or attorney in your own jurisdiction. WARNING: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein.