The impact of impaired driving on your criminal record
Obviously no one thinks about setting out deliberately to drive while impaired, yet notwithstanding, Canada is rated number 1 among wealthy countrieswhen it comes to the percentage of driving fatalities that result from alcohol or drugs as opposed to other reasons. That means that despite years of public service announcements and appeals by such anti-drunk-driving organizations as MADD, Canadians are still getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
If you have been involved in a DUI, you might feel guilt, shame and regret, especially if someone was hurt while you were in control of a vehicle when intoxicated. Yet apart from how you feel, there are some very concrete consequences to an Ontario impaired driving charge, including:
- Vehicle impound
- Fines or other administrative penalties
- Mandatory education, counselling and treatment programs, at your expense
- Mandatory installation of an alcohol screening device in your car, at your expense
- Higher insurance rates if you are labeled a ‘high risk’ driver
- Temporary or permanent suspension of your driver’s licence, which can have serious implications for your job as well as the loss of freedom
It’s not hard to see why ‘having a few’ and getting behind the wheel can change your life forever. However, the consequences may not end with the penalties listed above. The criminal record that results from an impaired driving charge can follow you for the rest of your life, unless you apply for a record suspension.
A criminal record is a matter of public record until it is sealed
You didn’t realize the impact a few drinks would have on your judgment and reflexes when you tried to drive home from that party and got into an accident, but now you know. You were charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, paid your fine, and completed the mandatory counselling. You’ll never try to drive under the influence again. But guess what? The criminal record you got is going to show up every time you apply for a job. It can interfere with your ability to be bonded, and it can stop you from doing the volunteer work you need for your school placement or professional certification. Yes, prospective employers will be able to see that it was ‘just’ a first offense, but how good of an impression are you likely to make on a future boss when he or she becomes aware that you drove drunk or high?
Years and even decades after your tragic mistake, the record will follow you – and not just in this country. You may have heard that the US is lenient with people whose only criminal offense was a vehicular one, and that may be true on some days, at some times, with some border officials. But it’s by no means a guarantee. You could bump up against that one customs agent who’s lost someone to a drunk driver. Because admittance to the US is discretionary, you are unlikely to get past such an agent now, or ever.
A record suspension is the only way to officially start over
While the Government of Canada is committed to punishing those who drive impaired, your punishment shouldn’t extend beyond prosecution to a lifetime of persecution. Getting a record suspension can effectively make your DUI charge invisible to people who are looking; getting a US entry waiver can ensure that border officials don’t learn that you once got into trouble for impaired driving. To find out more about how Dominion Pardons & Waivers can get you back on track again, call or click for a free consultation.
Call TOLL FREE 1-888-890-1321
or fill out the online inquiry below and have a qualified agent help you see if you are eligible to clear your criminal record with a Pardon, or gain access to the United States with an Entry Waiver.