An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to provide you legal counsel, tell you your rights, and advise you on the best course of action. Impaired driving cases are some of the most complicated criminal offences in Ontario.
Charges of drunk driving, “over 80”, impaired driving, refuse breathalyzer, or care and control, are among the most complicated areas of Canadian criminal law. What may seem like an impossible case to a layperson is a case full of legal issues to the trained eye of a professional DUI lawyer.
The criminal lawyers of Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman have extensive experience defending persons charged with impaired driving offences. We make use of every defence available to ensure the very best possible outcome. In 2005, Mr. Prutschi became one of a very small group of lawyers to become qualified to perform screening and evidentiary testing on the Intoxilyzer 5000 – the very same model used to take breath samples by every police department in Canada for many years and the direct precursor to the model 8000 now coming into service. This specialized certification provides our clients with a powerful edge in court when cross-examining police breath technicians. When interviewing dui lawyers under consideration for your impaired driving related case, be sure to ask them if they are certified Intoxilyzer Breath Alcohol Technicians.
The decision on whether to hire an impaired driving lawyer is up to the person charged with the offence. However, we strongly recommend anyone charged with this type of offence to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Impaired driving charges are extremely complicated, and this is a specialized area of law that requires experience and knowledge. An impaired driving lawyer can guide you through the process and help you understand the specific issues that may relate to your case.
The Criminal Code of Canada prescribes a mandatory minimum penalty, meaning that upon a finding of guilt a Judge has no discretion and MUST at the very minimum impose the following sentence:
This mandatory minimum has existed for some time now, however, recently, the judges have been imposing jail sentences for first offenders, even where no one was injured. For example in R. v. Patel,  O.J. No. 5757, Justice Rose in his sentencing decision referred to the high number of drinking and driving offences in Canada, and in the Newmarket Jurisdiction in particular and imposed a 45 day jail sentence for a first time offender, where there was no accident and no one was hurt.
A denial of parole for a first time non-violent (not specifically violent) offender is rare. Continuous incarceration is not only contrary to rehabilitation goals but is extremely costly to the public. If the recent parole Board decision in the Muzzo case tells us anything it is that Drinking and Driving offences are viewed extremely seriously by the Courts, the penalties are already high and will continue to rise.
There are thousands of criminal lawyers in Toronto, and many that claim to specialize in DUI or impaired driving cases. But not all lawyers are the same. Having the right lawyer by your side as you fight DUI charges in Toronto can make a huge difference in the outcome of the case. But with all of the options out there, it can be hard to tell the good lawyers from the bad ones. These are the 4 most important qualities you should look for when hiring a DUI lawyer in Toronto.
It’s important you find a lawyer that specializes and is educated in DUI laws and regulations. Laws are constantly shifting, so finding a lawyer that actively works on DUI cases is important. Make sure you ask how many DUI cases they’ve worked on, how much experience they have in general, and whether they’re up to date on all the regulations in the GTA.
People often overlook their personal feelings and relationship with their lawyer. DUI charges are serious and can have lasting consequences on your life. Hiring a lawyer you don’t trust, like, or respect can only end badly. This person will be responsible for the outcome of your case, so it’s important that you have confidence in them when you enter the courtroom.
Experience, knowledge, and skills are important but don’t underestimate your gut feelings when it comes to picking a lawyer. If you can’t work well with them, don’t expect them to work well on your behalf.
This is where past client testimonials and reviews come into play. You want to hire a DUI lawyer that has a good reputation in Toronto. If past clients have had issues with them, chances are you will too. It’s important to find a lawyer that not only is easy to work with, but that works ethically and morally. Reputation is important beyond past clients too. A lawyer with a poor reputation in the court system will only work against you. Find a DUI lawyer that is respected in Toronto, by both citizens and the court system.
Never underestimate the importance of communication, time management, and organization – especially for lawyers. Larger law firms will have assistants and fellow lawyers to help with the workload, but regardless of their resources, a good DUI lawyer in Toronto should be able to file all of the necessary paperwork on time.
Communication is especially important. DUI lawyers need to be able to communicate effectively with you and to the courts. If you find yourself leaving the meeting unclear about what needs to happen, that could be a warning sign.