When it comes to criminal records in Canada, there are many stipulations, exceptions, and caveats that complicate the answer to the question, “How long does a DUI stay on your record?” Today, you can learn more about what these stipulations and exceptions entail.
What is a DUI Charge?
The first part of understanding the realities of a DUI is to learn what it is. A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is a penalty given to people found to be operating a motor vehicle while inebriated or using drugs or alcohol. Typically, alcohol and marijuana are the main causes for the laying of these charges, but any mind-altering substance may invite these charges.
In the past, this charge did not exist, and especially not for alcohol. However, larger and larger bodies of evidence made it clear that operating a motor vehicle was simply not possible when under the influence, and laws were passed in order to reduce the incidents. Although, the lateness of criminalizing this act has caused problems, such as a decentralized approach to regulation in Canada.
Therefore, it makes sense that DUI is still the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. Indeed, in 2017, more than 69,000 reports of driving under the influence were made to police authorities. But, this does not account for the many cases not reported, or the incidents where no property damage or bodily harm occurred.
What is Being Done Now?
Now, there are more complications than ever to DUI charges. Of course, heavy penalization occurs in most provinces, with the exception of recent changes in Alberta. Usually, these charges involve three typical methods of punishment.
First, there may be a fine or monetary charge associated with your criminal charge. In some cases, this can take the form of a bail amount. Or, it may be a personal fine, payable to the direct branch of the legal system responsible for the criminal charge, which is typically the transportation ministry.
Second, there is a chance your licence will be suspended for a length of time. Sometimes, this may be as short as three days, but it might go as high as 90 days or longer in certain areas. The severity of the charge often plays a significant role in determining the length of the suspension.
Finally, certain jurisdictions will give jail time to people caught driving under the influence. In some ways, this punishment is similar to licence suspensions, in that the crime’s seriousness is the deciding factor. However, if the DUI charge involves injury to another person, the chances are very high that prison time will follow.
How Do Charges Differ by Jurisdiction?
The first way that your criminal record will differ is by jurisdiction. Criminal records are the responsibility of municipalities, provinces, and federal institutions. Therefore, the storage/ retaining limit of them changes, based on who is responsible for the records and who is laying the charge.
For instance, in Alberta, they institute a 10-year lookback period for DUI offences, which is one of the longest terms in Candian jurisdictions. However, through the federal government’s Criminal Code of Canada, there is a lifelong record. As a result, you may have to consider different levels of government to understand the length of your record.
However, the unfortunate reality is that almost all jurisdictions in Canada will enter their information into the same database, which means your criminal record will always reflect a completed DUI charge. Therefore, the most effective way to deal with a DUI charge is to avoid getting one in the first place.
What Should I Do When Charged with a DUI?
Understandably, there may be reasons that you still get charged with a DUI. Human nature is not prone to following all the many rules of our society. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you should contact a DUI lawyer at your earliest opportunity. They will provide you with the knowledge and information you need to reduce your sentence and advocate for your rights.