How can I avoid a criminal record if I am guilty of a DUI?

>>>How can I avoid a criminal record if I am guilty of a DUI?

man behind jail bars with criminal record for a DUI

In rare circumstances, even if you are found guilty of a DUI offence (such as Impaired Driving or Over 80 or Care or Control), it is possible to avoid a criminal record.

The general rule is that if you are found guilty of a DUI, you will receive a criminal record and a mandatory sentence (see What is the penalty if I plead guilty or am found guilty of a DUI? Section)

The exception to this general rule is if you are eligible for a “curative discharge.” A curative discharge is available where an offender has been convicted of, or pled guilty to, an impaired driving offence, but can demonstrate that they suffer from a substance abuse problem and are in need of curative treatment. The offender must also meet the following conditions in order to satisfy the Court that it is not contrary to the public interest to grant a curative discharge:

  • Good faith attempts to overcome addiction,
  • Motivation to achieve recovery,
  • Reasonable likelihood of being able to overcome addiction.

In order to demonstrate that you are in need of curative treatment and that it is not contrary to the public interest to grant a curative discharge, an expert report is necessary. These reports are typically produced by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

If you receive a curative discharge you will receive a period of probation that will include substance abuse treatment. When the period of probation has been completed, your impaired driving conviction will be “discharged” from your record. You will not receive the $1,000 fine, however, your license will be suspended for a minimum of one year.

It is important to note that you cannot receive a curative discharge for a conviction for refusal to provide a sample.

For specific information regarding your claim, please select the location that's closest to you.


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All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.