Driving impaired under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a serious criminal offence in Canada, and Manitoba’s impaired driving laws are among the toughest in the country. If you have been charged with impaired driving, the most pressing question on your mind is likely whether you should plead guilty or not guilty.
Every situation is unique, and only a professional defence attorney with expertise in DUI cases will be able to advise you in this matter properly. That being said, pleading guilty to DUI charges can trigger severe, irreversible consequences, and you should never do so without first seeking legal counsel.
Below, we’ve provided a brief overview of DUIs in Manitoba and some of the benefits and drawbacks of a not-guilty plea. For more in-depth advice, reach out directly to our legal team at Brodsky Amy & Gould.
What Is a DUI?
DUI (driving under the influence), more frequently referred to as impaired driving in Manitoba, is a criminal offence. If police officers suspect that you are operating a vehicle in an impaired state, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test. If your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit, you will face penalties and fines, your vehicle will be impounded, and your driver’s licence will be suspended. Depending on your level of impairment, you may also face criminal charges and possible jail time if convicted.
Should I Plead Guilty to DUI charges?
While your lawyer may ultimately advise you to plead guilty to impaired driving charges and seek a plea bargain, you should never do so automatically. Even if your breath test results are above the legal limit, this does not necessarily mean you will be convicted of impaired driving.
Potential Consequences of a Guilty Plea
- Licence suspension, fines, installation of an ignition interlock device, mandated education and/or treatment
- Dramatic increases in insurance rates
- Permanent criminal record
- Possible jail time
- Possible impacts on employment, travel, and immigration
What Happens if I Plead Not Guilty?
If you plead not guilty to an impaired driving conviction, you will have a pending charge while you await your trial date and time for your lawyer to build the strongest case possible.
Pros of a Not-Guilty Plea
The primary benefit of a not-guilty plea is that you may ultimately be found not guilty and fully acquitted. (This means you will have all charges dropped and won’t carry a criminal record.)
Potential Cons of a Not-Guilty Plea
- A criminal trial can be time-consuming and costly.
- If you are ultimately found guilty, you may be at higher risk of receiving a jail sentence because you did not plead guilty initially.
Winnipeg Criminal Defence Lawyers
Navigating impaired driving charges is no simple task, but your chances of securing a favourable outcome are exponentially higher when you engage the services of the highly qualified and experienced legal team at Brodsky Amy & Gould. Contact us directly today for more information about how to approach your impaired driving charges in Manitoba.