By Richard Aitken
If you are facing a charge of 08, impaired driving, refuse or fail to provide a breath sample in Durham Region, you are going to be facing a wide range of costs.
Initially there will be certain non lawyer costs such as:
- Getting your vehicle back from the tow compound. Depending on your luck and which company impounds your car ; and where it was towed to, this could be several hundred dollars to a thousand or so;
- Re-instating your driver’s licence so that you are able to drive following the 90 day Administrative Driver’s Licence Suspension. Reinstatement fees are around $800.00.
- If you are convicted there will be dramatic increases in what it costs for car insurance, and these increases will last for at least a few years;
Should you be convicted, there is a fine of at least one thousand dollars (refuse or fail to provide the minimum is two thousand dollars) plus a 30% surcharge;
- If convicted, you will need to take the Back on Track Program. Back on track is currently $634.00 but it changes periodically and there can be additional local coats attached.
- A conviction will also require you to have Ignition Interlock installed. Once you have enrolled and completed the intake, they will notify the MTO who will notify the interlock installers, AlcoLock Canada (1-866-658-6374) and 1A LifeSafer of Canada (1-888-769-6080). You need to contact them and sign a contract so that they have an interlock device ready to install in your car at the 90 day point. It costs just over $150 to install and $100/month to keep it in.
- Potentially there are also indirect costs. A criminal conviction may impede your career or cause a job loss. There is a social stigma with any criminal conviction especially in the age of social media. A record might interrupt your chances of volunteering as a hockey coach. If you are not a Canadian citizen, deportation is possible.
With those potential costs in mind, it is important to put the cost of a lawyer in context. It can be expensive especially since no one plans on having to save up for a criminal lawyer. But properly researching and hiring an experienced impaired driving lawyer, might well save you money in the long run.
HOW DO I BOOK AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE LAWYER TO FIND OUT THE COST?
Generally speaking in person appointments are better. It gives you a chance to get interact with the lawyer better than if your initial contact is only by phone or video. However, in the age of social distancing, do what works best. Generally you can call the office for an appointment. Some websites also allow for online bookings.
The lawyer will want to know about your case. The police would have given you a few documents once you were released. If you have already attended your first court date, you may already have the Crown disclosure (police report). Make sure you bring all of that to the appointment or email it to the lawyer in advance.
Tell the lawyer a bit about yourself and how the charge is impacting you. What are your goals? It is also vital to inform the attorney if you have any related criminal record.
Usually by the end of the interview, money is discussed. Let the lawyer know the sort of budget you have and the sort of representation you need. Find out whether if you decide to hire the lawyer what the fees will be. Your discussion should include:
- Does the lawyer bill by the hour or use block or flat fees; if the matter is reduced to careless driving or dropped by the Crown, what will it cost? How about if it is a trial? If a Charter application is filed, will that increase the fee? If there is a plea of guilty what would the legal fees be?
- What is included and what is not included;
- If the Court is in a different city, does the lawyer charge for mileage and travel time?
- What realistic estimate can be given about the likely fee.
The conversation should likely cover other important information such as:
- What experience does the lawyer have in this particular area of law?
- Has the lawyer had any success in similar cases to yours before?
- If you decide to hire the lawyer, will that lawyer be the one who works on your file or will others be also involved?
- Check out the lawyer online. Does he or she have a good online reputation with lots of Google and other sorts of reviews? Compare client reviews to other lawyers.
- Does the lawyer have a useful website that shows that the lawyer has knowledge of DUI law?
At the end of the day decide if you feel comfortable that the lawyer will do their best in trying to achieve the best result for you.
Aitken Robertson’s office is just 3 blocks east of the Oshawa courthouse. We offer free 30 minute consults, and would be pleased to discuss your file with you. To book an appointment, please fill out the contact form on our website or call 905-725-3564.