What is a curative discharge?

By Last Updated: July 26, 2022

A curative discharge is a special type of discharge that is granted to those who have been charged with impaired driving, or driving over .08, and who are in need of curative treatment. Curative discharges are available in all provinces in Canada except for British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland.

In addition to a criminal record, those who are convicted of an impaired driving offence will receive a mandatory one year driving suspension, a minimum of a $1000.00 fine, and a 30% victim surcharge. However, a curative discharge is a sentencing option that will allow an offender to avoid being convicted of a criminal offence if that person can prove that he or she was in need of curative treatment at the time of the offence.

While curative discharges are available for those who have been charged with impaired driving or over .08, note that it is not available to those who have been convicted of refusing to provide a breath sample.

If you are granted a curative discharge, you will be placed on a period of probation which will typically require that you abide by conditions such as keep the peace and be of good behaviour, report to a probation service, refrain from consuming or possessing alcohol, and refrain from going to businesses where the primary object of the business is the sale of alcohol. While you will not be convicted of an impaired driving offence, you will still be required to comply with the one year minimum driving prohibition and will need to pay a victim surcharge.

How To Get A Curative Discharge

Because it is a unique sentencing measure, a curative discharge is not easily granted. If you want to seek out a curative discharge, you will have to set a date in court typically four to six months down the line to provide you with ample time to obtain the evidence that you will need to support your application. In order to successfully apply for a curative discharge, you will require the following:

  • Medical proof from a doctor that you did in fact suffer from an alcohol addiction at the time of the offence; and,
  • Proof that you have sought out intensive curative treatment since the offence. This will typically include proof that you had successfully completed an in-patient treatment program or detox program, and are seeking ongoing counselling and support from an addictions support group.

In addition to the foregoing, you will have to convince the judge that discharging you from your offence would not be contrary to the public interest. When considering whether a curative discharge is in the public interest, the court will generally consider factors such as:

  • The offender’s prior criminal record, and whether they have other alcohol related offences on his or her record;
  • The likelihood of the offender’s rehabilitation following treatment;
  • How motivated the offender is to complete the program and how motivated the offender is to refrain from driving under the influence again; and,
  • The circumstances of the offence, specifically whether the offender caused damage to persons or property.

If you think that you might be a suitable candidate for a curative discharge and believe that this may be an effective way to address your impaired driving charges, contact one of our lawyers right away. We will be able to review the merits of your case and help you develop an aggressive treatment plan that will be well received by our courts. Further, we will be able to make full and effective submissions on your behalf before the court, and ensure that your case is presented in the best manner possible.

About The Author

Michael Oykhman

Managing Partner

Michael Oykhman is a senior lawyer and founder of Strategic Criminal Defence, a full-service criminal law firm with central law offices across Western Canada and Ontario.

My professional experience consists of countless court appearances and thousands of successful defences and satisfied clients. Over the last 10 years, I have worked to build a law office where all the lawyers share our collective experience, resources, and passion to help people. Our team approach to legal representation is client–rather than only law–centred. We look for opportunities to add value to our clients through strategic thinking and creative solutions.

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