3 Components of a Calgary DUI Defence: Part 1 - The Law

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Though the number of impaired driving or "DUI" charges in Calgary has been declining for years, our city still sees more than a thousand DUI arrests every year. That is just within the City of Calgary itself, to say nothing of the Greater Calgary Area and the rest of Alberta. That means there's a lot of people in Calgary and throughout the province who need to mount an effective DUI defence.

Not all of them do.

Any effective defence against any charge laid in the Calgary courts begins with understanding the various components of that charge. For impaired driving/DUI charges, the first important component is the law itself.

Defining Impaired Driving Under Alberta's DUI Laws

According to the law, if you are intoxicated by any substance while operating a vehicle on public roads or highways, you can be charged with impaired driving. It doesn't matter whether or not the substance is a legal drug like alcohol, a pharmaceutical like oxycontin, or something wholly illicit such as cocaine or methamphetamine. There is also no "safe" amount of a substance to have in your system.

If your driving is impaired, you can be charged with impaired driving.

That being said, there are specific thresholds that can impact your case. You can potentially be charged with impaired driving for having any measurable amount of an illegal intoxicant in your system at the time of a traffic stop. Similarly, you can be charged with an administrative penalty if your blood alcohol content is found to be .05 or higher—and you could face a criminal charge with a blood alcohol content at or above .08.

The law also establishes specific penalties for alcohol-related DUIs based on blood alcohol content or BAC. Some of these penalties can be incurred automatically upon an arrest or DUI charge with initial breathalyzer confirmation of a BAC measurement, despite the fact that breathalyzer accuracy has been called into question.

As these penalties can include the immediate seizure of your vehicle and suspension of your driver's license, make no mistake: your DUI defence begins the moment you are arrested or charged.

The law sets strict limits and punishments for impaired driving, and as you'll see in the next part of this article it gives law enforcement a lot of authority in investigating and pursuing cases of suspected DUI. But it also gives you the right to partner with a knowledgeable and experienced defence lawyer—something we'll cover in depth in the third part of this article. Contacting a lawyer as soon as your case begins, which is the second you are arrested or learn of an impaired driving charge, is the best way to protect your rights and interests.

Contact a Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer Today

If you or a family member has been arrested for a DUI or charged with impaired driving in the Greater Calgary Area, don't wait to get the assistance you're entitled to. Contact the office of Susan G. Karpa, one of Calgary's leading DUI defence lawyers, and get the help you deserve!

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