Avoiding DUI Charges in Calgary: Knowledge is Your Best Defence

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Everyone knows that driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is dangerous. Impaired judgement, reduced control over your body, and slowed reaction times can all spell disaster for you, your passengers, and others on the road. And yet every day in Calgary, people still get behind the wheel when they've had one drink too many, and they think they can use various "tricks" to avoid a DUI or impaired driving charge.

If you ask this Calgary DUI defence lawyer, there's only one trick worth remembering: don't drink and drive. The health and safety considerations ought to be enough to keep you off the roads when you've been drinking, but even if you feel perfectly fine to drive and even if you obey all other traffic laws, you can be charged with impaired driving if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit of .05 (a BAC of .08 or above automatically leads to a criminal charge for impaired driving; a BAC of .05 or higher will result in an administrative charge). The Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies have expended powers when it comes to detecting and charging DUIs, so you're only safe choice is leaving the driving to someone else whenever you've had a drink.

Calgary's DUI Checkstops Have Been Ruled Legal in Alberta's Courts

The use of checkstops, where the Calgary Police or local RCMP set up roadblocks on public streets and stop all drivers for a sobriety check, has been controversial since their inception. Many citizens and citizen advocates—this defence lawyer included—consider these checkstops to be a violation of certain Charter rights and freedoms. They do away with the presumption of innocence, treating every driver as guilty until the driver proves otherwise, and they impede the flow of lawful and normal traffic without any evidence that a crime is being committed.

Yet despite these serious problems with the use of checkstops, and despite the legal challenges to DUI checkstops that have been raised in the courts, the Calgary Police continue to use this tactic on certain holidays and special events here in Calgary, and they continue to lay impaired driving/DUI charges as a result of stops made at these checkstops. Driving through a checkstop, you can be subjected to a breath analysis of your BAC and/or required to perform roadside sobriety tests, even if you haven't had anything to drink and haven't exhibited any problems driving according to the rules of the road.

In fact, you can be required to perform a breath analysis and/or roadside sobriety test during any routine traffic stop if a law enforcement officer simply suspects that you may have been drinking. Refusing to comply with such a request is an offence in and of itself, and will likely lead to your arrest even if you are completely sober.

Contact a Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer Today

The best way to avoid a DUI charge in Calgary is to stay off the road if you've had anything to drink. Even that isn't foolproof, however. If you find yourself facing a charge for impaired driving in the Calgary area, it's in your best interests to contact an experienced DUI defence lawyer immediately.

For a free initial consultation, please contact my office today.

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