Calgary DUI Laws and Your Defence

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There is no question that impaired driving—commonly known in Calgary as "DUI" or driving under the influence—presents a health and safety concern. Driving while intoxicated, by alcohol or any other substance, greatly increases your risk of having an accident and causing serious injury to yourself and/or others, not to mention potential damage to property (including your own vehicle). These concerns provide the most important reason not to drink and drive, or to ingest any other intoxicating substance before getting behind the wheel.

All questions of legality aside, committing to driving only when sober is important for your own future and for your role as part of the larger Calgary community.

Still, one single mistake shouldn't be able to ruin your future, but a DUI conviction can have that effect. It is also entirely possible to be charged with impaired driving even if you were perfectly sober at the time of the charge. These are both compelling reasons for you to make sure you understand Calgary's DUI laws and how a lawyer can assist you by providing the most effective possible defence against your impaired driving charge.

DUI Laws in Calgary
Alberta enacted new DUI laws in 2012 that create two different thresholds for alcohol-related DUIs. If you are found to be operating a vehicle on Calgary's roads with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .05 or higher, but less than .08, you will be facing an administrative charge. You face an immediate license suspension and vehicle seizure upon your arrest/charge, and if you are found guilty of the charge you can face a monetary fine and be required to attend a course on safe driving. Subsequent administrative offences can lead to longer suspensions and seizures, higher fines, and additional courses.

Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher can result in a criminal charge, which can include all of the above penalties (with longer license suspensions and vehicle seizures automatically imposed and higher fines upon a conviction), with the added possibility of a jail term. Subsequent criminal offences can lead to steeper penalties, including longer jail sentences. In many criminal DUI cases, your license will remain suspended until your case is resolved in a Calgary court.

You can also be charged with a DUI if you are found to be intoxicated by a substance other than alcohol. This can mean a prescription drug even if you are taking it legally, illicit drugs such as cocaine or marijuana (which is still a controlled substance despite its impending legalization), and even "over-the-counter" medications like many cold medicines that can cause drowsiness or impaired judgement.

Contacting a Calgary DUI Lawyer is Your Best Defence
The law also entitles you to consult with an experienced Calgary DUI defence lawyer if you've been charged with a DUI. The sooner you contact a lawyer and start getting professional assistance, the easier it will be to put your impaired driving charge behind you.

For a free initial consultation, please contact the office of Susan Karpa today.

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