Viewing entries posted in November 2014

Defending Calgary, One Page at a Crime

Posted by Susan Karpa on 27 November 2014

As you might have guessed, the practice of criminal defence in a city the size of Calgary is nowhere near as glamorous or action-packed as television and film would have you believe. Not only does my job require extensive legal research and case analysis, but it also requires hours of writing, filling out, and otherwise handling paperwork.

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A Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer's Perspective on Drug Offences

Posted by Susan Karpa on 26 November 2014

Attitudes towards the criminalization of drug possession have been undergoing significant changes in Calgary and throughout Canada over the past few decades, in response to an increasingly evidence-based look at how criminalizing drug use impacts the rates and outcomes of drug use. Criminal defence lawyers have more reason than most to stay up-to-date on their knowledge of drug use and drug offence laws in Calgary, and that knowledge can help everyone, not just persons accused of drug-related crimes, understand the problem of drug criminality now and as it might look in the future.

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Beyond the Criminal Dangers of a Calgary DUI/DWI

Posted by Susan Karpa on 25 November 2014

Several past articles on this blog have discussed the risk factors and dangers of a DUI/DWI charge in Calgary, primarily from a legal and criminal justice perspective. While it is important for every driver on Calgary's roads to know the laws and how one can be affected by them, it is also important to know the inherent physical dangers drivers present to themselves, their passengers, others on the road, and to private and public property. These dangers are very real, and are the underlying motive behind administrative and criminal charges for impaired driving.

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Calgary Crime Detection Goes High Tech

Posted by Susan Karpa on 20 November 2014

In a controversial move, Calgary police have announced that they will begin using a new face-identification software to aid in their criminal investigations.

Using a database of existing mugshots from convicted criminals and non-convicted suspects—a database that is likely to grow rapidly now that Calgary police are all equipped with body cameras that can store pictures of everyone they encounter—the NeoFace software can compare crime scene photo and video footage to stored faces and find matches far more quickly than a manual search.

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A Personal Note on Calgary Gangs

Posted by Susan Karpa on 18 November 2014

Taking the long view, and in many cases the short one, it's easy to say that no one benefits from gangs. Not Calgary as a whole, not the communities and neighborhoods where gangs are most prominent, not the families and friends of gang members, and not even the gang members themselves.

That being said, gangs exist and people continue to join them because they do seem to offer certain immediate benefits. Camaraderie, security, and a sense of belonging are the biggest. People turn to gangs because they see them as the best alternative, and in a city as wonderful and full of opportunities as Calgary, that means gangs exist because there is a serious perception problem.

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Finding a Calgary Defence Lawyer for Impaired Driving Offences

Posted by Susan Karpa on 17 November 2014


New laws and harsher penalties imposed by Alberta's government have made impaired driving—also known as driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DUI or DWI)—less common in Calgary than it used to be, but there are still many residents of the Calgary area accused of impaired driving each year. Alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, and even prescription medication can lead to impaired driving offences, and even the most responsible drivers can find themselves facing an impaired driving charge.

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Understanding Calgary Gangs from a Criminal Defence Lawyer's Perspective

Posted by Susan Karpa on 10 November 2014

In an article shared here last week, we saw how new and ongoing research is continuing to shed light on the problems of gang-related crime and violence in the Calgary area. This article noted that many new immigrants and first-generation Canadians in Calgary and surrounding cities such as Airdrie and Cochrane feel shut out of Calgarian society at large, and might even face physical violence at the hands of other residents, making gangs seem an attractive alternative to a life of near-constant threat and oppression.

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A Few Top DUI / DWI Tips From a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer

Posted by Susan Karpa on 7 November 2014

While Alberta's new DUI/DWI laws have helped reduce the number of drivers who choose to take to Calgary's roads when they're not sober, they haven't eliminated the problem altogether. And, of course, they've made the legal troubles facing those who choose to drive after too many drinks even tougher, meaning you could face more severe and longer-lasting sanctions if you are convicted of a DUI/DWI.

These harsher penalties—in addition to the harm drunk driving can cause to people's safety and their property—make it even more important for Calgary drivers to know their limits and to make sure they avoid a DUI/DWI. For that reason, here are the three top DUI/DWI tips straight from an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer to you.

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Why Some Calgary Newcomers May Turn to Gangs

Posted by Susan Karpa on 5 November 2014

Calgary has faced, and continues to face, the gang-related crime found in most cities with a large and diverse population. While social programs and law enforcement efforts have been somewhat successful in curbing gang activity in the city and of mitigating its worst effects, the best way for Calgary and the criminal justice system to handle gang-related crimes is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Though this may seem obvious, it is easier said than done.

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Airdrie Growth and Imported Calgary Crime?

Posted by Susan Karpa on 4 November 2014

The Airdrie RCMP has requested 24 additional officers to be added to their force over the next three years—eight officers added each year from 2015 to 2017—at an estimated cost of about $6 million, according to Alderman Allan Hunter, who is also a member of the police advisory committee.

"This addresses the growth we are at right now," said Hunter. “We were at critical mass a while ago. We have looked at all of our options and this is the best way to achieve safety in our community. We have responsibilities to protect our citizens and we need to give officers every tool and support so they can come home to their families at the end of the day."

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The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part 10

Posted by Susan Karpa on 3 November 2014


This is the tenth and final article in a series detailing what you might expect in many Calgary area criminal defence cases. Previous installments can be found here: 
[Part One], [Part Two], [Part Three], [Part Four], [Part Five], [Part Six], [Part Seven], [Part Eight], [Part Nine]

In this article series, you've seen how a typical criminal defence case might progress from an initial complaint or investigation all the way through a trial. Though every case is unique, including in the details of each trial as it progresses, it is hoped that you've developed a basic understanding of what can be expected at each stage of a criminal proceeding through the Calgary or surrounding regional courts.

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