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Viewing entries posted in March 2015
You've read a lot on this site about the potential consequences of an impaired driving or DUI charge in Calgary, including the potential for fines, mandatory alcohol and driver safety education classes, and even criminal penalties including jail time. The law takes drunk driving very seriously, and it's a big public safety concern, as well, for everyone on Calgary's roads.
One of the penalties prescribed by Alberta's impaired driving laws, and that many people convicted of DUIs in Calgary have had to contend with, is an ignition interlock. This DUI outcome has been mentioned here before, and it might not seem especially important compared to license suspensions, imprisonment, and other possible DUI outcomes, but these devices can be far more disruptive than you might think.
Shootings of any kind are thankfully quite rare in Calgary, and shootings that result in someone's death are rarer still. The fact that there have been two deaths as the result of shootings by Calgary Police in the past month is a tragic departure from our city's typical peacefulness, both in the events themselves and in the speculation and commentary that have followed in their wake.
It is central to the interests of justice, central to Canadian law, and central to the spirit of Calgary that people are not judged before all of the facts are in—that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Yet the two recent police shootings have polarized many in Calgary, leading to the condemnation of those killed in these incidents or, alternatively, to the condemnation of the Calgary Police officers who pulled the triggers.
Drunk driving remains a common cause of cases making their way through the Calgary courts, but not all DUI cases begin with alcohol consumption. Detection and evidence gathering by the Calgary Police can be more complex endeavors for impaired driving cases involving substances other than alcohol, but DUI cases involving other drugs are still vigorously prosecuted.
Drug-related DUI charges can also lead to just as much trouble as drunk driving offences, and arguably even more so in some cases. Make sure you know the legal risks involved whenever you get behind the wheel of your car with a controlled substance in your system, or you might find yourself at the mercy of Calgary Police and Alberta's impaired driving laws.
Alberta's crackdown on all kinds of crime, from harsher impaired driving or "DUI" laws to the increasing attention being paid to drug violations, has many hidden consequences. Some of these new laws can put innocent people and those accused of minor crimes at risk of potentially severe penalties, and that doesn't serve anyone in the province or our city of Calgary well.
Newer laws involving criminal organizations or gangs are especially worrisome. Not only are the penalties for gang-related behavior made harsher, in many cases, than the penalties for the same crime committed by non-gang members, but what constitutes a gang is now more broadly defined. Simply "participating" in a gang or other criminal organization is now a crime in and of itself, without any other illegal activity necessary for a charge to be laid against you.
You get second chances with a lot of things in life, but if you've been charged with a DUI offence in Calgary you want to get your defence done right the first time. Miss your chance, and you could find yourself with years of legal troubles and a lifetime spent with your DUI conviction following you around.
A recent story in the Calgary Sun reports the ranking of Calgary neighborhood crime rates according to 2014 statistics, just released by Calgary Police. The Sun story notes that the Beltline and downtown core show the highest crime rates, while eastside communities including Forest Law, Dover, Marlborough, and Falconridge are also among the highest.
At the same time, neighborhoods like Bel-Aire and most of the residential westside of Calgary have very low crime rates. These statistics are accurate and perhaps unsurprising, but they don't tell the full story of crime's development in Calgary.
What happens when you're charged with a DUI in Calgary? That depends in part on the context of your DUI, and also on the actions you take following your arrest. The sooner you contact a Calgary DUI lawyer, the better your chance of returning to your normal life quickly and with minimal interruption. A lawyer isn't required, but it can mean the difference between losing your driver's license, paying substantial fines, earning a criminal recording, and even spending time in jail.
You've seen a lot of information about facing DUI charges in Calgary on this site. Alberta's DUI laws, the approaches used by the Calgary police when it comes to finding impaired drivers, the penalties you might face if you are convicted of a DUI in the Calgary courts—all of these have been detailed at length in the information I've produced for this site.
Winter is finally showing signs of giving up, and that makes me as happy as anyone else in Calgary. Soon I'll be able to keep the office windows open, go for a nice stroll when I need a break from the desk-bound life of a defence lawyer, and get set for the coming Calgary summer and the quickened pace of the city as everything comes to life.
This is the second part of a two-part article series outlining what you can expect when facing a DUI charge in Calgary. For Part 1, click here.
Joseph Raymond Staels will soon be able to put the botched home robbery he took part in behind him, due to the efforts of Calgary defence lawyer Susan Karpa in her arguments before Judge Catherine Skene in October of last year.
Before you've faced a DUI charge in the Calgary area, you might have thought all cases were essentially the same, dealing with a clear and straightforward set of facts and consequences: someone got drunk and got behind the wheel of their car, got in an accident, and was charged with impaired driving or "DUI." There's no real defence, you might have thought; anyone charged with a DUI is bound to lose their license and face other penalties imposed by the Calgary courts.
You've seen plenty on this site about Alberta's harsher DUI penalties and you know that simply not getting behind the wheel when you've been even slightly impaired by alcohol or other drugs is the best way to keep yourself and others safe, and to stay out of legal trouble. But many in Calgary still make the mistake of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated—-what the Calgary Police and courts officially call "impaired driving"—so there are definitely some things that bear repeating.