Drunk Driving is Down in Calgary: What That Means for Your DUI Defence (Part 2)

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In Part 1 of this article, you read about the reason Alberta changed its approach to impaired driving (also commonly called "drunk driving" or "DUI") with harsh new legislation that includes a criminal charge and automatic penalties for both administrative and criminal charges—penalties that can occur before you even have a chance to mount a DUI defence. The idea behind the laws was to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road; looking at the province as a whole, the laws don't seem to have had much if any impact in that regard.

In Calgary, however, DUI rates have dropped according to the Calgary Police in the years since the new drunk driving laws were implemented. Since we know it can't be a result of the impaired driving laws themselves—we'd see the impact throughout Alberta if that was the case, not just here in Calgary—there are two big questions to ask:

Why are we seeing a falling DUI rate in Calgary, and how might this impact the law and your defence against drunk driving charges?

Tougher Drunk Driving Laws Don't Explain the Drop in Calgary DUIs

The answer to the first question is, it's not entirely clear. What we can tell from looking at Alberta as a whole is that the new DUI laws enacted in 2012 don't appear to be the main cause behind Calgary's drop in DUIs—if the law were the cause of the drop in impaired driving charges, we'd see a similar drop across the entire province, and we don't.

The likely cause of the observed drop in Calgary DUIs is increased public awareness of the risks of drunk driving, driven by a number of ad campaigns and public service announcements undertaken as initiatives within the City of Calgary. The Calgary Police have also been very aggressive in going after those they suspect of DUIs, including through the use of Check Stops or sobriety checkpoints where they stop every vehicle regardless of suspicion or reasonable cause.

Some argue that these Check Stops are not very effective, as social media offers easy ways to learn about them and plan alternate routes simply to avoid the hassle and the wait, however Calgary Police credit such stops with discouraging impaired driving and thus driving down the drunk driving rate in the city. The increased police presence and attention to drunk drivers in Calgary may have something to do with the overall drop, however.

The true cause of the lower drunk driving rates in Calgary are a matter of debate, and may never be fully known. It's certainly not a bad thing, as it keeps everyone safer and out of harm's way, yet it also means the police and the Calgary courts are cracking down hard on the fewer drivers they do suspect of impaired driving—and how that affects your defence is something we'll take a look at in Part 3 of this article.

Contact a Calgary Drunk Driving Defence Lawyer Today

If you or a family member has been accused of drunk driving in or around the Greater Calgary Area, you are entitled to speak with an experienced defence lawyer. For a free initial consultation, please contact the office of Calgary DUI defence lawyer Susan Karpa today.

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