New Year, Same Tough Calgary DUI Laws

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It's a new year, and hopefully everyone reading this rang it in with a fun celebration and safety on the roads—meaning without any impaired driving or "DUI" (driving under the influence). You almost certainly know that getting behind the wheel when you're under the influence of alcohol and other drugs is unsafe, and you probably know that it's against the law, too. Because the winter holiday season is also a high season for DUIs in Calgary, though, this DUI defence lawyer thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone just how tough Calgary's DUI laws are.

Calgary Law Recognizes Two Levels of Alcohol-Related Impaired Driving/DUI

Alberta enacted new laws establishing criminal penalties for DUIs—known as "impaired driving" in official legal lingo—back in 2012. This law establishes two different levels of alcohol-related DUIs based on blood alcohol content or BAC, which is a measure of how much alcohol is in your system. Anyone driving in the Calgary area or throughout Alberta who is behind the wheel with a BAC of .05 or higher can be charged with an administrative offence for impaired driving. Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher moves that administrative charge to a full criminal charge.

An administrative DUI is still a serious charge, and can result in a hefty fine, a vehicle seizure, and even the temporary suspension of your license. It can be enormously disruptive to your life, and can affect your family and your career, as well. A criminal charge carries all of the same potential penalties, and in fact the laws in effect in Calgary make a license suspension automatic and immediate if a roadside breathalyzer or other diagnostic test shows a BAC of .08 or higher.

It's important to remember that knowing the BAC limits for administrative and criminal DUI offence in Calgary isn't enough to protect you from an impaired driving charge. Different people are affected by alcohol differently. If a Calgary Police officer conducts a field sobriety tests and determines that you are impaired, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are below the legally established BAC limits. Similarly, even if you feel you are not at all impaired, you can and will be charged with a DUI if you are behind the wheel with a BAC over the legal limit.

You can also be charged with impaired driving if you are under the influence of any other substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, or even prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin. While the focus of Alberta's DUI laws was on creating stricter punishments and criminal guidelines for drivers impaired by alcohol, it is still illegal to drive in Calgary or throughout Alberta if your judgment and/or motor skills are impaired by any substance.

Stay safe, and stay on the right side of the law. When you're driving in Calgary, make sure you're sober.

Contact a Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer for Your Impaired Driving Case

If you've been charged with impaired driving or "DUI" in Calgary, partnering with an experienced defence lawyer is your best way forward. For a free initial consultation, contact my office today.

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