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Viewing entries tagged with 'impaired driving'
In this third installment of a Calgary DUI defence lawyer's top advice, learn how to best defend yourself against impaired driving charges in Calgary.
The Calgary DUI defence lawyer's advice continues, moving on from Calgary's impaired driving laws to discuss the potential penalties.
The best info on Calgary DUIs from the most reliable source: a DUI defence lawyer with YOUR interests in mind.
Continuing a previous article, a Calgary DUI defence lawyer speaks out about the several DUI law pitfalls Calgary drivers may fall into.
In Part 1 of this article I provided a few words of warning regarding Calgary DUI laws. Specifically, we discussed the broad powers that the Calgary Police and other law enforcement officers have when it comes to investigating suspected or potential DUIs. Though many of these enhanced powers are legally and ethically controversial, they remain the law of the land in Calgary and throughout Alberta, and everyone in Calgary should be aware of them.
Do you know how easy it is to be charged with a DUI in Calgary? One DUI defence lawyer is speaking out, and her warning is something you need to hear!
In Part 1 of this article, you read that your best defence against an impaired driving or "DUI" charge in Calgary is to avoid getting one in the first place. It might seem like unimpressive advice, but it's the most important thing for everyone to keep in mind, for both their legal and their personal safety. Not only is it dangerous to drive while you're intoxicated, but you're at serious legal risk—and facing serious consequences—if you drive when you even might be intoxicated or have intoxicants in your system.
As you read in Part 1 of this article, DUI charges are among the most common criminal charges brought against Calgary citizens and filed with the Calgary courts. You also learned that the new DUI laws in Calgary not only establish criminal charges for DUIs involving a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or higher, but that they also establish much harsher penalties for DUIs than previously existed and, most importantly, grant broad powers to the Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies when it comes to invading your privacy—and arguably even your rights—in their investigation of DUIs.
Everyone knows that driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is dangerous. Impaired judgement, reduced control over your body, and slowed reaction times can all spell disaster for you, your passengers, and others on the road. And yet every day in Calgary, people still get behind the wheel when they've had one drink too many, and they think they can use various "tricks" to avoid a DUI or impaired driving charge.
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.
It's true that winter brings some additional obstacles and a few annoyances to Calgary every year, but it also brings a lot of beauty to our bustling city. Everything slows down a bit—they have to, thanks to the weather—and we get a chance to breathe in the fresh, cold air and enjoy the break before the busy spring returns (our long winters make us all the more appreciative of our springs and summers, too, so this colder season is a boon to Calgary in many ways).
If you or a close family member has suddenly been charged with a DUI—impaired driving or "driving under the influence"—your mind might be reeling. Intimidating statements by the Calgary Police, official notice of charges that could have you facing steep fines and even jail time, and the disruption to your life that this incident can bring are enough to make anyone panic.
In Part 1 of this article, you learned that a Calgary DUI defence lawyer can be helpful in defending you against impaired driving charges in numerous ways. For one, a lawyer will be able to take over the paperwork and other day to day elements of your defence, handling the Calgary courts so you don't have to. With greater knowledge of the criminal justice system and prior experience handling DUI defences, the right lawyer can help your case progress more quickly and effectively while taking the stress of managing your case off your shoulders.
Calgary's DUI laws make it all too easy for anyone to find themselves facing an impaired driving charge. It has even been argued that the DUI laws enacted throughout Alberta several years ago violated certain key provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with automatic penalties and broad investigative powers for the Calgary Police and other law enforcement officers that could be deemed excessively intrusive. Yet, so far, these DUI laws have been upheld, and these are the DUI laws you and everyone in Calgary has to contend with.
There's no such thing as a "minor" DUI or impaired driving charge—not when you're the one facing the charges and the potential punishments. Even an administrative penalty can be a major disruption to your life and your livelihood, and can cost you a significant amount financially and in terms of the stigma it carries.
Most people in Calgary think of a DUI charge—"driving under the influence," officially called an impaired driving charge under Alberta law— as involving drinking and driving. When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the threshold limit(s), you can find yourself facing a DUI.
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.
There have been several news stories of late regarding BAC measuring devices known as breathalyzers, including a prominent story that concerned some overturned impaired driving convictions or dismissed DUI cases as a result of improper maintenance records. Because these stories have caused something of a stir here in Calgary, this defence lawyer thought she'd speak up with some quick facts.
Recently, there have been cases in Alberta where those charged with drunk driving have seen their cases dismissed or charges lessened. This unusual circumstance has arisen because the companies responsible for maintenance on breath alcohol analysis machines or "breathalyzers" have failed to turn over the maintenance records for those machines.
Calgary’s impaired driving laws carry some stiff penalties for those found driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance. However, Calgary drivers can take effective steps to avoid incurring DUI charges in the first place. While Alberta's new impaired driving laws make it possible to face criminal charges and automatic penalties even if you aren't actually intoxicated,the information in this article will help keep you and those around you safer, while also giving you the best chance at avoiding an impaired driving charge.
Beginning in 2012, many changes were made to the impaired driving laws in Alberta. These changes can affect every Calgary driver, regardless of whether or not they’re intoxicated. Some of these penalties take effect immediately upon an arrest or charge for DUI, possibly leaving drivers without their vehicles and driving privileges before they’ve even had a chance to defend themselves against the charges.
Calgary’s DUI laws carry a variety of penalties, one of which is the suspension of your driver’s license. An immediate roadside license suspension may be imposed following a breath alcohol analysis test. It’s important to note that just because an immediate suspension has occurred, or you’re facing other administrative penalties or impaired driving charges, doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily committed a crime--breathalyzers can malfunction, and law enforcement errors can also lead to automatic penalties for you.
If you've been reading this blog at all, or if you have another source for all the DUI news in Calgary, you know by now that Alberta established new limits and new penalties for impaired driving back in 2012. You know that driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 or greater can result in an administrative charge, and that driving with a BAC of .08 or greater can result in a criminal charge, with automatic penalties that begin the moment of your arrest and can continue until your case is resolved in the Calgary courts.
While it's best not to get behind the wheel in Calgary if you've had any alcohol to drink whatsoever, the law does define specific thresholds based on BAC or blood alcohol content that are used in many DUI cases to establish whether an administrative charge or criminal charge is warranted. Remember, though: your body is unique, and while you can estimate your BAC based on the number of drinks you've had in a given timeframe this is far from an exact measure.
In Part 1 of this article, you learned about the issue of first and primary importance when it comes to your Calgary DUI: Alberta's impaired driving laws. They define the administrative and criminal charges for DUIs as well as the penalties that go with them, some of which—like vehicle seizures and driver's license suspensions—can occur automatically, before you've truly had a chance to mount a defence.
OK, drinking before you drive anywhere is never a good idea. The Calgary Police are particularly zealous about tracking down and arresting people for DUI, but the legal trouble you could get in shouldn't be your only—or even your primary—reason for staying out of the driver's seat after you've had a drink. Your safety and the safety of those around you should be what matters most.
In the first part of this article, you learned about the issue of utmost important in your initial DUI defence: Alberta's impaired driving laws themselves. These are the laws that define the administrative and criminal penalties for impaired driving here in Calgary, and that define the penalties you could face if you are convicted of impaired driving at either level.
Though the number of impaired driving or "DUI" charges in Calgary has been declining for years, our city still sees more than a thousand DUI arrests every year. That is just within the City of Calgary itself, to say nothing of the Greater Calgary Area and the rest of Alberta. That means there's a lot of people in Calgary and throughout the province who need to mount an effective DUI defence.
A lot can happen if you're arrested for a DUI in Calgary, and it can happen quickly. Immediate and automatic license suspensions, administrative penalties and criminal charges, vehicle seizures and required attendance at safe driving courses—and those are just the legal ramifications spelled out in Alberta's impaired driving laws.
There's also the stress that facing these charges can cause for you and your family, the practical transportation difficulties of losing your license and/or your vehicle, even in the short term, and the onus of having a DUI charge following you for the rest of your life.
As you may know, I've written plenty about the tough impaired driving laws that went into effect in Alberta in 2012. These laws not only impose harsher punishments for impaired driving—commonly known as "DUI" or driving under the influence—here in Calgary and throughout Alberta, but they also define a criminal threshold for drunk driving where only administrative charges existed before.
Alberta's—and Calgary's—current DUI laws have been on the books for close to four years now, but many people still aren't aware of exactly what they mean or when they might be at risk for a DUI charge (frankly, you're always at some risk of being charged with a DUI if you're driving a car on Calgary's roads, even if you aren't intoxicated, but we'll talk about law enforcement errors in other post…).
As you read in Part 1 of this article, the number of drunk drivers in Calgary appears to be trending downward—a trend that started taking place after new impaired driving legislation was enacted throughout Alberta in 2012. The rest of Alberta hasn't seen a similar trend, making it fairly clear that the law isn't the real reason for the drop in Calgary DUIs, but what is behind this trend remains a mystery.
If you've been paying attention, you know that it's illegal to drive on Calgary's roads—or on any public road in Alberta—with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 or greater, and that a BAC of .08 or greater can see you facing a criminal charge for impaired driving or "DUI" (driving under the influence).
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.
As you've heard me mention a few times on this blog Alberta changed its impaired driving or DUI laws back in 2012, establishing a criminal charge for certain drunk driving offences and instituting a range of new penalties to go with them. The reasoning behind the legislation, according to some, is that the harsher penalties would cause more drivers in the Calgary area and throughout Alberta to think twice before getting behind the wheel while drunk or otherwise intoxicated.
In Part 1 of this article, you read about the shifting impaired driving laws in Alberta that created a criminal DUI charge that isn't based on any other traffic infraction, reckless driving, or other behavior while behind the wheel. Instead, DUI charges in the Greater Calgary Area throughout the province are now defined through chemistry, creating a clear metric for laying an impaired driving charge.
The law is often full of gray areas, despite being written in black and white. If complex situations were governed by certain and indisputable laws, there would be little room for justice—or mercy, for that matter. If that weren't the case—if everything were cut and dry all the time, in every circumstance—there wouldn't be much room in the legal system for justice (or for mercy, for that matter).
If you've been charged with impaired driving—commonly referred to as a DUI ("driving under the influence" charge)—you know how disruptive, debilitating, and downright scary this charge can be. It's all too easy for a simple error in judgement or a mistake made by law enforcement to result in an impaired driving charge, and that can lead to temporarily losing your vehicle, losing your driver's license for an indefinite period of time, and pending administrative or even criminal charges that can seriously impact your life.
The belief that everyone accused of a crime in Calgary is entitled to a knowledgeable and vigorous defence is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is central to my practice as a defence lawyer here in Calgary. No matter what someone is accused of, they deserve to be treated fairly and given a true chance to defend themselves, and my role as a lawyer is to make sure the criminal justice system affords my clients these rights.
Anyone who drives a vehicle on Calgary's roads is potentially at risk for receiving an impaired driving charge—what is commonly known as a DUI (driving under the influence). Due to Alberta's tough impaired driving laws, the Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies have broad powers to detect and investigate suspected or potential DUIs, and through errors in police procedure, improperly calibrated equipment, and other issues, it is entirely possible for a perfectly innocent Calgary citizen to be caught up in the wide-flung DUI net.
Whatever the circumstances of your DUI charge, Alberta's laws also carry tough and sometimes automatic penalties; you can have your vehicle seized and even face an immediate license suspension from the moment you are arrested and/or charged with a DUI in Calgary, before you've even had a chance to provide a defence or tell your side of the story.
This is Part 2 of a three-part article series. To start with Part 1, please click here.
As you know quite well if you've read my previous articles on the subject, the tough new impaired driving or "DUI" laws Alberta put into effect back in 2012 have been challenged by many, here in Calgary and throughout the province.
Impaired driving or DUI (Driving Under the Influence—also sometimes called DWI or Driving While Intoxicated) remains an all too common offence here in the Greater Calgary Area and throughout Alberta, accounting for more than 2,000 arrests and charges in the City of Calgary alone during 2015. Everyone knows that driving after having too much to drink is both dangerous and illegal, yet many in Calgary do so anyway, and they face serious legal consequences as a result.
In Part 1 of this article, we looked at the fall in DUI rates in the City of Calgary that occurred in 2015. According to the Calgary Police, there were 2,080 impaired driving or DUI charges laid against Calgary drivers in the past year, down from more than 2,500 in the previous year. Though impaired driving rates in Calgary and throughout Alberta have been declining steadily for years, this drop of nearly 18% is the most significant drop the province and the city have been witness to.
Charges for impaired driving—more commonly known as "driving under the influence" of DUI—remain among the most common charges brought against individuals in the Greater Calgary Area, and a common cause for arrest and detention by the Calgary Police.
The best legal advice you'll ever get concerning a DUI in Calgary is this: don't drive when you're impaired.
We're just a few weeks into the new year, but the Calgary Police aren't wasting any time making arrests for DUIs or impaired driving. These arrests can come with serious repercussions even before a trial let alone a conviction—license suspensions and vehicle seizures are automatic penalties for many Calgary DUI arrests, and law enforcement throughout Alberta is becoming more aggressive in their detections and pursuit of impaired drivers.
In Part 1 of this article, I discussed the reasons why Calgary area drivers might be opposed to Alberta's new impaired driving laws and the ways that the Calgary Police Service is working to enforce them. Some in Calgary believe that checkstops are unfair or even unconstitutional and are doing their best to sabotage Calgary Police's efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road.
Every holiday sees a spike in impaired driving or DUI incidents in the Calgary area, and the Christmas season is no exception. Every year, dozens of happy Christmas celebrants decide to get behind the wheel despite having had a touch too much Christmas cheer, and find themselves welcoming Santa in a cell rather than at home with their families.
A lot has happened in Calgary and throughout Canada this year, and many of the issues we've been facing and stories we've been paying attention to will continue to play a big part in our lives in the coming year. From the recent national elections to Alberta's economic difficulties to various global crises that are making international headlines, there are a lot of big stories that can have both direct and indirect impacts on our lives here in Calgary.
In Part 1 of this article, you read that some people have raised legal objections to Alberta's impaired driving or "DUI" law, suggesting that the law—and specifically the automatic penalties it puts in place for people who have been arrested and/or charged with a DUI but who haven't yet had a trial—infringes on civil liberties such as the presumption of innocence. Public safety should not come at the expense of Charter-protected rights, the argument goes; it is an extension of the age-old conflict between a government that tries to keep everyone safe and a society that tries to keep everyone free.
Impaired driving is a dangerous thing, for your safety and the safety of everyone else on Calgary's roads and sidewalks. Being intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs has neurological effects that dull your senses and slow your reaction times, making you less aware of potential hazards and dangers on the road and less likely to respond in time appropriately—delays in response and over-corrections can lead to collisions resulting in significant property damage, serious injuries, and even fatalities.
You don't need an experienced Calgary DUI defence lawyer to tell you that driving while drunk or otherwise intoxicated is a bad idea—at least, you shouldn't. The evidence that driving while intoxicated is more dangerous for you and for everyone else on the road is overwhelming and unambiguous, and you've heard about it from a number of government officials and public health advocacy groups for years.
Being charged with a DUI or impaired driving offence, much like being charged with any crime in Calgary, can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. There are immediate consequences you might have to contend with, such as the temporary suspension of your driver's license while your case is pending and the seizure of your vehicle for a week or more, in addition to the threat of fines and even jail time for some DUI charges.
DUIs—officially called impaired driving offences—are no laughing matter. Although there are over a thousand DUI convictions in Calgary every year, their commonality does not mean drunk driving cases are treated lightly by the Calgary Police Service or by the Crown prosecutors and judges in the Calgary courts. If you are charged with impaired driving/DUI, make no mistake: you're facing a potentially life-changing legal battle.
Recently, Canada's Supreme Court upheld a BC law allowing police and other law enforcement officers to immediately suspend a driver's license if the driver was suspected of drunk driving and recorded a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or greater on a mobile breathalyzer.
Ontario has experienced an increasing number of reports of police officers being suspected and/or charged with DUIs, officially known as impaired driving. If these allegations are true and drunk driving is on the rise in some of our nation's police departments, it could be the sign of a serious problem.
This is Part 2 of a four-part article series. For Part 1, please click here.
I've written a great deal on this blog about the impaired driving laws that went into effect in Calgary and throughout Alberta back in 2012. These new DUI laws are far tougher than the laws previously targeting drunk driving or driving while intoxicated here in the province, both in how they define driving under the influence and in the punishments that can be imposed upon those found guilty of impaired driving.
I've written plenty on this blog about the tough impaired driving or "DUI" laws in Calgary. Adopted by Alberta's legislature and going into effect in 2012, anyone driving in the province is now subject to harsher penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, including several automatic penalties that can be imposed as soon as an arrest is made or charges are laid.
Most drivers in the Greater Calgary Area know that driving while intoxicated—often known as impaired driving, driving under the influence, or simply "DUI"—presents serious safety risks to themselves, to their passengers, and anyone else on the Calgary roads. Most also know that it is a criminal offence to operate a vehicle anywhere in Alberta while intoxicated by alcohol (defined as having a blood alcohol content or BAC above .08, although administrative penalties come into play with a BAC over .05) or by any other controlled substance, e.g. marijuana, cocaine, and prescription opiates/opioids such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and so on.
I've written before about the broad license Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies have when it comes to detecting and investigating cases of impaired driving. From setting up DUI checkpoints—stations along Calgary's streets where they stop all drivers, without any probable cause, and administer sobriety tests—to being legally entitled to ask drivers stopped for other alleged infractions to perform roadside sobriety tests and/or submit to breathalyzer analysis, the ability for law enforcement to investigate a potential DUI is more extensive than their ability to investigate many other crimes.
Alberta's impaired driving or "DUI" laws are tough, as you know if you've read any of the previous information I've shared on the subject. Drivers in the Greater Calgary Area and throughout the province face administrative penalties for driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over .05, and can face criminal DUI charges for getting behind the wheel with a BAC over .08.
Driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the extreme risk it creates for you, your passengers, and anyone else on Calgary roads. Though many feel they are capable of driving while intoxicated, this feeling is itself a symptom of intoxication: overestimating one's capabilities and underestimating risks are hallmarks of being drunk or being intoxicated by a number of other substances.
Vacations don't come with a safety guarantee, as four Calgary citizens were all too suddenly reminded when a semi-truck collided with their taxi in Las Vegas this past Wednesday.
Though laws concerning DUIs can vary considerably from province to province, let alone from country to country and in the many states of our southern neighbor, there is nowhere in North America where it is legal to operate a motor vehicle if your BAC (blood alcohol content) is above a defined amount indicating intoxication.
One of the central tenets of the criminal justice system in Calgary is the "presumption of innocence"—the idea that anyone accused of a crime should be treated as if they are innocent until they have either admitted guilt or been found guilty in a court of law. For the most part, officers of the court—including Crown prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers like the members of the Calgary Police Service—are good at upholding that right, not imposing punishments for crimes until after those accused of the crimes have had their day in court.
Automatic penalties that run counter the notion of "innocent until proven guilty." Restrictions that can continue indefinitely, even if you are ultimately found not guilty for your impaired driving charge. Questionable intrusions by the Calgary Police even when drivers operate their vehicles in complete accordance with the law.
The impaired driving or DUI laws at work in Calgary are more onerous than you may be aware, and they tend to favor law enforcement over the average citizen of the Calgary area. Whether or not these laws are fair, equitable, or reasonable, they are the laws that everyone must abide by. In an environment that holds Calgary drivers under such suspicions, understanding your rights—and what you can and cannot do to defend yourself against a DUI charge in Calgary—is an essential part of protecting yourself and your future.
You're pulled over by the Calgary Police, given a field sobriety test, and taken into custody under suspicion of impaired driving or DUI. When should you request to speak with a Calgary DUI lawyer? What can a lawyer do for you and the charges you might be facing?
The answer: ask to speak to a defence lawyer right away, because they can do a great deal for you. The earlier you contact a Calgary lawyer after being detained for an alleged or suspected DUI, the less disruptive an impaired driving charge will be for your life, for your family, for your finances, and for your career. An experienced defence lawyer will be able to start working on your behalf right away, possibly postponing or even eliminating the automatic penalties imposed by law on everyone in Calgary charged with a DUI.
Driving on Calgary's streets while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating drugs can lead to a host of problems. The physical risks to the health and even lives of you and those around you should be your primary concern, and risks of expensive property damage should also give Calgary drivers pause. The legal entanglements of a DUI charge—and especially of a criminal conviction for impaired driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) greater than .08—are also substantial, and can potentially follow you for the rest of your life.
When a driver makes the mistake of driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug, his or her chances of getting into a car accident are significantly higher. In 2010, over 210,000 of the 1.6 million vehicular collisions recorded throughout Canada were linked to some form of impairment. Of the estimated 2,500 fatalities resulting from an automotive collision, over 1,000 were related to DUIs.
In total, impaired driving was estimated to have cost Canadians over $20.6 billion. With this in mind, if you are ever involved in an accident in Calgary and are accused of impaired driving, the actions you take immediately following the accident are very important.
Your Calgary DUI defence begins as soon as you are pulled over, and a lawyer with experience successfully handling impaired driving cases can be an important part of that defence. Many articles on this site detail exactly how a DUI defence lawyer can help you with your case, but what actually happens when you contact a lawyer? When should you first call, what should you be prepared to discuss, and where will things go from there?
Your defence against an impaired driving or DUI charge in Calgary begins the moment you are pulled over or otherwise contacted by law enforcement. Failing to comply with lawful requests for roadside sobriety tests, including a breath analysis of your blood alcohol content or BAC, is now a criminal offence in and of itself and can result in an automatic license suspension.
In some circumstances, you must also answer questions asked by Calgary Police officers or other law enforcement agents regarding your identity, and again, failing to do so can result in further legal trouble. Beyond these requirements imposed by standard criminal investigation procedures and Alberta's impaired driving laws, though, you have the right to refrain from providing any further information—including responding to any questions—before you have consulted with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer.
2014's Calgary DUI numbers are in, and the news is definitely encouraging: there was more than a ten-percent decline in impaired driving charges laid in Calgary during 2014 when compared to 2013, continuing the steady decline in drunk driving incidents the city has seen in recent years.
Alberta's new DUI laws were passed into effect nearly three years ago, but they have been stirring up controversy ever since. Earlier this month, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Thomas Wakeling ruled on a challenge to the impaired driving law that asserted it was unconstitutional.
The specific arguments used in the case aren't especially important to the average Calgary citizen, but the result is: the law stands, and drivers are at the mercy of Calgary Police, Crown prosecutors and the Calgary courts. Though many Calgary citizens, including Calgary DUI defence lawyers, continue to believe there are serious problems with Alberta's impaired driving sanctions, protests have fallen on deaf ears and your rights might still be in jeopardy.
As radio host and news commentator Rob Breakenridge noted in a [recent opinion piece for the Calgary Herald], Alberta's DUI laws were a major issue in Calgary and throughout the province during the 2012 election. Strong opposition to the law was raised by the Wildrose Party, while other politicians vociferously defended it.
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.
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.
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.
In case you haven't heard the news, Alberta enacted new sanctions targeting drunk drivers in 2012, and there's no sign of them being rescinded any time soon. Calgary Police have also ramped up their efforts when it comes to identifying and arresting drunk drivers, including widespread public awareness campaigns and an increased use of "DUI Checkpoints"—areas on certain Calgary roads that become temporary traffic stops to check all drivers and ensure their sobriety.
Drunk driving remains a relatively common offence in Calgary, despite the dangers it presents both to drunk drivers themselves and to other Calgary residents and visitors. With Alberta's harsh penalties for driving while impaired by alcohol, the dangers aren't just physical but also legal, and finding a lawyer can be an important step in recovering from the incident and returning to a normal and productive life.
No matter what you call it—impaired driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI)—if you take to Calgary's roads and highways after drinking or using drugs, you're not only exposing yourself and others to a greatly increased risk for physical harm, you're also exposing yourself to significant legal troubles. You can hire a Calgary criminal defence lawyer to help you with your case after impaired driving charges have been laid against you, but even better would be avoiding the trouble altogether.
You've heard it many times, including in every DUI article posted to this site: the best defence against a DUI is simply staying out of the driver's seat if you've had any alcohol. This advice is even more important ever since Alberta toughened up the penalties for DUIs, including the establishment of administrative penalties for anyone driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) between .05 and .08 and more severe criminal penalties for drivers with a BAC over .08. These new laws have already had an impact on DUI's in Calgary, in more ways than one.
The number one suggestion any Calgary DUI/DWI criminal defence lawyer—or anyone else, for that matter—can offer when it comes to drinking and driving is simple: don't do it. Avoiding impaired driving is easy and will keep you and those around you safe when it comes to your physical well-being. It also, of course, offers the greatest legal protection against impaired driving offences and will help keep you on the roads and out of court.
Most drivers in Calgary don't need a lawyer's advice to know that drinking (or drug use) and driving is a dangerous mix that is best avoided at all costs. DUI/DWI remains a relatively common cause for arrest and for charges throughout the Calgary area, however, so clearly the message isn't sinking in for everyone. So just in case you're one of those drivers who thinks getting behind the wheel while intoxicated isn't always a bad idea, here's some information that might change your mind.
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.