3 Components of a Calgary DUI Defence: Part 2 - Calgary Police
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.
Understanding these DUI laws is a key part of your defence. The better you know the law here in Calgary, the better you can avoid a DUI altogether by avoiding any of the behaviors that might warrant a charge. And if you still find yourself charged with a DUI, which can and does happen to Calgary citizens even when they haven't violated any laws, understanding the law will help you assist in your defence.
It's also important to know what the Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies are able to do in terms of pursuing your for a DUI. That grants them broader privileges than they may have for other crimes, and knowing when the police are making a lawful can have a big impact on your case.
CheckStops, Roadside Sobriety Tests, and On-Site Blood Analysis
Under the powers granted to law enforcement by Alberta's impaired driving laws, the Calgary Police and other officers have broad authority in the pursuit of suspected DUIs. Not only can they pull over a vehicle for erratic or unusual driving behavior, but at impaired driving "CheckStops" they can actually stop all drivers regardless of driving behavior or performance. Though some have seen this as counter to the right to be presumed innocent outlined in the Charter, for now these CheckStops have been deemed legal.
At these CheckStops, and at all other stops for any traffic infraction where an officer has reason to believe you may be impaired, an officer with the Calgary Police or other law enforcement agency cna also require you to submit to roadside sobriety tests. These can include tests of your balance, response time, physical control, and cognitive ability, as well as the use of a roadside breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol content.
Refusing to comply with a request for these roadside sobriety tests is breaking the law, whether or not you're impaired or intoxicated. The charge for refusing to comply is separate from a DUI, and can be laid in addition to a DUI charge or without any other charge.
A law enforcement officer can detain you and take you to an approved facility for a blood test to determine if you are intoxicated. They might do this is if you refuse to comply with roadside analysis, as well, but you don't get the right to make the choice. If they ask you to use a breathalyzer, and/or if they ask you to accompany them for a different medical test to determine if any intoxicants are in your system, you are required to comply.
You Can Always Request to Speak With a Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer
While you have to comply with lawful requests from the Calgary Police, you can also request to speak with a defence lawyer as soon as is practically possible after your detention or arrest. That's one Charter right that's still strongly protected, so use it: get the help you deserve, and contact an experienced Calgary DUI lawyer immediately.