Alberta's Drivers May Face Harsh DUI Penalties

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.

Here are some of the penalties you may face if you're charged with a DUI in Calgary.

Administrative Penalties for Calgary DUI Charges

There are two types of charges and a range of penalties you may face when charged with impaired driving in Calgary. Administrative penalties, which are imposed on drivers who are convicted (or sometimes simply accused) of driving while intoxicated, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .05 and .08, typically as measured by breath alcohol analysis or a breathalyzer. Drivers accused of an administrative DUI can expect to lose their license for three days. Their vehicles may also be impounded for the same period of time. These penalties can take effect before any trial or hearing.

Subsequent instances of administrative DUI charges can result in harsher penalties. A second infraction can result in losing your license for 15 days and your vehicle for a week. You may also be required to go through a class about drinking and driving. Additional instances where a driver is charged with DUI in Calgary can result in a month-long license suspension, as well as a week-long vehicle impoundment and a longer class on drinking and driving. All of these can come into effect even if the charges against you are later dropped or dismissed.

Criminal Charges for Impaired Driving

Drivers who are accused of having a BAC over .08 face stronger penalties and criminal DUI charges. These penalties can include losing your license until your court case is heard, having your vehicle seized for three days for the first offence, monetary fines, and even jail time if convicted.

Drivers who are convicted of criminal DUI charges in Calgary can expect to have further restrictions imposed on their driving privileges, up to and including the installation of an ignition interlock device. These devices prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath. As with the administrative charges, it's completely possible to fall prey to a defective breathalyzer machine and see your freedom curtailed by onerous requirements.

Like most machines, breathalyzers and ignition interlock devices can and do become defective. Even drivers who have been subjected to a faulty breath alcohol analysis machine face these charges and their penalties, without any concrete proof they were actually driving under the influence of alcohol.

Charged with Impaired Driving in Calgary?

If you've been charged with impaired driving, you need a criminal defence lawyer who will give your case the attention it deserves. Susan Karpa is dedicated to helping those facing criminal charges in Calgary. For a free initial consultation, contact her office today.