Calgary DUIs are Down, But Drivers Should Still Beware: Part 2
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.
According to a police spokesperson, there were also significantly fewer fatalities involving DUIs, but the news isn't all good. Not only were there still more than 2,000 DUI charges laid in 2015, an average of more than five per day, and with the number of arrests for suspected impaired driving likely higher, but Calgary Police Traffic Unit Staff Sergeant Paul Stacey says he believes the public wants still-harsher penalties for those convicted of impaired driving, despite severe and automatic penalties being put in place often from the moment of an arrest.
What Last Year's DUI Numbers Mean for Calgary's Drivers
While there's no question that fewer instances of impaired driving and fewer DUI charges is good for everyone in Calgary, the fact that alleged DUIs remain one of the most common causes for cases to appear before the Calgary courts, and the fact that drivers can face the loss of their license and their vehicle from the moment they are arrested for a suspected DUI, are both things that Calgary drivers should be concerned about.
First, the drop in DUIs is good but could be better. An average of more than five people being charged with impaired driving in Calgary every day is far higher than it could be. It could be next to zero, as impaired driving can always be avoided (though charges can be laid erroneously, in some cases). If everyone in Calgary simply refused to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they had been drinking or had ingested other drugs, whether or not they felt they were intoxicated, the DUI rate would all but disappear.
Second, this still-high rate of DUIs bolsters calls by those like the Calgary Police spokesperson who think that even harsher penalties for impaired driving are in order. Right now, if you are arrested for a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that tests above .08, the impaired driving laws in effect in Calgary impose the automatic seizure of your vehicle and the automatic suspension of your driver's license. That license suspension can last as long as it takes your case to be resolved in the courts, often months or more.
You also face significant fines and even jail time if convicted, as well as a lifelong criminal record that can continue to have an impact on your career and your family.
Get Help With Your Calgary DUI Defence
If you've been charged with impaired driving in the Greater Calgary Area, you are entitled to professional legal assistance to help put this behind you as quickly and completely as possible. For a free initial consultation with Susan Karpa, one of Calgary's leading DUI defence lawyers, please contact her office today.