Calgary's DUI Laws: The Purpose, the Problems, and Your Potential Defence: Part 2

This is Part 2 of a four-part article series. For Part 1, please click here.

As mentioned in Part 1 of this article, the newer DUI/impaired driving laws at work in Calgary and throughout Alberta have created some confusion and no small amount of consternation among Calgary drivers. Punishments that are imposed automatically as soon as an arrest is made rather than waiting for a finding of guilt, jail sentences of a year or longer for some convicted impaired driving offenders, causeless stops by Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies for some, the impaired driving laws are even more out of hand than impaired driving itself.

We'll take a closer look at the problems some have pointed out with the DUI laws in Calgary in the next article in this series, but first I'd like to take a moment to play devil's advocate and look at the reasons behind these tough (and potentially too tough) impaired driving laws and sanctions. The ends may not justify the means, but the ends, for most proponents of the strict drunk driving laws, at any rate, are honorable, and understanding this can go a long way in helping Calgary's citizens understand the DUI laws themselves.

The Reasoning Behind Calgary's Harsh DUI Laws

The new DUI laws at work in Calgary and Alberta at large are not meant to punish drivers who drive drunk or under the influence of other intoxicants, at least, not exactly. The laws do spell out tough punishments for drivers who decide to take to Calgary's roads while intoxicated, but the goal isn't to hand out lots of jail sentences and hefty fines, suspend a lot of drivers licenses, and impound a lot of vehicles. The goal is to dissuade people in Calgary from driving while intoxicated in the first place.

There is no question that driving while intoxicated is more dangerous, for the person driving, and for everyone else on the road. If everyone fully realized how dangerous this was, no one would get behind the wheel when they'd been drinking or ingesting any mind-altering drugs. Not everyone fully appreciates the dangers that drunk driving/DUIs present to the public at large, though, so legal penalties are imposed to help people decide that it just isn't worthwhile to drive while impaired or intoxicated.

The punishments aren't the goal, they're just thought to be an effective way of reaching the real goal, which is reducing the number of people in Calgary who decide to drive drunk. That goal is a good one from pretty much any perspective, and, rightly or wrongly, that's the goal that has been used to justify the new impaired driving laws.

Defence Against the Good Intentions of Calgary's DUI Laws

As well-intentioned as they may be, the DUI laws in Calgary make it all-too-easy for almost anyone to be charged with a DUI. If you are facing automatic penalties and/or other problems from a DUI charge or arrest in the Calgary area, contact DUI defence lawyer Susan Karpa for a free consultation.

This is Part 2 of a four-part article series.