Could Tougher DUI Laws Be On the Way for Calgary?

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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.

The Calgary Police Service and other law enforcement agencies throughout Alberta also have more leeway in detecting and investigating potential DUIs than many other crimes, including the ability to stop drivers at DUI checkpoints even with no cause for suspicion, and the ability to require drivers to submit to medical tests for intoxicants before an arrest is made. There have even been challenges against parts of these laws raised in the courts, however they remain on the books and in effect.

Now, one group is calling for Calgary's DUI laws and the penalties they impose to become even harsher.

Lower BAC and New Penalties for Calgary DUIs

Under the current laws, all drivers in Calgary and throughout Alberta face administrative penalties for driving with a BAC—blood alcohol content—of .05 or greater, with criminal charges and penalties coming into play with a BAC of .08 or higher. Penalties can include vehicle seizure, license suspension, fines, and even jail time. Impaired driving has always been serious business in terms of the danger it creates (both for those who get behind the wheel while intoxicated and for everyone they share Calgary's roads with); Alberta's current laws make it a very serious legal issue as well.

Some are arguing, however, that Alberta's impaired driving laws don't go far enough. Not only are they calling for harsher penalties when drunk driving causes serious injuries—including calling for life imprisonment in egregious cases of drunk driving that lead to someone else's death—but they are also calling for lowering the BAC limit for which criminal charges can be imposed. Lowering this limit, they contend, would lead to more impaired drivers being caught in law enforcement's net, and would dissuade many who might be tempted to take to Calgary's roads after a few drinks.

There's already some evidence that suggests Alberta's current laws have lowered drunk driving rates in and around Calgary, though some ascribe the falling rate of DUIs to better education and outreach. As the debate wages on, all drivers in Calgary would do well to pay attention to the changing legal landscape—and, of course, to never drink and drive.

Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer Susan Karpa Can Help

Whether or not Alberta passes even harsher impaired driving laws, it seems clear the current laws won't be relaxed anytime soon. If you or a family member has been charged with impaired driving or has been arrested for a DUI in or around the Greater Calgary Area, a serious legal battle lies ahead.

You don't have to face it alone.

Contact Calgary DUI defence lawyer Susan Karpa today for a free initial consultation, and get the help you deserve.

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