Drunk Driving, Tweets, and Calgary's Christmas Checkstops: Part 2

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In Part 1 of this article, I discussed the reasons why Calgary area drivers might be opposed to Alberta's new impaired driving laws and the ways that the Calgary Police Service is working to enforce them. Some in Calgary believe that checkstops are unfair or even unconstitutional and are doing their best to sabotage Calgary Police's efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road.

The method of choice this past Christmas was Twitter, the social media message sharing service where short tips, quips, and hashtags rule the day. A group of Calgary motorists and passersby used the service to tell others about the location of DUI checkstops that Calgary Police had set up over the Christmas holidays, with other drivers presumably tuning into these tweets and managing to steer clear.

Those sending the Tweets and alerting others to the exact location of DUI checkstops might believe that they were helping the bulk of Calgary drivers avoid the inconvenience, imposition, and intrusion, or they might have been purposefully intending impaired drivers avoid what they consider unfair tactics used by law enforcement.

According to the Calgary Police, what they did was put everyone in greater danger.

"What they're essentially doing is helping the impaired drivers," said Staff Sgt. Paul Stacey. "It could be their family, it could be them that gets hit by an impaired driver."

There is no question that driving while intoxicated—whether by alcohol or another substance—is a dangerous thing, for you and others around you. I've said it many times on this blog: the best defence against a DUI in Calgary is never getting behind the wheel after having a drink. You're all but certain to avoid a criminal charge and more importantly you'll keep your friends, family, and neighbors safe. Whether or not you feel that Calgary Police DUI checkstops are fair or just, there shouldn't be a need to worry about them in terms of your personal freedom from legal entanglements—if you're not driving drunk, you'll be on your way shortly.

Balancing freedom and public safety has always been a delicate and controversial undertaking, and recent disputes over Calgary Police checkstops and Alberta's newer impaired driving laws are no exception. Actively thwarting active police actions rather than working with lawmakers and the courts to effect change is probably not a wise decision for a variety of reasons.

We can also all agree that Tweeting while driving is also pretty unsafe.

So, however you feel about DUI checkstops, please be mindful of what it takes to make sure everyone is free, safe, and happy to enjoy their holidays and their new year. Avoid impaired driving, and you'll automatically avoid such scrupulous attention from the Calgary Police.

Seeking Legal Help for Your Calgary DUI

Anyone unlucky enough to have already stepped into the Calgary Police's DUI snare knows that this is no laughing matter. For professional and knowledgeable assistance with your Calgary DUI case, contact my office today for a free consultation.

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