Fighting for Your Rights After a Calgary DUI Charge

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One of the central tenets of the criminal justice system in Calgary is the "presumption of innocence"—the idea that anyone accused of a crime should be treated as if they are innocent until they have either admitted guilt or been found guilty in a court of law. For the most part, officers of the court—including Crown prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers like the members of the Calgary Police Service—are good at upholding that right, not imposing punishments for crimes until after those accused of the crimes have had their day in court.

In at least one instance, though, the law seems to contradict itself, imposing punishments on Calgary citizens as soon as they are accused of a crime. And it happens more often than you might think.

Automatic Penalties for Calgary DUI Charges

Every time someone is accused of impaired driving or "DUI" (driving under the influence) in Calgary, they run the risk of having the presumption of innocence thrown out the window and facing punishments like license suspensions and having their vehicle impounded. Due to changes in Alberta's impaired driving laws back in 2012, both penalties are now supposed to go into effect as soon as someone is arrested on a DUI charge.

Simply because a police officer suspects you of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when you are operating a motorized vehicle on Calgary's streets, you might find yourself without your car—and even without the ability to legally operate a car—for weeks, months, or more. For alleged impaired driving offences where the BAC (blood alcohol content) is reported to be .08 or higher, the license suspension is not only supposed to begin immediately, but is also supposed to last indefinitely—only after the charge is settled in a Calgary court can the accused's license be reinstated, according to the law.

A DUI conviction, meanwhile, also carries a license suspension penalty, potentially stretching out someone's legal prohibition from driving for years. And it all starts not from the moment you are found guilty—if that moment ever comes—but from the moment you are first pulled over or otherwise detained by the Calgary Police or other law enforcement agency.

How to Protect Your Rights as a Calgary Citizen

Alberta's new impaired driving laws don't leave a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to the automatic penalties they impose. Your best shot at protecting your rights and having any automatic penalties set aside is to contact an experienced Calgary DUI defence lawyer as soon as you are arrested or detained. They may be able to find legal avenues that allow you to keep your license and your vehicle, and to avoid automatic penalties that make the assumption of guilt.

For a free initial consultation with Calgary DUI defence lawyer Susan Karpa, contact her office today. She'll discuss the details of your case and provide the immediate assistance you need to keep your life on track. Don't face the Calgary Police alone—get the experienced help you deserve.

 

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