Impaired Driving/DUIs and a Calgary Defence Lawyer's Word of Warning: Part 1

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Do you know how easy it is to be charged with a DUI in Calgary? One DUI defence lawyer is speaking out, and her warning is something you need to hear!

Impaired driving charges, commonly known as "DUIs" ("driving under the influence" charges) are all too commonly laid against Calgary citizens, often when they do not realize they have meant the legal definition of "impairment" and even in many cases when they may not be impaired or intoxicated at all.

With they way Alberta's DUI laws are written it is very easy to find yourself charged with a DUI or a related crime even if you're driving safely and obeying all of the rules of the road. It might not seem fair, but it's the way impaired driving laws work in Calgary and throughout Alberta, and that's the reality Calgary drivers need to be aware of. The more aware you are, in fact, the better equipped you will be to protect yourself against erroneous DUI charges and to assist in your defence should you find yourself charged with a DUI-related offence.

That's why this Calgary DUI defence lawyer is here with a few words of warning. Take this advice to heart; it can save you and your family from a great deal of heartache, disruption, and financial distress.

Knowing Calgary's DUI Laws is Your First and Best Defence

The first step in protecting yourself from inappropriate impaired driving charges is knowing exactly what the DUI laws in Calgary entail.

To start with, the Calgary Police and other law enforcement officers have broad powers to investigate suspected and potential DUIs. For instance, they can use "DUI Checkstops" where all drivers travelling down a given stretch of roadway are stopped and subjected to sobriety tests regardless of how they were driving. In addition, law enforcement officers can issue a roadside sobriety test, including a breathalyzer test, if they have any reason to suspect impairment during a routine traffic stop—such as for speeding, failing to fully stop at a stop sign, etc.

Though many Calgary defence lawyers believe these provisions are contrary to your Charter right to the presumption of innocence, so far Alberta's DUI laws have withstood all challenges in court.

It's also important to note that the laws defining impaired driving offences in Calgary also stipulate specific BAC (blood alcohol content) thresholds for impaired driving offences. A BAC of .05 or greater leads to a ticket similar to a traffic violation but often with much more severe consequences, while a BAC of .08 or greater leads to a criminal charge and potentially a year or more in jail along with other penalties. If you are found to be impaired by any other controlled substance—marijuana, cocaine, etc.—you can be charged with a DUI no matter what amount is found in your bloodstream.

None of these charges have anything to do with your actual driving behavior. You can be charged with a DUI simply for having intoxicants in your system, whether or not you are in fact intoxicated and no matter how safely you were driving.

Contact a Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer Today

We'll look at more important elements of DUI offences in Calgary in Part 2 of this article. In the meantime, if you or a family member has been charged with an impaired driving offence, please contact my office today for a free initial consultation.

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