The Best Way to Beat a Calgary DUI? A Defence Lawyer's Secret: Part 1
As a defence lawyer here in Calgary, I've helped more than a few clients facing impaired driving or "DUI" charges in the area. Such charges remain one of the most common criminal charges brought against Calgary citizens and filed in the Calgary courts and yes, DUI charges can be criminal, not just administrative offences like other traffic violations and many other minor crimes. This is just one aspect of the new DUI laws at work in Calgary that many have challenged as unfair and violations of citizens' rights, but as of now these laws have been upheld and remain on the books.
In addition to making driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 or higher a criminal offence, the new DUI laws at work in Calgary defined harsh new penalties for the crime. You can face up to a year in jail for a DUI conviction potentially even longer if you are convicted more than once. Automatic license suspensions, having your vehicle impounded, being required to attend safe driving courses, and facing stiff financial penalties are all also part of the new punishments awaiting drivers in Calgary convicted of DUIs.
Of even more concern to Calgary citizens and defence lawyers alike are the new powers given to the Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies when it comes to laying impaired driving charges and trying to find evidence of a DUI. These are the provisions that lead many to ask me if I know a "secret" way to avoid a DUI, thanks to my experience with Calgary's criminal justice system and DUI cases specifically.
Read on to get this Calgary DUI defence lawyer's #1 piece of advice on the subject.
The Calgary Police Can Do Virtually ANYTHING If They Suspect a DUI
OK, law enforcement officers can't really do anything they want just because they suspect a DUI, but they do have very broad powers if they suspect that you are driving while intoxicated. In fact, they can even stop you and administer a sobriety test even if they don't suspect anything, and even if you haven't done anything wrong. At DUI "checkstops," the police can stop every vehicle on the road to ensure sobriety, even if you were following every single traffic law and never touched a drop of alcohol.
At other traffic stops, such as for speeding, missing a stop sign, or having a brake light out, the police can administer a roadside sobriety test if they have any reason to suspect that you're intoxicated. They can also require you to accompany them to a station or facility equipped to administer an analysis of your blood alcohol content. Refusing to comply with either of these requests can result in a separate criminal charge, even if you are never charged with a DUI!
So what's the "secret" tip I tell everyone who asks? Follow the law, and comply with law enforcement requests. The law might not be fair, but if you try to fight it you won't like the results. Don't get behind the wheel if you've been drinking at all, perform sobriety tests when asked, and identify yourself when required to do so. Beyond that, ask to speak to a defence lawyer and stay calm and polite.
Contact a Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer
Not the most earth-shattering secret, I know, but it's the best advice I can give. And in Part 2 of this article, we'll take a deeper look at how to protect yourself when charged with a DUI in Calgary. In the meantime, if you or a family member has been charged with a DUI and would like a free initial consultation, please contact my office today.