The Progress of Your Calgary DUI Defence: Part 1
Though the number of DUI charges laid in Calgary has been dropping steadily for several years, well over 1,000 drivers in the Calgary area are accused of an impaired driving offence each year. In the vast majority of these cases, drivers end up with at least a temporary license suspension, and many are left without the ability to legally get behind the wheel for extended periods of time.
It doesn't always have to be that way. In many cases, an experienced Calgary DUI defence lawyer could have helped those charged with impaired driving to avoid a license suspension, and to get back to a normal and productive life quickly and easily. This article provides a brief overview of how you can expect your Calgary DUI charge and defence to progress, from the first law enforcement action to the end of your case in Calgary's courts.
Every impaired driving case is unique, and must be treated as such for an effective defence, but all have certain elements in common. Knowing what to expect can help you and your defence lawyer better prepare your case.
Calgary Law Enforcement and the Start of Every Calgary DUI Case
All charges for impaired driving offences in the Calgary area begin with Calgary law enforcement. DUI "Check Stops", a controversial practice used by the Calgary Police and other law enforcement agencies, where all drivers passing through a certain point are stopped and checked for possible alcohol- or drug-related impairment, mark the starting point for some DUI cases. Others begin with routine traffic stops for infractions like speeding or failing to stop at traffic devices; if an officer suspects impairment, they can require drivers to provide a roadside breath test or to accompany the officer to a law enforcement facility for other analysis.
Some DUI charges are laid after an officer witnesses erratic driving behavior and suspects impairment, and Calgary Police are also encouraging all drivers in the area to report anyone they see who might be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In almost all cases, after a driver is pulled over they will be subjected to a series of field sobriety tests, often including a "breathalyzer" test to determine their BAC. The results of these tests, or of tests to determine a non-alcohol drug impairment, mark the beginning for most DUI charges in Calgary.
The Immediate Impact of a DUI Arrest or Charge
When a BAC (blood or breath alcohol content) test yields a result of .08 or higher, Alberta's impaired driving laws mandate an immediate suspension of the driver's license pending the charge's resolution in court. This is another controversial element of DUI laws in Calgary; as with DUI Check Stops, automatic license suspensions seem to contradict the presumption of innocence with which all Canadian citizens are supposed to be treated prior to a conviction.
An experienced Calgary DUI lawyer might be able to prevent or reverse an automatic license suspension, depending on the details of the case and the unique circumstances surrounding each DUI charge and arrest. Make no mistake, your DUI defence begins the moment you are asked to comply with a roadside sobriety test or are charged with an impaired driving offence, and the sooner you contact a defence lawyer the better your chances of effectively fending off the increasingly harsh reach of law enforcement.
More information regarding the progress of your Calgary DUI defence case is available in Part 2 of this article. If you would like to speak to a lawyer about your specific case, please contact Calgary DUI defence lawyer today for a free consultation.