What You Should Know About Calgary DUI Laws and License Suspension

Calgary's DUI laws carry a variety of penalties, one of which is the suspension of your driver's license. An immediate roadside license suspension may be imposed following a breath alcohol analysis test. It's important to note that just because an immediate suspension has occurred, or you're facing other administrative penalties or impaired driving charges, doesn't mean you've necessarily committed a crime--breathalyzers can malfunction, and law enforcement errors can also lead to automatic penalties for you.

Here are the facts on license suspensions under impaired driving laws in Calgary.

24 Hour License Suspensions Under Calgary DUI Laws
You can lose your license for 24 hours if a Calgary law enforcement officer deems that you're impaired and unable to operate a vehicle. No charges even have to be laid before your license is suspended. An officer can decide you're impaired, whether by drugs, alcohol, or even a physical or medical condition, and can suspend your license immediately for 24 hours.

Longer Suspensions for Impaired Driving in Calgary
There are several situations in which your license could be suspended for more than 24 hours.
Drivers who are driving on a graduated driver's license are subject to Alberta's Zero Alcohol Tolerance Program. If you take a breath alcohol analysis test and the machine reads anything more than .00, your license could be suspended for 30 days. You may also lose your vehicle for 7 days. You'll also have to pay towing and impound fees before you can get your vehicle restored to you.

For other drivers, a reading of .05 on a breath alcohol test can result in administrative penalties including a license suspension and vehicle seizure for three days. This is only for the first offence during a 10-year period, too. Subsequent offences during that 10-year period can result in a 15-day license suspension (2nd offence) or a 30-day license suspension (3rd offence), with a seven day vehicle suspension for each offence. Additional offences after the third also result in a 30-day license suspension and seven day vehicle seizure. You'll have to pay towing and impound costs to get your car back after each offence, with additional costs for other requirements imposed after the first offence.

A blood alcohol content, or BAC, of .08, as measured by a breath alcohol analysis (or breathalyzer), is enough to have your license suspended until your case can be heard in the Calgary courts. This BAC level also results in criminal DUI charges, along with vehicle seizures that match the administrative penalties (3 days for the 1st offence, 7 days thereafter).

Enlisting Help from a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer
It's important to remember that each of these penalties can go into effect even if you are later found not guilty or the charges are dismissed. Anyone who's facing a DUI charge in Calgary should seek the help of a criminal defence lawyer who understands Calgary's DUI laws. Susan Karpa has been helping Calgary's citizens fight administrative and criminal DUI cases in the Calgary court system for years, and has the experience to give you the assistance you deserve. Contact her office for a free initial consultation.