When a Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer Can Help
Alberta's impaired driving or "DUI" laws are tough, as you know if you've read any of the previous information I've shared on the subject. Drivers in the Greater Calgary Area and throughout the province face administrative penalties for driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) over .05, and can face criminal DUI charges for getting behind the wheel with a BAC over .08.
Under the current law, some penalties kick in automatically from the moment one is formally accused by the Calgary Police, RCMP, or other law enforcement agency. Before you are given a trial or other opportunity to raise a defence on your behalf, and even before the courts are made fully aware of law enforcement's suspicions such that charges have been laid against you by the Crown prosecutor, you can have both your vehicle and your driver's license taken away. To many, this flies in the face of the "innocent until proven guilty" maxim that is supposed to define the Canadian criminal justice system, however challenges to these automatic penalties have stood up despite court challenges.
So, given the state of DUI laws and the apparent inevitability of certain penalties, whether or not you are actually guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, what good can a Calgary DUI defence lawyer do for you? When should you contact one, and what can you expect them to do on your behalf?
The answer may surprise you.
Anyone Detained, Arrested, or Charged with a DUI in Calgary is Entitled to a Lawyer
Although Alberta's impaired driving laws may seem to erode the presumption of innocence that is spelled out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there is one Charter protection that is still very much in place. Anyone who is charged with a rime of any kind in Canada, including anyone in the Greater Calgary Area who is charged with, arrested for, or simply detained on suspicion of a DUI, is entitled to speak with a criminal defence lawyer before discussing their case with the Calgary police, Crown prosecutors, or other law enforcement and court officials.
And contacting a lawyer as soon as possible is almost always in your best interests.
There are certain law enforcement requests you must comply with, including submitting to a roadside breath analysis of your BAC and performing field sobriety tests if asked to do so by the Calgary Police or another law enforcement officer. You must also accompany law enforcement to an approved law enforcement facility for further blood and/or urine analysis if they have reason to believe you are intoxicated while driving. Beyond that and the basic requirement to identify yourself, though, you do not need to answer any other questions before speaking with a lawyer.
A Calgary DUI defence lawyer can help determine if your initial stop was lawful, and can discuss your case with Calgary Police on your behalf in an attempt to mitigate any automatic penalties, avoiding them altogether in some cases. An experienced impaired driving lawyer will also be able to negotiate your case with Crown prosecutors and represent you in a criminal defence trial, if necessary, giving you the best possible chance at putting these charges behind you quickly and completely.
If you or a family member has been charged with impaired driving in the Greater Calgary Area, call DUI defence lawyer Susan Karpa today and get the help you're entitled to.