calgary defence blog
A Defence lawyer's perspective on issues in criminal law
Criminal Charges and Calgary DUIs
Tagged Criminal Defence BlogMay 21, 2015
This article provided a brief overview of the difference between administrative and criminal DUI charges and penalties in Calgary. In short, a BAC (blood alcohol content) between .05 and .08 results in administrative penalties that, while onerous and disruptive, cannot result in a long-term criminal record or more stringent criminal penalties. A BAC of more than .08 results in an automatic criminal charge for impaired driving, and these DUIs carry even harsher penalties and the long-term problems that a criminal case comes with.
While it's important to stay off of Calgary's roads any time you're even slightly intoxicated, in order to protect yourself and those around you, it's also important to understand the legal risks you're facing when you get behind the wheel with a BAC over .08. Understanding the criminal charges and penalties you'll face if you make that decision might help you choose a wiser course, and keep you off the Calgary Police Service's radar and out of Calgary courts.
To that end, here are the details of what you might face if you are charged with a criminal DUI in Calgary or elsewhere in Alberta.
Criminal Penalties for Impaired Driving Charges in Calgary
If you are arrested or detained for a suspected DUI on Calgary's streets, and you are determined to have a BAC of greater than .08, your vehicle will be immediately impounded for three days on a first offence, and your driver's license will be suspended until the charge is resolved.
Read that again and make sure it sinks in: the first time you are even accused of a DUI in Calgary involving a BAC above .08, your license is taken away until your charge is resolved. Even if the charge is ultimately dismissed, you will be unable to legally operate a vehicle until that dismissal. This can take as long as eighteen months, and in some cases even longer, and a conviction for criminal impaired driving can come with an even longer license suspension.
The same license suspension occurs when you are charged with a second criminal-level DUI, and your vehicle will be impounded for seven days. You might also undergo an addictions assessment to determine if a substance abuse problem is at the root of your impaired driving charges; the findings of this assessment can alter the course of your DUI case.
A conviction for a criminal DUI in Calgary results in even stiffer penalties. In addition to a criminal record that will follow you for years, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device that provides a breath analysis of BAC before you are able to start your car; this device will be required for one year following a first DUI conviction, for three years following a second conviction, and if you are convicted of criminal impaired driving a third time, you'll have to use an ignition interlock device for five years—after your license is returned.
A Calgary DUI Defence Lawyer Will Defend Your Rights
An experienced Calgary DUI lawyer can help prevent some automatic penalties in some impaired driving cases, and will help ensure your rights and interests are protected at every phase of your case. If you or a family member has been charged with a DUI, contact Calgary defence lawyer David Chow today for a free initial consultation.
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