calgary defence blog
A Defence lawyer's perspective on issues in criminal law
Drunk Driving: The Calgary Crime That Never Needs to Happen
October 1, 2015
As one of Calgary's most outspoken defence lawyers, I unashamedly and unreservedly stand beside anyone in the Greater Calgary Area who has been accused of a crime—any crime. No matter how heinous an act someone is accused of committing, and regardless of whether or not they actually committed that act, I fully believe that they are entitled to the best possible defence they can receive under the law, and I dedicate myself to providing exactly that to every client who comes through my door.
This includes defending those accused of drunk driving in and around Calgary, and not simply because I think Alberta's recently enacted impaired driving laws are in violation of basic rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (they are) or because I believe that harsher punishments don't serve as deterrents to crime (they don't). I believe that everyone in Calgary accused of drunk driving deserves the benefit of the doubt, and deserves a vigorous defence regardless of the evidence.
Even those who admit that they were driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs deserve a chance to present their defence, to seek treatment for applicable addictions that contributed to the accident, and to return to a full and productive life as a contributing member of Calgary society.
That being said, I am not blind to the fact that the injuries, fatalities, and emotional traumas caused by drunk driving could easily be prevented. Stories published by mainstream media outlets render these tragedies all too readily apparent, though rarely do they reflect on the tragic outcome for the drivers involved. A single bad decision to get behind the wheel while drunk can lead to lifelong consequences, even without the legal trouble that this decision can bring. Friends and family members may turn their backs, communities may turn against the accused, and remorse can turn to depression and even more self-destructive behaviors.
While I am against the harsh and automatic penalties Alberta now imposes on those merely suspected of impaired driving, and while I am against many of the tactics used by the Calgary Police to detect DUIs, I am very much in favor of preventing drunk driving. It's a crime that need never occur, and that leads to nothing but negative outcomes for all concerned.
We need better substance abuse programs, better community outreach, better educational campaigns, and better public transportation. These are the things that will lead to reduced rates of DUI charges and impaired driving incidents in Calgary, not draconian laws that sidestep some of the most basic and foundational components of our criminal justice system. News stories need to start focusing on the larger social issues that continue to make DUIs such a common crime in our city and our province, rather than simply vilifying those accused.
If you've been accused of drunk driving or charged with a DUI in Calgary, let me fight for you. Contact my office today and get the legal assistance you're entitled to.
This entry was posted on October 1, 2015
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