Contact DUI Lawyer David Chow for a Free Consultation

impaired driving & DUI lawyer | Calgary

a calgary dui lawyer for over 16 years

FREE CONSULTATION: (403) 452-8018

calgary impaired driving lawyer  

Arguably, the attack on civil liberty and the rule of law is felt most often through the prosecution of Impaired Driving / DUI (driving under the influence) / DWI (driving while intoxicated) cases.  The attack has been initiated by all levels of Government – Provincial and Federal – with the Crown used as a powerful instrument of policy.

By way of example, the Criminal Code of Canada clothes the police with expansive investigative powers, which are especially prolific in DUI / Impaired Driving cases.  The Code also creates statutory shortcuts to assist the Crown in prosecuting "at 80" and refusal allegations.  Additionally, legislation introduced by the previous Harper Government has effectively abrogated specific legal defences (such as evidence to the contrary).  Over the years, the Liberal Government and Provincial Governments have arguably added insult to injury. In fact, despite finding that the previous Alberta Administrative License Suspension program was unconstitutional, the Court of Appeal granted the Province a one-year grace period, during which they continued to suspend presumptively innocent citizens pursuant non-compliant Charter legislation.  Today, the legislation has changed and with that change, challenges must be renewed.


Pre-Punishment for Impaired Driving: The Alberta Administrative Driving Suspension (ALS) HAS BEEN STRUCK DOWN

In a virtually parallel maneuver, the Alberta Government enacted pre-punishment legislation in the form of the Alberta Administrative Driving Suspension (ALS). This program ignored the presumption of innocence and may even have pre-punished the innocent.  From a policy and enforcement perspective, Government diktat effectively diminished the discretionary role of the Crown to deal with borderline cases of impaired driving in a manner that does not require the imposition of a criminal record.  

Thankfully, on May 18th, 2017 the majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal struck down this draconian pre-punishment legislation.  Unfortunately, the NDP Government replaced one piece of unconstitutional legislation with another. The new administrative driving suspension program will see presumptively innocent Albertans suspended for 90 days, after which, they can install an Interlock Device in their vehicle, which must remain until the conclusion of their criminal case.

Calgary DUI lawyer blog:


Impaired Driving by Drugs


Impaired driving is not only an alcohol related offence, it is a drug related offence.  The Criminal Code stipulates that impaired driving can be by alcohol or drug.  You are probably aware that the Liberal Government is presently in the process of legalizing possession of cannabis marijuana. Though there are many positive features of cannabis legalization, there will be a strong response by law enforcement to investigate impairment by drug (in particular marijuana).  It is important for you to know your rights. 


Hire a Lawyer who understands your legal situation

As a Calgary DUI lawyer, I understand that most criminal driving offences involve ordinary citizens whose actions do not fit into the kind of morally blameworthy conduct typical of other crimes.  Many people honestly think they were not impaired to drive.  Many believe they were not operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol exceeding the legal limit.  This belief may even be true.  This truth may become even more pronounced once police start charging more often for impairment by drug.


Learn about your DUI / DWI Charge

True or not, the reality is, the Government has established a legal model designed to enhance the likelihood of conviction and to punish regardless of whether you successfully defend the case. This is so because in Alberta, the State administratively suspends your driving privileges as soon as you are charged with an impaired driving offence (ALS). 

DUI and Impaired driving law can be confusing.  Many ordinary people have no idea that police have broad and overarching traffic detention power. They have no idea that their right to counsel is suspended during the initial stages of an investigative inquiry.   For example, offences such as refusing to blow carry specific legal confusion.  Given the generally accepted Charter right that all persons have a right to counsel upon “detention” or “arrest”, many accused logically think they had a right to a lawyer before providing potentially incriminating evidence at roadside.  Notwithstanding the reasonableness of this belief (because the Charter says so) the common law confuses, rather than clarifies.   Once marijuana legalization occurs, confusion about the operation of a motor vehicle after having consumed cannabis will certainly arise. 


Making it Easier to convict you for is not right.

Parliament, with the assistance of the Courts, has chosen to make policing and prosecuting impaired driving (and its related offences) easier. Making things easier, however, does not necessarily make the law fair, reasonable or right. 


Call Calgary dui lawyer David Chow for a Free Consultation

As a former Crown prosecutor and impaired driving lawyer with over a decade of experience defending impaired cases, I understand the complex dynamics underlying any impaired driving allegation.  I appreciate that you are not only fighting a difficult case for which conviction might cost your job, home, future prospects and family, but that you are also battling the weight of a callous legal system that ensures punishment before conviction. 

I am a DUI lawyer in Calgary who routinely secures verdicts of not guilty for persons charged with impaired driving, dangerous driving, over 80, refusing to blow and other criminal driving offences (including those causing death).  I am acutely aware of the importance of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the rule of law, the rules of evidence and the presumption of innocence.  I regularly attend various jurisdictions throughout Alberta, including Calgary, all Calgary circuit points (such as Cochrane, Canmore and Airdrie), Lethbridge, Brooks, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and Red Deer.



David Chow has successfully defended hundreds of impaired driving cases.  For an experienced Calgary DUI lawyer, call 403.452.8018 for a free consultation. 

Recent Case Results

R. v. M.J.

April 3, 2019

(Didsbury, P.C.). M.J. was charged with operating a motor vehicle with blood alcohol exceeding the legal limit and impaired driving. The accused was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in injury. At the start of his trial in 2018 Calgary DUI lawyer, David Chow, filed a Charter Notice asserting various breaches of the accused’s Charter protected interests, including unreasonable search and seizure due to a lack of reasonable and probable grounds to seize blood samples.  The trial judge agreed, holding that the blood seizure was based on suspicion only. The judge further determined that the police did not follow the strict requirements of section 487 of the Criminal Code of Canada concerning tele-warrant procedure. As a result, the evidence was excluded pursuant to section 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Whether you are guilty or not guilty, call Calgary defence lawyer, David Chow for a free consultation.  David Chow may be able to find a way to keep you from getting a criminal record.  David defends cases throughout the province of Alberta.  He is not only a Calgary criminal driving lawyer, he defends cases throughout Alberta, including Brooks, Lethbridge, Cochrane and Canmore.


R. v. D.L.

March 26, 2019

(Canmore, P.C.). A judicial stay of proceedings was granted in the case of D.L.  In this case, the accused was charged with refusing to supply a breath sample at roadside. The defence ran multiple defences, including reasonable excuse, mens rea and Charter issues. The case was judicially stayed due to the unlawful arrest of the accused.  David Chow is a Calgary DUI lawyer, who represents clients charged with impaired driving throughout Alberta, including Cochrane and Canmore.  For a free consultation with a Cochrane impaired driving lawyer, call 403.452.8018. 

R. v. M.S.

March 6, 2019

(Calgary, P.C.). M.S. was acquitted on impaired driving and refusing to provide a breath sample. The core issue revolved around reasonable and probable grounds for arrest and the making of the making of the breath demand.  Reasonable grounds in an essential component of police power. Without reasonable and probable grounds, police have no basis to interfere with a citizen. The timing of the making of the breath demand is important because it is one of the preconditions for obtaining sample in the Criminal Code.   David Chow is a Calgary DUI lawyer who looks at all available angles to defending your cases.  For an intelligent defence from a proven  Calgary  impaired driving lawyer, call 403.452.8018.

R. v. J.L.

December 6, 2018

(Calgary, P.C.). David Chow is a Calgary DUI lawyer, who defends cases throughout Alberta.  In J.L., David secured a verdict of "not guilty" for a client charged with impaired driving and refusing to blow. The issues on which the case was defended included a Charter breach allegation asserting a violation of the accused's right to counsel, along with an unlawful arrest.  David is not just a Calgary-based defence lawyer, he is a Cochrane DUI lawyer and a Brooks DUI lawyer.  Call 403.452.8018 for a free consultation.