(Strathmore, P.C.J.) The accused was charged with impaired driving and refusing to blow. Trial commenced in 2015. The accused filed Charter Notice, which included an allegation of unreasonable delay. The Crown ultimately stayed the case due to the Charter issues and issues surrounding the breath testing equipment.
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DUI / DWI Policing and Prosecuting
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 over 80 and refusal allegations. Additionally, new legislation introduced by the Harper Government has effectively abrogated specific legal defences (such as evidence to the contrary). This was a highly relevant defence to defending many charges of blowing over the legal limit.
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.
Though the Government has been given 12 months to deal with the Court of Appeal's decision in R. v. Sahaluk, the net effect is that those accused of impaired driving, refusal or Over 80 can now look to defend their cases in accordance with Canada's long standing common law and Constitutional traditions without having to sacrifice their rights for fear of indefinite punitive, pre-guilt legislation.
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 Criminal Lawyer David Chow for a Free Consultation today and take advantage of his special rates
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, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and Red Deer.
PROVEN HISTORY OF SUCCESS
Recent Case Results
(Calgary, P.C.J.) The client was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol exceeding the legal limit. The defence filed a Charter Notice alleging a variety of breaches. The Crown withdrew the charge
(Calgary, P.C.J.) The accused was charged with dangerous driving, impaired driving, refusing to supply a breath sample and Traffic Safety Act charges. The accused filed Charter Notice and the case ultimately resolved without the accused receiving a criminal record.
(Calgary, P.C.J.) Impaired driving charges were withdrawn against the accused on the date of trial due to Charter issues.