Defending A Calgary DUI Charge - Calgary DUI Lawyer

(403) 452-8018


defending a dui charge

Defending a DUI charge in Alberta (or an impaired driving case) is a highly strategic undertaking, where your Calgary DUI lawyer needs to assess the case in layers. Indeed, defending impaired driving cases is akin to peeling back the skin of an onion. 

If you have been charged with impaired driving, refusing to blow, operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol exceeding the legal limit, call David Chow for a free telephone consultation.  David is a qualified impaired driving lawyer in Calgary. He defends cases throughout Alberta. 

What are the steps to defending most impaired driving cases?

First Step: Disclosure

Your Calgary DUI lawyer should be very cautious concretizing any opinion respecting the quality of the Crown case prior to obtaining disclosure.

Simply defined, disclosure is the evidence against you – the material the Crown will use to convict you.  It is not unusual for clients to relay during an initial assessment feelings that their case is hopeless, only to find that law enforcement has made errors in the investigation that may result in a successful defence.

Though the evaluation of any DUI/Impaired driving (refusal or Over 80) case is based largely upon the information communicated by an accused to his/her lawyer, it is also evaluated against the backdrop of what can be proven.  What can be proven is often determined by reviewing the disclosure provided by the Crown. 

Your Calgary impaired driving lawyer needs to review your case and pursue any missing, hidden or otherwise undisclosed material relevant to your defence.

Second Step: Assess the Indicia of Impairment

The severity of the indicia of impairment plays a vital role in determining the likelihood of successfully defending the case.  Even the most well constructed and advanced legal argument will often be of little assistance against bad optics created by egregious symptoms of impairment.  Judges are human and it is the human eye that sets the tone of the case. For example, an accused who presents with a combination of obviously recognizable signs of impairments (such as heavy odor alcohol, clearly slurred speech, balance issues, cognitive deficiencies and bad driving) may be able to raise any number of strong legal defences, but still fail to overcome the observations that support drunk driving.  By the same token, an accused who presents with minimum or non-existent indicia of impairment can often easily defend the impaired driving allegation and can focus more intensely on the accompanying charge of Over 80 or Refusal.

An experienced Calgary impaired driving lawyer understands how to diminish the severity of these indicia through the vehicle of cross-examination.  Diminishing or negating specific indices of impairment is accomplishment by a careful assessment of the totality of your case, driven by a surgical cross-examination designed to change the optics of the situation. 

Third Step: The Criminal Code of Canada

The Criminal Code can be a faithful ally in any impaired driving case. The Code sets rules for the collection of evidence and structures how law enforcement are legally empowered to interfere with citizens during an impaired driving investigation. Oftentimes criminal lawyers overlook the law that is right in front of them; rather than thinking about the legislated rule, they focus technical common law arguments.  For instance, the Criminal Code specifies some relative simple rules that must be followed for the police to be able to collect breath samples.

Your Calgary impaired driving lawyer (DUI/DWI lawyer) should review the Criminal Code procedures each and every time, with specific attention paid to the intermingling of the Statutory rules with those set out in our Common Law.

Fourth Step: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Your Charter protected interests are sacred.  Charter rights are triggered during interactions between the State and citizen.

Every person has a right to life, liberty and the security of person.  Every person has the right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure.  In most circumstances, every detainee has the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay.  Every accused has the right to a fair and timely trial.

Since impaired driving cases (and in particular Over 80 and Refusal charges) result in the collection of evidence that the accused gives against him or herself (conscripted evidence), compliance with the Charter is important.  Ironically, the Charter rights for everybody are protected through the Charter protected interests of the accused.

Many people think that Charter values are akin to technical defences, where criminals simply get off.  To some extent, that is true. However, it is important to remember that for a properly functioning society we must have a Government that respects the civil liberties of its citizens.  It is through the criminal law where this respect and protection is engendered. 

Your Calgary DUI lawyer must have a deep understanding of the interplay between the Charter, the Criminal Code and the Common law.

Fifth Step: Apply steps 1-4 and Fight

Evaluating your likelihood of defending the case is crucial. If your chances of winning are low, you may not wish to invest your hard earned money in a trial; prefer other routes to an expedited and reasonable resolution. That said, it is important to remember, if convicted, you will have a criminal record.  You will lose your license for at least a year.  Given that the stigma of a criminal record is almost a always a foregone conclusion to any impaired driving, refusal or Over 80 guilty verdict, sometimes the only thing you can do to protect your future is to fight.


CALL 403.452.8018

David Chow also routinely defends DUI cases throughout Alberta, including Cochrane, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.