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Impaired Driving DUI Traffic Lawyers – Edmonton & Grande Prairie

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Impaired Driving Lawyer Edmonton and Grande Prairie

Have you been accused of impaired driving (also known as DUI) in Edmonton or Grande Prairie? Seeking the immediate professional advice of a criminal defence lawyer is imperative before appearing in court. You can get your license back and our lawyers can assist with that. Seeking support from a defence lawyer provides you with the necessary information you need to know about your legal rights and responsibilities. It is important for you to be informed about impaired driving offences, prosecution, and sentencing in Alberta and across Canada. At Liberty Law, it is our mission to advise and educate you when it comes to DUI offences.

The most important first step you can do is to hire a well-respected DUI lawyer in Edmonton and Grande Prairie. This ensures that anything you say or do will not be used against you in your criminal case.

The police, prosecutors, and the courts in Canada take DUI allegations extremely seriously. Impaired driving has become one of the most complex areas of criminal defence work. If you have been accused of DUI, it is important to rely on specialized and experienced defence lawyers who can assist in the constantly changing provincial punishments and regulations related to DUI and the serious impact it has on a person’s driving privileges that begin the moment one is charged. If convicted of DUI, the consequences can be quite severe. In addition to a fine, you will also be subject to a lengthy driving prohibition and suspension and a permanent criminal record. Insurance rates will also increase substantially. This is why seeking legal advice from a DUI lawyer in Edmonton and Grande Prairie is vital if you are facing related charges.

How is Impaired Driving Defined?

Impaired driving, more commonly referred to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), is driving after having consumed any amount of alcohol. The charge refers to the effect the consumption of alcohol has on your ability to operate a motor vehicle. It is important to note that a DUI charge is not based on the results of analysis of breath samples. To be convicted of impaired driving, a crown prosecutor must prove without  a reasonable doubt that your ability to operate your motor vehicle was impaired.  It is also important to know that impairment can vary in degree from mild to severe. This means that one does not have to be heavily intoxicated in order to be convicted.

Impaired driving is the charge under Section 253 of the Criminal Code of Canada which states:

(1) Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or

(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

(2) For greater certainty, the reference to impairment by alcohol or a drug in paragraph (1)(a) includes impairment by a combination of alcohol and a drug.

How Are Signs of DUI Observed by the Law?

Police do not need to prove your blood alcohol level to convict you of a DUI charge. Even if your ability to drive was slightly impaired due to consuming alcohol or a drug, that may be enough for a judge to convict you. In order to prove a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired, police will testify based on the signs of impairment they observed. These signs include:

  • Unusual driving patterns, including swerving between lanes and/or hitting curbs
  • Admission by the driver that they consumed alcohol
  • Observations made by witnesses about how much the accused driver consumed
  • Odour of alcohol from a person’s breath
  • Slurred speech or illogical comments
  • Red and glossy eyes
  • Opened alcohol bottles found in the car of the accused
  • Stumbling, difficulty standing or walking a straight line, and other simple coordination

Impaired Driving Statistics:

DUI is one of the most common criminal offences in Canada. In the province of Alberta, there are approximately 15,000 people charged with the criminal offence of impaired driving each year.

According to Edmonton Police Service, impaired driving statistics in 2014 were as follows:

Total impaired driving arrests: 1,838

This includes 74 arrests as a result of December Checkstop Operations.

What are the main impaired driving offences?

There are three main criminal offences related to impaired driving. They include:

  • Impaired Driving – Criminal Code section 253(1)(a): Operating (or being in care and control of) a vehicle while your ability to do is impaired by alcohol, or by a drug, or by a combination of alcohol or a drug.
  • Driving Over the Legal Limit – Criminal Code section 253(1)(b): Operating (or being in care and control of) a vehicle while your blood alcohol level is over 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.
  • Refusing a Breath Demand – Criminal Code section 254(5): Refusing to provide a sample of your breath (or blood) after a police officer has lawfully demanded that you do so.

What Happens to Your Driving Privileges?

In all cases, your driver’s license is seized immediatley. This suspension can be appealed but must be done within 30 days. Our lawyers are very experience in these appeals and can get your licence back on the right facts.

What Happens if You Drive While Suspended or Prohibited?

Consequences for driving while suspended vary. For a first offence, you will have your vehicle seized for 30 days and a summons issued for court attendance to respond to driving while suspended. If convicted, you will be fined up to $2000.00 and you will lose your licence for an addition 6 months.

If you are convicted of driving while prohibited in Alberta the usual sentence is 30 days in jail and an additional one year driving prohibition.

DUI Charges:

DUI charges involve a number of items, including a Promise to Appear, Notice of Intention To Seek Greater Punishment, Certificate of Analysis, and Alberta Administrative License Suspension/Disqualification.

Promise To Appear:

This is a document indicating your attendance to court for two dates. The first date includes instructions to attend police headquarters for fingerprints and photographs. The accused must attend on the date indicated between the hours described on the promise to appear document. The second date refers to the first appearance in court. This is where the accused will attend court on the date and times indicated and decide whether to plead guilty and deal with the matter at that time, or plead not guilty and set a date for trial. This document is legally informing you to attend court. Failure to attend either date may lead to an additional criminal charge of Failing To Appear and may involve a warrant issued for your arrest. This is why immediately seeking the legal advice of a DUI lawyer in Edmonton and Grande Prairie is imperative. Knowing your rights and expected laws to follow is key.

Notice of Intention To Seek Greater Punishment:

This is issued regardless of an individual circumstance. As stated, it describes what you are being charged with and that if you have previously been convicted of those same charges, the Crown Prosecutor may seek a greater punishment (if convicted) because you are not considered a first-time offender.

Certificate of Analysis:

This certificate is issued with the readings obtained on an Approved Instrument. There are two readings. In Canada the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The certificate will have two truncated (rounded down to the nearest tenth) readings that the Qualified Breath Technician obtained.

Administrative License Suspension/Disqualification:

This may be issued to a driver charged under the Criminal Code for:

  • Blood alcohol content greater than .08
  • Ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both
  • Refusal to comply with a lawful demand of a peace officer (ex: breath sample)

Refusal to provide a breath sample continues to result in a charge under the Criminal Code of Canada with an immediate suspension, which remains in effect until all impaired related criminal charges have been resolved.

Consequences of Impaired Driving:

First Offence:

The mandatory minimum penalty is a $1000.00 dollar fine and a one year license prohibition.  The maximum is 6 months in jail and a 3 year driving prohibition. The province will suspend your license for one year.

Second Offence:

The mandatory minimum is 30 days in jail and a 2 year licence prohibition. The maximum is 2 years in jail and a 5 year licence suspension.

Third and Subsequent Offence:

The mandatory minimum is 120 days in jail and a 3 year license suspension. The maximum is 2 years in jail and a life time license suspension.

Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device Program:

This is an in-car blood alcohol-screening device that prevents the operation of a motor vehicle if a driver’s blood alcohol is over a pre-set limit. It requires the driver to provide random samples of breath once the vehicle is started. It is located inside the vehicle and connected to the vehicle’s ignition system.

Those convicted under sections 253, 254, or 255 of the Criminal Code of Canada must successfully complete this program in order to obtain full licence privileges. There are some exceptions that our lawyers can assist you with.

Terms of the programs are as follows:

First Criminal Code Conviction within 10 years: Term: 1 year – Registrar may extend until the offender no longer poses a significant risk to public safety. Costs: Program application, Device installation, Device rental, Application for restricted licence, Additional entry requirements, Device removal.

Second Criminal Code Conviction within 10 years: Term: 3 years – Registrar may extend until the offender no longer poses a significant risk to public safety. Costs: Program application, Device installation, Device rental, Application for restricted licence, Additional entry requirements, Device removal, Registrar may require Addictions Assessment and Monitoring.

Third/Subsequent Criminal Code Conviction within 10 years: Term: 5 years – Registrar may extend until the offender no longer poses a significant risk to public safety. Costs: Program application, Device installation, Device rental, Application for restricted licence, Additional entry requirements, Device removal, Registrar may require Addictions Assessment and Monitoring.

Hiring a DUI lawyer in Edmonton and Grande Prairie for allegations related to impaired driving makes all the difference

DUI allegations and charges require a law firm who has the utmost experience and can provide you the best possible case in court. This includes a practice that focuses exclusively in the area of criminal law, one that has a long history of representing clients with DUI allegations and offences in Edmonton and Grande Prairie, lawyers who are trained on breath-testing instruments, and a firm that has represented clients of DUI cases at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. If accused of DUI, you are likely facing immediate suspension of your driver’s licence. A good defence lawyer makes it their first priority to help you get your licence back as soon as possible. This is why it is extremely important for anyone charged with an impaired driving offence to consult with a DUI lawyer immediately. Like any criminal charge, it is an allegation until you are proven innocent.

Hire An Experienced Edmonton and Grande Prairie Defence Lawyer Who Specializes in DUI cases

DUI offences can happen to anyone from all walks of life. It doesn’t only happen to those with an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Sometimes it’s a simple case of having one too many and getting behind the wheel due to lack of judgement or not planning alternative transportation ahead of time. If you find yourself accused of impaired driving, hiring an experienced defence lawyer in Edmonton and Grande Prairie who specializes in impaired driving is the only way to receive the proper advice on how to successfully fight your DUI charges.

Consequences of Driving with alcohol in your system that falls short of Impaired Driving:

In Albert there can be consequence for driving with alcohol in your system even if your blood alcohol does not exceed .08.  If your blood alcohol is between .05 and .08  the consequences are divided into three sections depending on the number of convictions. They are as follows:

First Criminal Code Conviction within 10 years: License Suspension: Immediate 3 day suspension Vehicle Seizure: 3 days Appeal: Immediate Roadside Appeal Remedial Course: Not required Alberta Transportation Safety Board Hearing: Not required Costs: Towing and impound charges

Second Criminal Code Conviction within 10 years:  License Suspension: Immediate 15 day suspension Vehicle Seizure: 7 days Appeal: Immediate Roadside and Board Appeal Remedial Course: One-day “Planning Ahead” or equivalent Alberta Transportation Safety Board Hearing: Upon referral by Registrar Costs: Towing and impound charges, Course, and Application for Board Hearing.

Third/Subsequent Criminal Code Conviction within 10 years:  License Suspension: Immediate 30 day suspension Vehicle Seizure: 7 days Appeal: Immediate Roadside and Board Appeal Remedial Course: Weekend live-in assessment and pre-treatment course (IMPACT), or equivalent Alberta Transportation Safety Board Hearing:  Mandatory Costs: Towing and impound charges, Course, and Application for Board Hearing.

Programs Related to Impaired Driving Charges:

Alberta Zero Alcohol Tolerance Program (Graduated Driver’s Licence):

Each Offence:  License Suspension: Immediate 30 day suspension Vehicle Seizure: 7 days Appeal: Yes Costs: Towing and impound charges

Second/Subsequent Offences: Successive 30-day suspensions will result in the driver remaining in the Graduated Driver Licensing program until one year of suspension free driving is reached.

A wealth of specialized experience in the successful defence of persons charged with impaired driving or driving under the influence (DUI)

Impaired driving law has become one of the more fascinating and complicated areas of criminal defence work. At Beresh Aloneissi O’Neill, a number of our lawyers have gained a wealth of specialized experience in the successful defence of persons charged with impaired driving (DUI). We can also assist with the ever changing provincial punishments and regulations that seriously impact a person’s driving privileges from the moment they are charged.

Our lawyers pride themselves on knowing the process better than even the most senior prosecutors or police officers

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms plays a huge role in these prosecutions. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a key ruling in R. v. Hufsky. This case set out the State’s ability to stop motorists and commence a criminal impaired driving investigation. Since then there have been thousands of cases on hundreds of issues that have a great impact on defending people charged with impaired driving, driving over .08 and refusal. There are also many highly technical issues and defences relating to the machines the police utilize in their attempt to gain convictions.

In addition to Charter issues and technical machine issues there remain many legal defences that can arise from a failure by the police to properly follow the steps set out in the Criminal Code. Our lawyers pride themselves on knowing the process better than even the most senior prosecutors or police officers.

Liberty Law has run thousands of impaired driving (DUI) trials

There are very few downsides to running an impaired driving trial. The court room experience we have built over the years by running thousands of trials pays dividends for each and every one of our clients.

Many less experienced counsel will shy away from challenging supposedly open and shut impaired cases. Our lawyers can rely on a huge wealth of experience to find ingenious ways to successfully defend their clients. In any criminal trial, there can be no guarantee of success and one should beware of any lawyer who does. However, we are confident that our lawyers are among the very best in this field and among a select few in Alberta who truly know this area of the law. With that expertise we can confidently tell our clients we are amongst a very small group of lawyers that can truly offer a client every defence possible in this exceedingly complex area of the law.

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If you have a criminal law issue, contact one of our lawyers immediately.

EDMONTON 300 Maclean Block, 10110 - 107 Street, Edmonton, AB | Toll Free 1-877-277-4766

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