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Impaired Driving Lawyer Edmonton and Grande Prairie

Have you been accused of impaired driving or refusing to provide a sample in Alberta? Seeking the immediate professional advice of a criminal defence lawyer is imperative before appearing in court. You may be able to 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 impaired driving-related offences.

The most important first step you can do is to hire a well-respected DUI lawyer in Edmonton or 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 impaired operation allegations extremely seriously. Impaired driving has become one of the most complex areas of criminal defence work. If you have been accused of operating a vehicle while impaired (DUI) or refusing to provide a sample, it is important to rely on specialized and experienced defence lawyers who can assist in the constantly changing provincial punishments and regulations related to these offences.

The moment that you are charged with these offences, you will be suspended under the Traffic Safety Act. If convicted of operating a vehicle while impaired, or refusing to provide a sample DUI, the consequences can be quite severe. If it is your first offence, you will likely be facing a fine, a lengthy driving suspension and a permanent criminal record.

Insurance rates will also increase substantially. If it is your second (or third offence), there is a real possibility that you may be facing a period of imprisonment. This is why seeking legal advice from a lawyer who specializes in defending these types of charges is vital. Contact our Edmonton or Grande Prairie Office for a free consultation.

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 or drug that affects your ability to operate a vehicle. It is important to note that a DUI charge is based on your ability to operate a vehicle and not on the results of an analysis of your breath.

To be convicted of impaired driving, a crown prosecutor must prove beyond 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 Impairment Observed by the Law?

Police do not need to prove your blood alcohol level to convict you of operating a vehicle while under the influence. Even if your ability to drive was slightly impaired due to consuming alcohol and/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 may 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; and,
  • Stumbling, difficulty standing or walking in a straight line, and other simple problems with 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.

In 2014, according to the Edmonton Police Service, 1,838 people were arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. 74 people were arrested in December alone as a result of Operation Checkstop.

What are the Main Categories of a DUI?

The three main criminal offences related to impaired driving are:

  • 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 will be seized immediately and your ability to drive will be suspended. This suspension can be appealed but must be done within 30 days. Our lawyers are very experienced in these appeals and may be able to can get your licence back depending on the right facts.

What Happens if you Drive While Suspended or Disqualified?

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 additional 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 when you are required to attend for court and when you are required to attend at the police station for fingerprinting. 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 being issued for your arrest. This is why immediately seeking the legal advice of a DUI lawyer in Edmonton or Grande Prairie is imperative. Knowing your rights and your legal obligations is key.

Notice of Intention To Seek Greater Punishment:

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

Certificate of Analysis:

This certificate provides your blood alcohol level obtained the “approved instrument”. This certificate will provide 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 will 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)

Consequences of Impaired Driving:

First Offence:

The mandatory minimum penalty is a $1000.00 dollar fine and a one year licence prohibition. The maximum is 5 years in jail and a 3 year driving prohibition.

Second Offence:

The mandatory minimum is 30 days in jail and a 2 year licence prohibition.

Third and Subsequent Offence:

The mandatory minimum is 120 days in jail and a 3 year 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 a random samples of breath to start the vehicle. 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 are serious and require a law firm that have experience in order to provide you the best possible case in court. Our practice focuses exclusively in the area of criminal law, one that has a long history of representing clients with DUI allegations and offences in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, and the surrounding areas.

Our lawyers are trained on breath-testing instruments, and represented clients of DUI cases at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. If accused of DUI, you are facing an 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 as simple as 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 or 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 Alberta there can be consequences 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 depend on how often this has occurred.

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 law. At Beresh Aloneissi O’Neill, a number of our Edmonton DUI 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 ability to drive 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 investigation.

Since then there have been thousands of cases on hundreds of complex legal issues that have a significant impact on defending people charged with impaired driving, driving over .08 and refusing to provide a breath sample.

In addition to Charter issues, there are many highly technical defences that arise in this area such as “bolus” drinking and whether the police properly followed the steps 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.

Lawyers with less experienced may shy away from challenging supposedly open and shut impaired cases. Our lawyers 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 be warye of any lawyer who does. However, we are confident that our Edmonton DUI 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 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

GRANDE PRAIRIE Suite #510, 10014 - 99 Street, Grande Prairie, AB | Toll Free 1-800-565-5415

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