Definition of Drinking and Driving Charges
Drinking and driving charges are common in Canada and Alberta. They are sometimes called DUI or DWI charges. The lawyers at Bottos Law Grouphave a vast amount of experience defending these cases.
The basic concept is — a person gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. The law in this area, however, is very complex.
The three most common driving offences we see are impaired driving, operating a motor vehicle with a blood/alcohol content above .08, and refusal to blow. Sometimes, there are also charges for dangerous or reckless driving.
Proving the Charge
Proof of an impaired driving charge requires the Crown to call evidence, usually from police investigators, of the state of sobriety of an alleged impaired driver.
Proving a charge of operating over .08 is much more complicated. This is a very highly technical area of the law, and it is constantly changing. If you are charged with this offence, typically you have blown into a breath testing device at the police station, and you have produced a breath sample in excess of the legal limit. This breath sample will be depicted on a Certificate of Analysis; the Crown must surmount many technical hurdles before the Certificate of Analysis can be entered into evidence at a trial. Because of the technical nature of the law, it is important that you have an impaired driving lawyer.
Refusal to blow is essentially a failure or a refusal to provide a breath or blood sample when a police officer has lawfully demanded that you do so. It is an offence to refuse a roadside breath test or to refuse a demand to blow into an evidentiary breath machine. It is nearly always advisable to blow when a demand is given. Refusal cases are often more difficult to defend than a charge of operating over .08.
Consequences of Conviction
Conviction for any of these offences, even for a first offence, carries with it a hefty fine and a driving prohibition of at least one year.
There are more serious offences under the Criminal Code, where an accused can be charged with impaired driving, dangerous driving, or criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death. Jail sentences typically result from conviction.
The consequences for any of these offences are significant. They include:
Immediate loss of licence at roadside;
Fines and/or jail sentences;
Loss of driver’s licence for a period of at least one year;
Large increases in automobile insurance premiums; and
A criminal record.
If you are charged with an impaired driving offence, call Bottos Law Group at 780-421-7001. We will fight for you, and we get results.