Impaired Driving & DUI Lawyers Serving Edmonton & Alberta
Have you been charged with or accused of impaired driving in Alberta? Our experienced lawyers can help inform you of your legal rights and even help you get your license back.
Contact our lawyers today to book your consultation.
What Is A DUI?
Driving under the influence (DUI), sometimes referred to as impaired driving or driving while impaired (DWI), is the term used for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (blood alcohol concentration), drugs (blood drug concentration), or both.
DUI or impaired driving charges are common in Canada and Alberta and are constantly changing, making it one of the most complicated criminal law practice areas. Our criminal lawyers at Bottos Law Group have strong experience defending these cases in Edmonton and across Alberta.
The most common impaired driving offences we see are:
- Impaired driving, operating a motor vehicle with either a blood/alcohol content above .08.
- Impaired driving, operating a motor vehicle with a blood/drug concentration over 5 nanograms of THC.
- A combination of an alcohol level over .05 and 2 nanograms of THC.
- A refusal to provide a breath or fluid sample.
Sometimes, there are also charges for dangerous or reckless driving. The law in this area has recently been made more strict. Police officers can require you to provide a roadside sample at any time. Police officers can also charge you with impaired driving after you have stopped driving, or if you are in care and control of a vehicle.
Consequences Of Impaired Driving
Conviction for any impaired driving offence, even for a first offence, carries with it:
- A hefty fine
- Licence suspension
- 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, 90 day suspension and 12 months on an ignition interlock program
- Fines and/or jail sentences
- Loss of driver’s licence for a period of at least one year
- Large increases in automobile insurance premiums
- A criminal record
You may have a limited time to contact a lawyer after you have been charged in order to preserve all of your rights, so be sure to get in touch with a lawyer you can trust as soon as possible.
2020 Changes To Impaired Driving Laws In Alberta
As of December 1, 2020, Peace Officers in Alberta have statutory authority to charge a suspected impaired driver under the Traffic Safety Act, rather than laying charges through the Criminal Code of Canada. If you are charged as a suspected impaired driver under the Traffic Safety Act, you have only 7 days from the date of the incident to file an appeal of your licence suspension.
If the accused is a repeat offender or is alleged to have caused bodily harm or injury, the officer will lay criminal charges in addition to provincial penalties.
If an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a driver has committed a driving offence, the driver will receive an administrative penalty, known as IRS-Fail.
What is the penalty for impaired driving in Alberta?
Based on the new 2020 changes to impaired driving laws, the penalty for impaired driving in Alberta is:
- An IRS-Fail — an immediate roadside suspension — under the Traffic Safety Act
- A 15-month suspension of a driver’s license
- Eligibility for ignition interlock device (i.e. blow box) after 90 days
- A 30-day vehicle seizure
- A fine between $1,000 and $2,000 in addition to 30% Victim Fine Surcharge
- A mandatory attendance of impaired driving education course
Proving An Impaired Driving 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 a blood/alcohol concentration of over .08, or a blood/drug concentration over 5 nanograms of THC, is much more complicated. This is a very highly technical area of the law, and it is constantly changing.
If you are charged with either of these offences, typically you have blown into a breath-testing device or provided a fluid sample at the police station, and you have produced a sample in excess of the legal limits. The breath sample, for example, 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, or to provide a fluid sample, 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 fluid sample. It is nearly always advisable to provide a breath or fluid sample when a demand is given. Refusal cases are often more difficult to defend than a charge of operating over .08 blood/alcohol concentration or a blood/drug concentration over 5 nanograms of THC.
Looking For An Impaired Driving, DUI, Or DWI Lawyer In Edmonton Or Alberta?
If you are charged with an impaired driving offence in Edmonton or the surrounding area, call our criminal lawyers at 780-421-7001. We will fight for you, and we get results.