Impaired Driving (DUI)

Definition of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Charges

Driving under the influence (DUI), sometimes called Driving while Impaired (DWI) charges are common in Canada and Alberta. They are sometimes called DWI (driving while impaired) charges. The lawyers at Bottos Law Group have a vast amount of experience defending these cases.

The basic concept is — a person gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol (blood alcohol concentration), drugs (blood drug concentration), or both. 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 either a blood/alcohol content above .08 or a blood/drug concentration over 5 nanograms of THC, or a combination of an alcohol level over .05 and 2 nanograms of THC, or 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 may require you to provide a roadside sample at any time. Police officers can also charge you with impaired driving after you have finished driving, or if you are in care and control of a vehicle.

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 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 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.

Consequences of Conviction

Conviction for any of these offences, even for a first offence, carries with it a hefty fine, suspension, 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, 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; and
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.

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.

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