DUI Charges

Calgary Criminal Defence Practices

Impaired Driving Offences

Calgary Impaired Driving Defence Services

Are you a resident of Calgary or surrounding area who has been charged with an impaired driving offence? Batting, Wyman Barristers can help. Our team of experienced DUI lawyers can provide you with the strong legal representation you need to generate the best possible defence.

Major-changes-to-impaired-driving-laws

Impaired driving law has changed a great deal over the last number of years. Recent amendments to the Criminal Code have now made it easier for the Crown to obtain a conviction. The penalties should a conviction result have also increased. Given the technical nature of impaired driving prosecutions, it is imperative that an individual hire counsel with experience in this arena.

Impaired driving cases are one of the main focuses of our practice. We have conducted hundreds of such trials and are in court on a weekly basis defending clients. Consequently, we are extremely well versed with the arguments needed to obtain an acquittal. Once retained, our office obtains the Crown disclosure material. This constitutes the entirety of the prosecution’s case and includes the officer notes, Intoxilizer maintenance records, and any relevant media. Once this is acquired we meticulously evaluate the officer’s investigation searching for irregularities. At trial, these deficiencies are then exposed.

How We Can Help You With Impaired Driving Charges

When an individual is arrested for impaired operation of a motor vehicle they are taken to the nearest police detachment in order to provide breath samples. Once at the station, it is the role of the breath technician to collect the evidentiary breath samples. This is accomplished by the client blowing into an Intoxilizer which produces their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Should their BCA exceed .08 grams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood, a charge will be laid. Like all Criminal Code offences, the client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That said, when an individual is charged with an impaired driving offence, provincial legislation requires that their vehicle be impounded and that their license be suspended for 90 days. The impoundment costs are considerable; however, the immediate driving prohibition is often our client’s biggest concern at the outset. Given the time requirements, appealing the license suspension is our office’s first priority.
Impaired driving prosecutions are largely based on the quality of the officer’s investigation. The cases often focus on the Certificate of Analyst (the document generated from the Intoxilizer which shows the individual’s BAC) and whether it is admitted into evidence. It is the defence lawyer’s role to seek exclusion of this document. This can be achieved by way of constitutional Charter arguments or through non-compliance with the relevant Criminal Code provisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I just plead guilty?

  • Absolutely not. Impaired/.08 operation of a motor vehicle is Criminal Code Offence. As such, a criminal record, fines, incarceration, and driving prohibitions are all on the table if convicted. The type of penalty imposed is commensurate with the client’s prior criminal record, the blood alcohol concentration and whether a collision/injuries ensued.
    While there is often little dispute that our client has operated a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol, obtaining a conviction is no easy task for the Crown. Impaired driving offences are complex in that they focus on the quality of the police officer’s investigation and whether the evidentiary prerequisites for admissibility have been satisfied. While numerous defence lawyers shy away from such cases, impaired driving matters are a cornerstone of this firm. Should a case deficiency exist, it will be identified and exploited by our skilled lawyers.

How do I get my license back after being charged?

  • In Alberta, an individual’s license is suspended immediately after a charge has been laid by police. This flows from the provisions of the Traffic Safety Act, a piece of provincial legislation. The suspension lasts for 90 days, after which time the client can operate their vehicle if they’ve had the ignition interlock device installed. Such a device will allow the vehicle to start provided the driver is capable of providing a breath sample with 0 blood alcohol concentration. The suspension applies to all motorists, even those who are ultimately acquitted of the criminal charges.
    A without notice driving prohibition is immensely problematic and leads to complications with employment, child care, and travel plans. Fortunately, the driving prohibition can be challenged by way of an administrative appeal. That said, time is of the essence. The relevant legislation requires that the Transportation and Safety Board appeal be filed within 30 days of the suspension being issued. The filing of this appeal is a priority once our office assumes conduct of the file. Should the appeal not be filed, the client will be forced to drive with the ignition interlock device, and be responsible for the costs affiliated with its installation and operation, for 12 months minimum. As getting back on the road remains a priority for our clients, haste action appeal-wise is imperative.

I’ve been charged with impaired operation, do any defences exist?

  • Impaired driving prosecutions are a specific subset of the Criminal Code. Given its intricacy, they are conducted by a specialized prosecutorial unit. A successful defence hinges on the defence lawyer’s ability to locate irregularities in the investigation and knowledge of the case law. The lion’s share of defences are constitutional in nature and flow from the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Issues often arise pertaining the lawfulness of the traffic stop, the grounds for arrest, the timing of the relevant breath demands and samples, as well as the opportunity to speak with counsel. In addition to Charter matters, the Criminal Code contains provisions regarding admissibility of documentary evidence, this includes the Certificate of Analyst which sets forth the blood alcohol concentration of the accused’s breath samples. While these are arguments that are commonly advanced, the technical nature of this area of law allows experienced counsel a multitude of defences.

How does refusing to provide a breath sample differ from other impaired driving charges?

  • Section 320.15 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to fail or refuse to provide a breath or blood demand. If convicted, the consequences for a refusal are identical to its impaired operation and .08 counterparts. While penalties are equivalent, the elements of proof required differ drastically. For any refusal prosecution, the Crown must prove the existence of a lawful demand and an act or series of acts that constitute a failure or refusal by the accused. This can be accomplished by the client communicating verbally or through their actions that they will not provide a sample. Alternatively, clients will be charged if they attempt to but are unable to provide a sample but are unable to do so. Should the Crown prove these elements, it then falls to the defence to establish that a reasonable excuse exists. Lawful excuses include but are not limited to: medical issues, police mistreatment, as well as legitimate concerns concerning the working order of the device.