Being accused of impaired driving in Alberta is a significant legal issue that can carry severe consequences under the Traffic Safety Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. Knowing how to navigate the implications of such an accusation is crucial in order to safeguard your personal and legal interests. Individuals facing such charges must have a clear understanding of the laws and potential penalties, as Alberta enforces immediate roadside sanctions for drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as additional criminal charges that can be imposed by the court.
When accused of impaired driving, one must act promptly and judiciously to protect their rights. This involves a thorough assessment of the situation and securing legal representation. Experienced defense lawyers in Alberta are equipped to scrutinize the details of the impaired driving charge, including the process followed during one’s arrest and the gathering of evidence. It’s essential for those accused to remain informed about their legal options and participate actively in their defense strategy to challenge the allegations effectively.
Understanding Impaired Driving Laws in Alberta
In Alberta, impaired driving laws are strict and the consequences can be severe. It is important for individuals to understand the specifics of these laws, including the definition of impaired driving, legal BAC limits, and the penalties that can ensue.
Definition of Impaired Driving
Impaired driving in Alberta is defined as operating a vehicle while one’s ability to do so is compromised by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The law covers not only prescription and illegal drugs but also over-the-counter medications that may affect driving abilities.
Legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limits
The legal BAC limit in Alberta for fully licensed drivers is under 0.08%. Drivers who are found to have a BAC between 0.05% and 0.079% can also face provincial sanctions. For new drivers under the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program, a zero tolerance policy is in effect, which means their BAC must be 0.00%.
Penalties for Impaired Driving
Impaired driving penalties in Alberta can include immediate license suspensions, vehicle seizures, fines, and mandatory participation in an ignition interlock program. Specifically, drivers may face an immediate 30-day license suspension and a 7-day vehicle seizure. On top of a $200 fine, there is an additional victim fine surcharge. Subsequent offenses result in harsher penalties.
Protecting Your Rights After Accusation
When accused of impaired driving in Alberta, it is critical to act promptly and understand your legal rights. Doing so can significantly affect the outcome of your case.
Immediate Steps to Take Following an Accusation
The moments after an accusation of impaired driving are crucial. Firstly, if stopped by law enforcement, one should comply with the immediate lawful demands, such as providing a driver’s license and proof of insurance. Secondly, it’s important to be aware of your right to silence; you are not required to provide information that may incriminate you.
Do not refuse to provide a breath or blood sample: If the police have reasonable grounds to believe that you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, they can demand that you provide a breath or blood sample for analysis. If you refuse to do so, you can be charged with refusal, which carries the same penalties as impaired driving. Moreover, refusing to provide a sample can make your defense more difficult, as the court may infer that you were impaired and that you refused to avoid detection.
Lastly, document everything that occurred leading up to, during, and after the arrest, as these details might be pertinent to your defense.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Do not plead guilty or accept a deal without consulting a lawyer: If you are charged with impaired driving, you may be tempted to plead guilty or accept a deal from the prosecution to avoid a trial and get a reduced sentence. However, this can have serious and lasting consequences for your life, such as losing your license, getting a criminal record, and facing higher insurance rates. Before you make any decision, you should consult a lawyer who can advise you on the best course of action for your case. A lawyer can also help you negotiate a better deal or apply for a diversion program, such as the Alternative Measures Program (AMP) or the Impaired Driver Program (IDP), which may allow you to avoid a conviction or a criminal record.
Navigating the Court Process
Understanding the court process is a critical part of defending against an impaired driving accusation. One should be informed about the timeline of court proceedings, bail conditions if applicable, and any required appearances. Legal counsel will be able to guide an accused through pre-trial motions and the trial itself, ensuring the preservation of legal rights and a fair trial. Proper preparation and understanding of court procedures can contribute to a more favorable defense strategy.
Our Approach to Impaired Driving Charges
At Kurie Moore Law Group, we take a comprehensive approach to defending impaired driving charges. Our experienced lawyers will review the evidence against you and use their expertise to build a strong defense strategy. We understand the importance of keeping you informed throughout the legal process and will work closely with you to ensure you understand your options and make informed decisions.
Our team of lawyers has a proven track record of success defending clients against impaired driving charges. We will use our knowledge and experience to fight for the best possible outcome for you.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact our office today for a free consultation with one of our impaired driving lawyers. Let us help you get your life back on track.