Defence Lawyer Edmonton | Understanding Impaired Driving Laws
Understanding impaired driving laws in Alberta is crucial to ensuring your safety, adhering to legal requirements, and avoiding legal consequences says Janan Jarrah, defence lawyer Edmonton and owner at eLaw Alliance. Impaired driving, also known as driving under the influence (DUI), means operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and is taken very seriously in Alberta because of the potential risks it poses to road safety. The main points covered in the article about DUI laws in Alberta are:
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits
- Breathalyzer Tests
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
- Your Legal Defence
- The Consequences of Driving Impaired
Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits
In Canada, the legal limit of BAC is 0.08 or higher. If your BAC is equal to or exceeds 0.08, you can be charged with impaired driving under the federal limits. If you are driving on a learner’s license, or are a commercial driver, there is a zero-tolerance policy. Any detectable amount of alcohol or drugs while driving is considered an offense. As well, many people may not know that Alberta has their own legal limit of BAC which is lower than the federal limit. In Alberta, if your BAC is between 0.05 to 0.079 you can also face provincial impaired driving penalties.
Finally, many people may not even realize that they personally are impaired long before they reach the legal limits of intoxication, in these cases, if you drank even a small amount alcohol and then drove, you could be charged with impaired driving. Regardless of if you were charged with DUI federally, or provincially, you will need the help from a great defence lawyer Edmonton to help you out.
Breathalyzer Tests and Refusal
In Alberta, police officers are allowed conduct breathalyzer tests on drivers they suspect of impaired driving. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in immediate consequences, such as license suspension and vehicle impoundment, in addition to potential criminal charges. If you have been charged with a DUI, or if you refused a breathalyzer test, you will need help from a defence lawyer to help you navigate the court system.
Impaired driving laws also includes driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana. Alberta has established legal limits for certain drugs in a driver’s system. Police officers have tools to detect drug impairment, like roadside drug screening devices, and can always administer a standardized field sobriety test (SFST) instead of a breathalyzer or oral fluid sample. Please note: failure to comply with an SFST will result in criminal charges similar or greater to penalties incurred while driving impaired. If you have failed to comply with a test, you will need defence lawyer Edmonton to help you with your legal case.
Defenses and Legal Assistance
If you end up being charged with impaired driving, get help from a defence lawyer Edmonton like the experts at eLaw Alliance in Edmonton. Lawyers can consider potential defenses, challenge evidence, and help you through the legal system. For example: there are medical reasons to refuse to provide a breath or oral fluid sample, even if your refusal caused you to get arrested. Once arrested, you may be evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) with a 12-step test.
Consequences of Impaired Driving
Driving while impaired while in Alberta carries serious consequences like:
Immediate License Suspension: If you’re caught driving with a BAC over 0.08, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended, you will be charged with driving under the influence, and your vehicle will be impounded. However, if you are driving with a lower BAC of 0.05 to 0.079, your vehicle may still be impounded at your expense, and you may receive a fine up to $2000.
Criminal Charges: Many people may not realize that driving while impaired is actually a criminal offense. If you are convicted of this, in addition to having to pay fines, you also will have to take alcohol education programs, and in serious or repeat offenses, prison time.
Ignition Interlock: If you are convicted of impaired driving, you may be required to have an ignition device in your vehicle. This will prevent the vehicle from starting until you provide a breath sample proving you do not have alcohol in your system.
Driving Record: If convicted with impaired driving, that will appear on your driving record for many years. It will increase your insurance payments, and may affect your driving privileges.
Criminal Record: Once you are convicted of impaired driving, you will have a criminal record. That can negatively affect your employment and will prevent you from travelling internationally.
Know the Consequences – Contact A Lawyer Today
Understanding impaired driving laws in Alberta as well as in Canada is so important for all drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will have serious legal and personal consequences. Drivers need to prioritize safety, make responsible choices, and be aware of your legal obligations when operating a vehicle. However, if you do find yourself charged with a DUI, contact our expert defence lawyer Edmonton help with the team at eLaw Alliance today.