Drunk driving, or impaired driving, is a serious offence in Canada that can have severe consequences for your personal and professional life. If you are charged with drunk driving in Edmonton, you may face criminal charges, fines, licence suspensions, vehicle seizures, mandatory education programs, ignition interlock devices, and even jail time. The penalties depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the number of previous offences, and whether you caused any injuries or deaths.
However, being charged with drunk driving does not necessarily mean that you are guilty or that you have no options to defend yourself. A drunk driving lawyer in Edmonton can help you navigate the complex legal system, protect your rights, and explore possible ways to reduce your charges or penalties.
In this blog post, we will explain how a drunk driving lawyer in Edmonton can assist you in different scenarios and what benefits you can expect from hiring one.
Scenario 1: You Are Charged With A Criminal Offence For Having A BAC Of 0.08% Or Higher
If you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you will be arrested and charged with a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. This is the most serious type of impaired driving charge, and it carries the following minimum penalties for a first offence:
- A fine of $1,000
- A one-year licence suspension
- A one-year mandatory ignition interlock program
- A criminal record
The penalties increase for subsequent offences and can include longer suspensions, higher fines, and jail time. Additionally, you may face civil lawsuits from any victims or their families if you caused any injuries or deaths.
Hiring a drunk driving lawyer in Edmonton can help you challenge the criminal charge by:
- Reviewing the evidence against you and identifying any errors or weaknesses
- Questioning the validity and reliability of the breathalyzer test or the blood sample analysis
- Arguing that your Charter rights were violated by the police during the arrest or the investigation
- Negotiating with the Crown prosecutor to reduce the charge to a lesser offence or to drop it altogether
- Representing you in court and presenting a strong defence on your behalf
Moreover, you may be able to avoid a criminal conviction, which can have serious implications for your future employment, travel, insurance, and immigration status.
Scenario 2: You Are Issued Immediate Roadside Sanctions For Having A BAC Between 0.05% And 0.08%
If you are caught driving with a BAC between 0.05% and 0.08%, you will not be charged with a criminal offence, but you will face immediate roadside sanctions under the Traffic Safety Act of Alberta. These sanctions include:
- A $300 fine
- A 3-day licence suspension
- A 3-day vehicle seizure
The sanctions increase for subsequent offences and can include longer suspensions, higher fines, and mandatory education programs.
A drunk driving lawyer in Edmonton can help you appeal the immediate roadside sanctions by:
- Requesting a review of the sanctions by SafeRoads Alberta, an independent adjudication branch that handles impaired driving appeals
- Challenging the accuracy and legality of the roadside screening device or the approved screening device used by the police
- Providing evidence or arguments that show that the sanctions were unreasonable or unjustified
- Representing you at the hearing and advocating for your interests
By hiring a drunk driving lawyer in Edmonton, you may be able to overturn or reduce the immediate roadside sanctions, which can affect your ability to drive, work, and live normally.
Scenario 3: You Are Issued Immediate Roadside Sanctions For Refusing To Provide A Breath Sample
If you refuse to provide a breath sample when requested by the police, you will face both criminal charges and immediate roadside sanctions. The criminal charge for refusal carries the same penalties as having a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The immediate roadside sanctions for refusal include:
- A $1,000 fine
- A 90-day licence suspension
- A 30-day vehicle seizure
The sanctions increase for subsequent offences and can include longer suspensions, higher fines, and mandatory ignition interlock programs.
A drunk driving lawyer in Edmonton can help you fight both the criminal charge and the immediate roadside sanctions by:
- Explaining the reasons for your refusal and whether they were valid or not
- Examining the circumstances of your arrest and whether the police had reasonable grounds to demand a breath sample
- Contesting the constitutionality of the refusal charge and whether it infringes on your right to silence or your right against self-incrimination.
- Seeking a plea bargain or a diversion program that can spare you from a criminal conviction
- Applying for a review of the sanctions by SafeRoads Alberta and presenting your case at the hearing
By hiring a drunk driving lawyer in Edmonton, you may be able to avoid or minimize the consequences of refusing to provide a breath sample, which can be more severe than failing the test.
Slaferek Law is one of the most trusted criminal law firms in Edmonton, Alberta. We are a team of lawyers who are passionate about defending the rights and freedoms of our clients. We handle all types of criminal cases, including impaired driving. We have successfully defended hundreds of clients who faced drunk driving charges in Edmonton.
We know how to handle every aspect of your case, from the arrest to the trial, and will work tirelessly to protect your interests and reputation. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you get back on the road.