DUI / Impaired Driving

A DUI refers to criminal driving charges that involve impairment, including Impaired Driving, Driving Over 80 and Refusal to Provide a Sample.

A DUI refers to criminal driving charges that involve impairment, including Impaired Driving, Driving Over 80 and Refusal to Provide a Sample.

Impaired Driving or Driving over 80 simply means that you are charged with driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level higher than the law permits, or while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

In an Impaired Driving case, the Crown must prove that your ability to drive was impaired either by drugs or alcohol. At trial, the Crown relies on and refers to any signs of intoxication that the police officer observed.

If you provided a sample of your breath or blood to the officer after you were pulled over, you may be charged with Driving Over 80. In these cases, the Crown only needs to prove that the sample you provided indicated a blood alcohol level above 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood.

If you are stopped for an impaired driving investigation, an officer may demand a sample of your breath or blood. A Refusal charge refers to non-compliance with a valid demand for a breath or blood sample. You may be charged if you outright refuse to provide a sample or if you fail to provide a sample after several attempts.

Defending Driving Over 80 charges often requires a highly complex and technical trial strategy. The Crown will likely rely on a Certificate of Analysis stating that your blood alcohol level exceeded 80 mg per 100 ml of blood. In these cases, an experienced lawyer can challenge the reliability of the machine that took the sample, or whether you were afforded all your constitutional rights during the investigation. If the investigation was not properly conducted or your Charter rights were violated, Roulston Criminal Defence Firm can apply to have the Certificate of Analysis excluded as a whole.

In impaired driving cases, many citizens honestly do not believe they were impaired to drive and their belief may even be true. However, whether the belief is true or not, the reality is, the accused may still be convicted of a criminal offence in court. The strength of the investigation and the officer’s observations are often central to building a defence against these cases.

Refusal charges sometimes arise from an honest but unsuccessful attempt to provide a sample. These cases are often prosecuted despite a genuine attempt on your part to provide a sample. Assessing whether you have a legal justification for refusing or failing to provide a sample is a complicated task. You have the right to refuse a demand that has not been validly made, you can also refuse to provide a sample if you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. Roulston Criminal Defence Firm can employ years of experience defending you against your Refusal charge.

The Government of Alberta allows the police to seize your vehicle for three to seven days, and to suspend your license until your charges are resolved.

The police can also confiscated property such as your cell phone or cash. If the police have seized your property in a search, you may be able to have those items returned. 

Asset Recovery is a complicated legal matter best tackled by a qualified lawyer, such as those at Roulston Criminal Defence Firm.

Impaired driving cases (including Driving Over 80 and Refusal to provide) carry a minimum mandatory sentence pursuant to the Criminal Code of Canada.

On a first offence, the minimum penalty is a $1000 fine and a one-year driving prohibition. You may be able to drive after three months if you apply for and have the Interlock Device installed in your vehicle. You will be required to have the Interlock Device installed in your vehicle for one year.

On a second offence within 5 years, the minimum penalty is a 30-day jail sentence and a two-year driving prohibition. You may be able to drive after six months if you apply for and have the Interlock Device installed in your vehicle. You may be required to have the Interlock Device installed in your vehicle for three years.

On a third offence and any subsequent offences within 5 years, the minimum is a 120-day jail sentence and a three-year driving prohibition. You may be able to drive after 12 months if you apply for and have the Interlock Device installed in your vehicle.  You may be required to have the Interlock Device installed in your vehicle for five years.

If you struggle with alcoholism and your DUI charge stems from your addiction, Roulston Criminal Defence Firm may be able to apply for a Curative Discharge. A Curative Discharge Application can be made regardless of whether you already have a related criminal record. If successful, you will be sentenced to a period of probation during which time you must complete counselling. You will still be subject to a driving prohibition, but you will not be required to pay the mandatory fine, nor will you be sent to jail.

The Ignition Interlock Program requires that you install an Interlock Device into your vehicle for a period of time after conviction.

You are required to provide a breath sample into the device before operating your vehicle and if the device detects alcohol your vehicle will not start. The Alberta Transportation Safety Board monitors the results.

People are often charged with both Impaired Driving and Driving Over 80. An acquittal on one charge does not mean an acquittal on the other however you cannot be sentenced for both of the charges. For instance, you can be acquitted of Driving Over 80 and convicted of Impaired Driving, but you CANNOT be convicted and sentenced for both.

You can, however, be convicted and sentenced for Impaired Driving AND Refusal to Provide.

The police may charge you with Impaired Driving, Driving Over 80, or Refusal, even if you were not actually driving the vehicle. Often the police will allege that you were in Care and Control of the vehicle, meaning you were impaired while inside your vehicle but not necessarily while the vehicle was in motion. Roulston Criminal Defence is experienced at defending Care and Control DUI cases.