How a Drunk-Driving Charge in Alberta Will Impact Your Life

Thirty years ago, laws against drunk driving and the penalties associated with it were less severe than they are today. Nowadays, there’s no way you can avoid them, and if you make an attempt to drive while intoxicated, you’re in for a nasty surprise. The DUI laws in Calgary are no joke.

If you do get arrested (and charged) for impaired driving, here’s a glimpse of what life’s going to be like for you.

For a first offender, your vehicle will be seized immediately and your licence will be suspended. That means if you’re arrested and there are others in the vehicle with you, they will have to find a ride home. With your licence suspended, you’ll have to take buses and trains for quite awhile, or if you can afford it, you can get used to taking cabs. Once you get your licence back, you’ll need to install an ignition interlock device for at least 12 months after your conviction.

New Impaired Driving Laws

As of July 1, 2012, harsher laws were implemented in Alberta. If you get pulled over and found to have a BAC of at least .08, you’re going to lose your licence right away. What’s worse is that you won’t know how long your licence will be suspended for until after your criminal charge is set. This could take a few weeks to a few years.

Thousands Convicted of Impaired Driving Every Year

In Alberta, about 8,600 people have been convicted of impaired driving every year for the last 5 years. More people are killed in vehicle collisions involving alcohol during the summer than any other time of year.

On average, 1 in 5 drivers involved in fatal collisions has been found to be drinking prior to the accident. Additionally, nearly 90 individuals have been killed and 1,330 people injured every year in the last 5 years in collisions that involve at least one driver who had been drinking before the crash.

Anyone caught driving with a BAC of more than 0.08 will receive an immediate licence suspension and charged under the Criminal Code. Meanwhile, drivers caught with a BAC of between .05 to .08 will receive a 3-day licence suspension and 3-day seizure of vehicle.

How a DUI Charge Will Affect Your Life

Aside from getting your licence suspended and having to pay a steep fine, there are other consequences that you’ll need to face after receiving an impaired driving charge.

You may have to look for an alternative means of transportation that will get you to your place of work. If you are looking for a job, it can get quite complicated because some companies require criminal background checks and a lot of job applications also include a section that asks if you’ve been convicted of a criminal offence.

You may also start to worry about your reputation. In the Age of social media, people will find out about your DUI. Your co-workers might start to treat you a little differently, friends will gossip and even strangers will judge you.

Insurance premiums will also shoot up the moment you get a DUI conviction. You could pay as much as 3 times what you used to pay for your insurance policy and this inflated rate will continue for as long as 6 years.

What Can You Do

The single most effective way to avoid dealing with these consequences is to not drink and drive. But if you have been charged with a DUI, there’s still hope. Contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Alberta who can defend you in court and fight to get your charges reduced or dropped.