Driving Under the Influence: Potential Consequences and Charges

Driving under the influence is a criminal offence punishable under the Criminal Code. If convicted, you’ll wind up with a criminal record and face various consequences, the nature of which depend upon the specific circumstances involved. If you’ve been charged with impaired driving in Grande Prairie, hiring a criminal lawyer from Banks, Gubbins and Andrews Criminal Law might lead to more favourable results. While there are no guarantees, many of our clients have seen their cases dismissed.  Those who simply plead guilty to charges laid will face the full extent of the law.

Repercussions of getting charged with a DUI (Driving under the influence)

Alberta has some of the toughest penalties in Canada for getting caught driving under the influence. The legal limit for blood alcohol content is .08. Penalties are more severe for those charged a second or third time within a ten-year period. Among the penalties convicted individuals face are:

  • Licence suspension
    • In Alberta, when a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe a person is driving with an illegal amount of alcohol (“over 80”) in their system, is driving impaired, or is refusing or failing to blow into a breath device in Alberta, the Alberta government will immediately suspend your license for three months.
    • After that three month period ends you will have to install a breathalyser device (Ignition Interlock) for a year. This suspension is automatic and you only have a limited thirty (30) day window to file an appeal of the suspension. Due to this it is critical that you consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged.
    • This Provincial suspension operates regardless of whether you are found not guilty of your associated criminal charges.
    • In additional to the Provincial suspension a person is also at jeopardy of significant mandatory license suspensions if you are convicted of any impaired related offence.
  • Vehicle Impoundment
    • Everyone charged with a drinking and driving related offence will have whatever vehicle he or she was driving (including employer’s vehicle) immediately impounded for a number of days, resulting in high towing and storage fees.
  • Compulsory classes.
    • “Planning Ahead” is the compulsory one-day course mandated to those convicted of impaired driving related offences. It teaches participants how to make responsible decisions regarding alcohol consumption. Second-time offenders are required to attend “Impact,” a more intensive, weekend-long course that among other things assesses participants for alcohol addiction.
  • Ignition interlock system
    • Anyone convicted of impaired related driving offences will very likely be required to have this device installed in their vehicle for one to three years. It requires drivers to provide an alcohol-free breath sample before the engine will start.
  • Fees
    • In addition to any fine and victim fine surcharge you may receive as a sentence, there are a number of additional, often overlooked, costs involved. You’ll need to pay for vehicle impoundment and towing, compulsory classes, various charges associated with the ignition interlock system, and licence reinstatement fees.
  • Jail
    • The maximum jail sentence for certain impaired related driving offences can be up to life in prison. Depending on your personal situation and the circumstances of the offence jail is a possibility and in some circumstances there are minimum jail sentences that the Court cannot deviate from.

Before you plead guilty

If you’ve been charged with impaired driving, a lawyer from Banks, Gubbins and Andrews Criminal Law in Grande Prairie can help. Contact us today to book a consultation with a criminal lawyer and find out if your case can be favourably resolved.