Criminal Defence Lawyer Calgary

What Is the Difference between Impaired Driving and Driving over 80?

  • 12 January 2016

Two types of DUI charges in Calgary are “Impaired Driving” and “Driving over 80.” Impaired driving means operating a motor vehicle while your driving abilities are impaired either as a result of drinking or using drugs. Driving over 80 means operating a motor vehicle while your blood alcohol level is more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. It is important to mention that “Driving over 80” is also “Impaired Driving.” In some cases you could be charged with both types of DUI offences.

For both types of DUI offences, the police must notice some form of erratic driving behaviour, such as weaving back and forth in the lane or failure to stop at a traffic signal. This is called “reasonable grounds” and provides a reason to initiate a traffic stop and question the driver and their behaviour. The police cannot stop you unless they have reasonable grounds. Without reasonable grounds, should you be stopped, the evidence you were impaired or driving over 80 can be challenged since there was a lack of reasonable grounds for the traffic stop.

What Happens After Being Stopped?

Upon being stopped, if the police notice certain signs, such as the smell of alcohol, open alcohol/beer containers in the vehicle, slurred speech, or red, watery, or blood shot eyes, then the police might have the right to make further inquiry about the driver’s consumption of alcohol and/or drugs. Normally, upon suspicion of either driving impaired or over 80, the police will ask you to perform certain roadside sobriety tests.

If you fail these tests, then the police can request you provide a sample. Refusing to provide a sample carriers with it the same penalties as impaired driving and driving over 80, if you are convicted and found guilty. If the police do not have a roadside breathalyzer, they will transport you to the local police station where two samples are collected. Even in cases where the police collect a sample roadside, they still have to take you to the local police station and collect two additional samples.

After arriving at the police station, the police may request to interview you further as a means to substantiate you were driving impaired or over 80. However, prior to questioning you, the police must inform you of your right to counsel before being questioned. The police have to offer you the option to speak to a Calgary criminal defence lawyer and make this offer promptly before they can interrogate you further about the drinking and driving offence.

Why Do I Need a DUI Defence Lawyer?

While the law does allow you to represent yourself in criminal matters, including drinking and driving related offences, you probably are unaware of the technicalities and intricacies of the laws surrounding DUI-related offences. Retaining the services of a skilled and knowledgeable DUI defence lawyer provides the opportunity to build a strategic defence to the charges. Many of these defences tend to revolve around police error or other such technicalities where your rights might have been violated.

Keep in mind the above information is presented for informative purposes only and should not construed as actual legal advice. If you require legal advice for an “Impaired Driving” or “Driving over 80” offence, contact the law offices of Paul Gracia today at 403-975-4529 for a complimentary consultation appointment.

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Gracia Law
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