Do you need a lawyer for a DUI? If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence or received Notice of Administrative Penalty in Alberta, you are likely weighing the pros and cons for hiring a lawyer. Alberta’s Impaired Driving Framework has changed over the last few years, but if you have received an immediate roadside sanction (IRS) or a Criminal Charge, or both, it is imperative that you contact an experienced DUI defence lawyer. Here is how you know whether you need a lawyer for a DUI.
Types of DUIs in Alberta
Alberta’s Impaired Driving Framework has five different types of immediate roadside sanctions.
- IRS: FAIL
- IRS: WARN
- IRS ZERO: Novice
- IRS ZERO: Commercial
- IRS: 24 Hour
IRS: FAIL applies to any substance that may cause you to become impaired. If law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired to any degree by drugs and/or alcohol, within two hours of ceasing to operate a vehicle your blood alcohol concentration exceeds 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood, within two hours of ceasing to operate a vehicle your blood drug concentration or blood drug and blood alcohol concentration is equal to or exceeds what is prescribed by regulations under the Criminal Code, or you failed or refused without a reasonable excuse to comply with a demand made under the Criminal Code. An IRS: FAIL sanction is the most serious roadside sanction and comes with strict consequences such as vehicle seizures, licence suspensions, fines and victim surcharges, and required participation in the Planning Ahead course.
IRS: WARN is a lesser sanction and can be given to a person if law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe you operated a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.05 and 0.079. An IRS: WARN sanction will result in a licence suspension, vehicle seizure, and fine, although of a lesser extent than an IRS: FAIL sanction.
IRS ZERO: Novice
ISR ZERO: Novice applies to any driver with a Class 7 Learners Licence or a Class 5-GDL who is required to have a blood drug or blood alcohol concentration of zero when driving. If law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that these drivers operated a vehicle with any alcohol or drugs in their body, they can be given this sanction. The penalties for the IRS ZERO: Novice sanction is a 30 day licence suspension, a seven day vehicle seizure, and a $200 fine.
IRS ZERO: Commercial
IRS ZERO: Commercial applies to any commercial vehicle drivers, as Alberta requires a blood drug and blood alcohol concentration of zero for operating a vehicle in a commercial capacity (registered vehicle weight greater than 11,794 kg or a seating capacity of more than 11 passengers). If law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that a commercial driver operated a vehicle with any alcohol or drugs in their body, they can be given this sanction. The penalties for this sanction include a licence suspension and fine.
IRS: 24 Hour
The IRS: 25 Hour roadside sanction suspends a driver’s licence for 24 hours if law enforcement suspects that they are being impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a physical or medical condition. Drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol may receive an IRS:24 Hour sanction in addition to other immediate roadside sanctions. If your licence is suspended for medical reasons, a driver can have their file reviewed by Alberta Transportation’s Driver Fitness and Monitoring staff.
Benefits of a Lawyer for a DUI Charge or an IRS sanction:
Charges for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are serious, and they often require help from an experienced lawyer. In Alberta, driving under the influence results in the laying of a criminal offence less often than it used to, but it still happens. It is beneficial to have a lawyer for either a Criminal charge or an IRS. A lawyer can help you appeal an IRS.
A DUI Lawyer Can Represent You in an IRS Appeal.
A DUI lawyer understands the intricacies of Immediate Roadside Sanctions, impaired driving laws, as well as the specifics of your case. They will be able to determine if anything in your case is unlawful or was overlooked and argue on your behalf to get any sanctions removed from your record and keep you from paying penalties. This is the best case scenario, and it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced lawyer regarding your IRS sanctions.
A DUI Lawyer Can Help You Avoid a Record
If in addition to an IRS: FAIL, you received a Criminal Charge, it is obviously important to consult with experienced defence counsel to represent you in court. Hiring a DUI lawyer might help you avoid the difficulties associated with a criminal driving charge. If you are facing a criminal charge, you absolutely must contact an experienced DUI lawyer.
Are DUI Lawyers Worth It?
In short, yes, a DUI lawyer is worth it if you are facing an IRS sanction in Alberta, particularly an IRS: FAIL sanction. Although it is not legally required to have a lawyer to file an IRS appeal, it will likely increase your chances of success. Having an IRS Fail or a Criminal charge of driving under the influence can hurt you in many ways. Not only the immediate struggles experienced with an IRS sanction such as licence suspension, vehicle seizures, fines, as well as required course work, but in your personal life as well. Employers are often wary of those with DUI records, and they can impact personal relationships. If you have been given an IRS sanction, you only have seven days to file an appeal. This is not a lot of time to appeal an IRS sanction, so be sure to call an experienced DUI lawyer right away.
Brian McGlashan is an experienced defence lawyer who has worked with DUI cases for over 25 years. If you have received an IRS sanction, contact Brian right away. He will fight for you to get the best possible outcome.