Impaired driving or DUI refers to criminal charges of operating a vehicle while impaired from alcohol or drugs, driving over 0.08 and refusing to provide a sample of breath. These charges have serious consequences including significant fines, skyrocketing insurance, incarceration and a criminal record that can impact future travel and employment. When you are charged with a DUI, you will immediately lose your driver’s license for 90 days.


Impaired driving is a highly technical area of law with complex defences. Most often, DUI investigations are conducted on the side of the road at night. This environment frequently leads to significant deficiencies in the police investigation that we are able to exploit at trial. Our extensive knowledge and experience lead to our clients consistently being found not guilty at trial or having their charges withdrawn.

Driving Over 0.08

This refers to operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content of more than 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood. The blood alcohol reading is obtained through the use of a police breathalyzer or blood samples taken by a medical professional.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving occurs when a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or drugs. It requires evidence of impairment such as driving pattern, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, admission of consumption and smell of alcohol on your breath.


A refusal occurs where a police officer has made for a demand for a sample of breath and a person fails to comply. This can be an outright refusal to provide a sample or a failure to provide a sample despite blowing into the machine.
A refusal charge can occur for a failure to comply with an approved screening device demand, a blood demand or a demand for a sample of breath taken by a breath technician.

Immediate Roadside Sanctions in Calgary

Since December 2020, Alberta drivers face an immediate 90-day license suspension applied at the discretion of the law enforcement officer who stops you. If you are suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs by the police officer(s), you will undergo some roadside testing and if there is enough evidence for charges of impaired driving or driving over 0.08, you will be arrested and taken to the police station.

As part of this process, under the Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) program, you will receive an immediate 90-day administrative license suspension. No definitive proof is required and no chemical test is needed. A simple allegation by a police officer is sufficient.

Not only is this open to bias and abuse, but the immediate sanction may seem to go against the grain of Canada’s “innocent until proven guilty” stance, which underpins our legal system. The roadside sanction is not a criminal charge but you may face a separate criminal charge if later tests support the police’s impaired driving assessment. If your case proceeds to trial and you are convicted, you will also receive a court-ordered license suspension from a judge.

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To speak with Cory Wilson or arrange a free, no obligation consultation, call 403-978-6052 or email us here.

Impaired Driving/DUI

  1. What is impaired driving?
  2. What is ignition interlock?
  3. How long does a DUI stay on your record?
  4. Will I go to jail if I drive while impaired? 
  5. How do I beat a DUI/Impaired driving charge?

Cory Wilson is a criminal defence lawyer based in Calgary. If you have been charged with a criminal offence or are a suspect in a criminal investigation, call today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Tel: 403-978-6052