Contact DUI Lawyer David Chow for a Free Consultation

calgary dui lawyer

"I have been litigating cases in court since before I was called to the bar. The first client I ever defended was an impaired driving client. Since 1999 I have successfully defended several hundreds of impaired driving cases in Calgary, throughout Alberta and elsewhere".

David Chow has been defending DUI cases in Calgary since before he was called to the criminal bar in 2003.  He appeared as a law student to defend his first client at the Provincial Court of Alberta in 1999.  This was a case heard by Judge Fradsham.

As a former Crown Prosecutor from 2003-2005, David prosecuted well over a hundred impaired driving cases. Since joining the criminal defence bar in 2005, much of David Chow's  criminal law practice has been focussed on defending DUI cases. 

the best dui lawyers are specialists

"Not every criminal defence lawyer truly understands how to defend a DUI case. This is because impaired driving prosecutions are often quite technical in nature and commonly involve defences under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms". I understand how to defend against an impaired driving prosecution".

David Chow understands that properly defending impaired driving and its related prosecutions (such as at/over 80 and refusing to blow) requires a truly dedicated impaired driving lawyer -- one who has committed him or herself to a niche practice. The reason for this is that there are often technical defences relating to both the collection and interpretation of evidence. Also, perhaps more than any crime (other than drug prosecutions), impaired driving triggers applications under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Alberta Justice has also created specialized impaired driving units, tasked with the sole job of prosecuting impaired driving offences. To meet the challenge, an accused charged with impaired driving needs a lawyer similarly specialized.  

David Chow is a Calgary DUI lawyer of choice who offers a free consultation. 

immediate roadside sanctions

As an experienced impaired driving lawyer in Calgary, David Chow also understands how to effectively resist administrative penalties imposed on suspected impaired drivers through programs such as Safe Roads Alberta.  On December 1st, 2020 the Alberta Government changed traffic safety law by introducing new drinking and driving enforcement measures within the recently enacted Provincial Administrative Penalties Act, 2020 (“PAPA 2020”).  

If you have had your vehicle seized and license administratively suspended after December 1st, 2020, call immediately for a free consultation.  There may be a path to resisting the penalties.  

How does the Crown prove impaired driving?

To prove "impaired driving" the Crown must demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused's ability to operate (or have care or control) of a a "conveyance" (usually a motor vehicle) is impaired by alcohol to any degree by slight -o-great. This means that even "slight impairment of the ability to drive" is enough to sustain conviction. It is important to remember, however, that the accused's impairment is not to do brain surgery (see R. v. Andrews); rather, it is impairment of the ability to drive. So though an accused may demonstrate minor indicia of impairment, that does not necessarily equate into proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the ability to drive.  

Along with impaired driving, there are connected offences such as "operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol "at" or "over" the legal limit. In Canada, the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (80mg%).  Another connected offence is refusing to provide a breath sample.  Where a person cannot be double punished for being convicted of both impaired driving and "at/over 80",  an accused can be punished for impaired driving and punished again for refusing to blow. There are different legal considerations for breath samples at roadside than breath samples obtained by way of a formal breath demand.  

It is common to think about impaired driving as an alcohol related offence. Alcohol, however, is not the only cause of impaired driving. The police also investigate impairment by drug(s).


Hire a Lawyer who understands your legal situation

As a Calgary DUI lawyer, I understand that most criminal driving offences involve ordinary citizens whose actions do not fit into the kind of morally blameworthy conduct typical of other crimes.  Many people honestly think they were not impaired to drive.  Many believe they were not operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol exceeding the legal limit.  This belief may even be true.  The best advice immediately after being charged with a DUI offence is to understand your legal predicament and explore your options.

David Chow understands that your situation may appear bleak.  After all, you are likely an ordinary person, who has never had his/her fingers inked and rolled for fingerprints. You have have probably never been accused of a crime or been to a criminal court. As a result of the Alberta Administrative License Suspension program (ALS), you can no longer legally operate a motor vehicle.  

Learn about your DUI / DWI Charge

True or not, the reality is, the Government has established a legal model designed to enhance the likelihood of conviction and to punish regardless of whether you successfully defend the case. This is so because in Alberta, the State administratively suspends your driving privileges as soon as you are charged with an impaired driving offence (ALS). 

DUI and Impaired driving law can be confusing.  Many ordinary people have no idea that police have broad and overarching traffic detention power. They have no idea that their right to counsel is suspended during the initial stages of an investigative inquiry.   For example, offences such as refusing to blow carry specific legal confusion.  Given the generally accepted Charter right that all persons have a right to counsel upon “detention” or “arrest”, many accused logically think they had a right to a lawyer before providing potentially incriminating evidence at roadside.  Notwithstanding the reasonableness of this belief (because the Charter says so) the common law confuses, rather than clarifies.   Once marijuana legalization occurs, confusion about the operation of a motor vehicle after having consumed cannabis will certainly arise. 


Making it Easier to convict

Parliament, with the assistance of the Courts has chosen to make policing and prosecuting impaired driving (and its related offences) easier.  For example, police are now authorized to conduct mandatory roadside testing for anybody behind the wheel. This testing can be conducted without even a scintilla of information to support a belief that the motorist has consumed alcohol.

Read: A Calgary Criminal Lawyer's musings on Mandatory Roadside Sobriety Testing 

Making things easier, however, does not necessarily make the law fair, reasonable or right. 

Call Calgary dui lawyer David Chow for a Free Consultation

As a former Crown prosecutor and impaired driving lawyer with over a decade of experience defending impaired cases, David Chow understands the complex dynamics underlying any impaired driving allegation.  He appreciates that you are not only fighting a difficult case for which conviction might cost your job, home, future prospects and family, but that you are also battling the weight of a callous legal system that ensures punishment before conviction. 

David Chow is  a DUI lawyer in Calgary who routinely secures verdicts of not guilty for persons charged with impaired driving, dangerous driving, over 80, refusing to blow and other criminal driving offences (including those causing death).  David is acutely aware of the importance of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the rule of law, the rules of evidence and the presumption of innocence.  He is a senior Calgary defence lawyer, who regularly attends various jurisdictions throughout Alberta, including Calgary, all Calgary circuit points (such as Cochrane, Canmore and Airdrie), Lethbridge, Cochrane, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and Red Deer.

PROVEN HISTORY of defending dui in calgary

David Chow has successfully defended hundreds of impaired driving cases.  For an experienced Calgary DUI lawyer, call 403.452.8018 for a free consultation. 

Understanding DUI | Defending Impaired Driving | The DUI Charge | IRS | Impaired by Drug | Criminal Driving Offences


Recent Case Results

R. v. H.R.H.

December 15, 2020

(Canmore, P.C. - Impaired Driving). HRH was the target of a traffic stop at about 9:30AM on a cold, snow covered day in 2019. As a result of the traffic stop, a roadside demand was made and he provided a sample of breath into an approved screening device. HRH was charged with impaired driving and eventually, operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol above the legal limit. This accused had a number of quality defences, to include Charter arguments that had a very reasonable prospect of resulting in the exclusion of evidence and acquittal. Those arguments aside, however, HRC had a credible, meaningful and unique mens rea argument that he had no intention to drive while impaired or with high blood-alcohol.  This accused had consumed alcohol the evening before the traffic stop. The accused had a full nights sleep and consumed nothing in the morning. On waking, the accused did not feel the effects of alcohol and for reasons having to do with employment, used a miniature, home breath tester that apparently confirmed it was safe to drive. Of course, personal or home breath testing gear is not approved and not formally recognized by our criminal justice system. However, since mens rea must be proven for any criminal offence, it was nevertheless a relevant factor. Ultimately, was not required to evaluate the mens rea issue because the case was resolved by way of a more technical issue. The Crown properly called no evidence and the charge was dismissed. Scanning the internet for an impaired driving lawyer in Alberta, a Canmore DUI lawyer or an Alberta Roadside Sanctions Lawyer, give David Chow a chance to earn your business.

R. v. M.M.P.

December 3, 2020

(Didsbury, P.C. - DUI/ALS). MMP was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with blood alcohol over the legal limit.  He was scheduled to attend court in Didsbury, Alberta. In addition to the charges, he was issued an administrative driving suspension.  With the help of David Chow, his impaired driving lawyer, MMP entered a plea of "not guilty" and scheduled his case for trial and filed a Charter Notice outlining issues germane to her right to make full answer and defence. Happily for MMP the criminal charges were "stayed" by the Crown prior to trial. MMP had a very good trial defence; sufficiently strong to justify filing a review of his administrative licence suspension.  David Chow filed a written argument with Alberta Transportation Safety Board (ATSB). In early December MMP's suspension was deleted.  On December 1st, 2020, Alberta replaced the ATSB with SafeRoads Alberta - a new administrative body tasked with reviewing disputes of Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS).  As a result of Immediate Roadside Sanctions, Alberta will not treat the vast majority of criminal impaired driving offences administratively. Happily, this might save a person from receiving a criminal record, but other consequences, including a lengthy license suspension, fines, property seizure and vehicle impound lot fees could have a devastating impact on Albertans. If you have had your license suspended by Immediate Roadside Sanctions, call David Chow. He is an Alberta Immediate Roadside Sanctions Lawyer ("Calgary IRS Lawyer") that may be able to help.

R. v. M.D.M.

December 1, 2020

(Banff, P.C. - Impaired Driving).  MDM was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol above the legal limit in Banff, Alberta.  The case was scheduled for trial in Canmore Provincial Court. MDM filed a Charter Notice alleging a number of breaches, including a violation of the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay contrary to s. 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Though there were a number of credible Charter breaches, the strongest ground revolved around the failure on the part of the investigating police to obtain a valid "waiver" of the right to counsel.  Applying R. v. Prosper, [1994] S.C.J. No. 72, R. v. Bartle, [1994] S.C.J. No. 74, R. v. Luong, [2000] A.J. No. 1310, R. v. Sinclair, [2010] S.C.C. No. 35 and a plethora of other cases, the law is clear: the accused must unequivocally express whether he/she wishes to speak with a lawyer and where there is hesitation or a lack of clarity, the accused must clearly “waive” his or her right to counsel.   The case against MDM was stayed by the prosecution.  David Chow is a Cochrane criminal lawyer who routinely appears in Canmore/Banff to defend criminal cases.  If you have been charged with impaired driving in Alberta or have been issued immediate roadside sanctions and need a Roadside Sanctions Lawyer, call for a free telephone consultation. Under SafeRoads Alberta the law with respect to immediate roadside sanctions (IRS) is new (coming into force on December 1st, 2020).  Consult with a qualified criminal lawyer in Alberta to discuss your roadside sanctions issue. Remember, you only have 7 days to file a notice of IRS appeal. 

R. v. S.S.Z.

August 26, 2020

(Cochrane, P.C. - Impaired Driving).  SSZ was charged with a handful of driving offences, to include impaired driving, operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol exceeding the legal limit and careless driving. Where the DUI offences were under the Criminal Code of Canada (and thus Federal law), the careless driving charge was provincial legislation, under the Traffic Safety Act. Prior to trial SSZ's Cochrane criminal lawyer filed an extensive Charter Notice alleging breaches of section 8 (search and seizure) and section 10 (right to counsel). The section 10 infractions were the most serious because the accused was detained for a substantial period without right to counsel. Though cases such as R. v. Thomsen and R. v. Orbansky make it clear that right to counsel is suspended within "strict temporal limits" for the purpose of roadside sobriety screening, SSZ's detention was not within those limits. The Crown was alive to the issues and prior to trial offered to resolve the case by way of a guilty plea to the already charged Traffic Safety Act offence of careless driving. SSZ was advised in no uncertain terms by her criminal lawyer, David Chow, that notwithstanding the quality her defences, the ultimate goal is successfully defending against the potentially permanent fixture of a criminal record. If you have been charged with impaired driving, a drug offence, domestic violence or anything else in the Criminal Code of Canada, there are plenty of Alberta criminal lawyers to choose from.  David Chow is a criminal lawyer (who represents clients throughout the Province) who is grateful for the opportunity to earn your business. Looking for a Cochrane DUI lawyer, call 403.452.8018.