Contact DUI Lawyer David Chow for a Free Consultation

impaired driving & DUI lawyer | Calgary

a calgary dui lawyer for over 15 years

FREE CONSULTATION: (403) 452-8018

calgary impaired driving lawyer  

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 in 1999.

Since then David has prosecuted impaired drivers and spent nearly 15 years as a Calgary impaired driving lawyer.  David understands how to defend a DUI case; he is a Calgary impaired driving lawyer of choice.

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 to 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. 

Recent Case Results

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 Calgary 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.

R. v. B.M.M.

August 25, 2020

(Canmore/Banff, P.C. - Failing to blow).  BMM was charged with an odd combination of offences: impaired driving, failing to provide a roadside sample and operating a motor vehicle with blood-alcohol equal-to or exceeding the legal limit. The reason this is a strange combination of charges is because the investigating police needed help from an approved screening device (ASD) to form reasonable and probable grounds for arrest. By law, an ASD is an investigative tool only; the results of which are only admissible for the purpose of supporting a police officer's reasonable grounds to arrest and make an evidentiary breath demand. In this case, BMM made several genuine attempts to provide a sample.  The ASD registered an "error code". On the basis of the "error code" and in the absence of any meaningful or credible indicia of impairment, the police arrested BMM for impaired driving and collected evidentiary breath samples. BMM pled "not guilty", filed a Charter Notice and successfully defended all charges at trial. BMM was found "not guilty". Though BMM won the trial, much of the damage had already been done. BMM was penalized by the Alberta Administrative License Suspension (ALS) program and had to pay legal fees to defend the case. There is often wisdom in retaining a qualified criminal defence lawyer to help with a charge. BMM avoided a criminal record and potential deportation consequences. David Chow is a full service Calgary criminal lawyer who provides full legal services to clients throughout Alberta; including in Cochrane, Canmore and Banff.  Searching for a Canmore criminal lawyer or a criminal lawyer in Banff? Call David Chow for a free telephone consultation. 

R. v. A.J.A.

July 30, 2020

(Cochrane, P.C. - DUI).  AJA was a person without a prior criminal record. He was also a hard working person, with respect for the law, the justice system and the police. After a couple of drinks AJA went bed only to be awoken some hours later by an urgent call from a family member who needed help pulling a vehicle out of a ditch. The roads were snow covered and icy. AJA got out of bed, feeling fine, thinking that he after some hours of sleep he was ok to help. He drove a short distance, helped his family member but on the way home drove through a Cochrane checkstop. AJA was polite and cooperative in the extreme and the investigating officer responded similarly. Unfortunately for AJA he blew slightly over the legal limit and thus was charged with DUI.  AJA hired Cochrane DUI lawyer, David Chow, to help with his case. After some months and scheduling a trial date, the charges against AJA were stayed by the Crown. The Crown clearly had no reasonable prospect of conviction for impaired driving and the accused had viable defences to the at/over 80 charge.  Charged with DUI in Cochrane, Banff, Canmore or in the Calgary area? Call David Chow; he is a Cochrane criminal lawyer who has been defending impaired driving cases since 1999. 

R. v. K.L.

May 6, 2020

(Calgary, P.C. - Impaired Driving). KL was charged with impaired driving and operating a motor vehicle with blood alcohol at/over the legal limit. The case against KL was, all things considered, fairly minor. There was no bad driving or inappropriate conduct by the accused. The accused did not overtly display any indicia of impairment. The accused was cooperative with the police. The impaired driving investigation was triggered by the use of an Approved Screening Device (an instrument used to presumptively test blood-alcohol concentration).  In today's investigative climate, the police consider all motorists a breath "supply sample".  KL failed the test, was arrested and a demand was made for him to supply samples of breath at a police detachment.  Again, KL complied, ultimately providing two samples, the lowest being 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (80mg%).  Though KL had legitimate legal defences, perhaps the best defence arose because he was cooperative, had no prospect of being convicted of "impaired driving" and when formally tested, supplied the lowest possible BAC reading to trigger an "at 80" charge. Of course, in March 2020 the Courts closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Months of closure and inactive trial courts meant increased trial delays.  As a result of the particulars surrounding KL's case and the need for the Crown to triage cases, the charges against KL were "stayed" by the Crown.  KL's case illustrates that there are many good reasons in DUI prosecutions to fight the case at trial. If you have been charged with impaired driving, there are a handful of experienced Calgary DUI lawyers of choice. David Chow is a full service Calgary criminal lawyer, who has been litigating impaired driving since he represented his first client in Court in 1999.  If you have been charged anywhere in Alberta, David Chow would appreciate the opportunity to earn your business. To speak with an experienced Calgary DUI lawyer, call for a free telephone consultation.