Driving Offence Lawyers in Edmonton and Alberta
Criminal driving charges are a serious matter in Alberta, and the decision to move forward without legal counsel is rarely a good one.
The consequences of conviction can be severe. In addition to fines, probation, and jail time, you may be facing a permanent criminal record, the suspension of your driver’s license, and a serious impact on your future.
If convicted, you will have a criminal record that may affect many aspects of your life, from employment (especially in roles that require driving) to immigration status.
At Chadi & Company, our experienced criminal driving offence lawyers understand the difficult decisions you’re dealing with. We offer free consultations, aiming to help you fully understand the charges against you, as well as your rights and options, and how we can help.
Our legal team has successfully defended countless clients against criminal driving charges throughout Alberta, including Edmonton and Northern Alberta.
Been Charged with a Driving Offence in Alberta?
If you’ve been charged with criminal driving in Alberta, a conviction may result in a permanent criminal record.
Edmonton police take impaired driving and all types of criminal driving very seriously. Although impaired driving has recently been decriminalized in Alberta, penalties can still be quite severe.
Furthermore, you can still be criminally charged for impaired driving if certain aggravating circumstances were present, such as an excessively high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), having a child in the car, or if the offence resulted in serious injury or death.
Anything you say to police or prosecutors can be used against you. As such, it is critical to be polite and cooperate with law enforcement personnel but you should not make unnecessary remarks or admit guilt (for example, avoid statements such as “I made a mistake”).
In fact, other than providing police with your name, address, and date of birth, the only thing you should say is “I would like to remain silent until I’ve spoken to my lawyer.”
If you have been charged with dangerous driving or any other criminal driving offence, and there were other passengers with you at the time of the incident, ask them to write down their observations about what occurred. Gather and hold onto any documents and records pertaining to the event in which the charges arose.
If you’ve been in an accident, take photos of the accident scene from as many angles as possible. The more information you have about the event that gave rise to the charges, the more equipped you will be to dispute what happened.
Even if you feel that the facts are not in your favour, do not plead guilty. Driving offences can seem simple, and yet the defences potentially available to you go beyond just disputing the facts.
An experienced driving offence lawyer will examine your case for violations of your Charter rights and determine whether any exceptions apply to your charges. Retaining quality legal counsel could be the difference between a non-criminal resolution and spending significant time in jail.
Criminal Driving Offences and Penalties in Alberta
The Criminal Code lists the criminal and impaired driving offences, sentencing ranges, and aggravating factors for the court to consider during sentencing. The most serious types of criminal driving offences, such as those resulting in death, carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
But even conviction on less serious charges, such as driving while disqualified, can result in up to two years in jail. The most common criminal driving offences include:
- Dangerous operation, or dangerous driving;
- Operation while impaired, or impaired driving (Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher);
- Failure to stop after an accident;
- Criminal negligence (driving with reckless disregard for life and safety);
- Flight from a peace officer or evading police;
- Operation while prohibited, or driving while disqualified; and
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
Depending on the type of driving offence, the court may consider additional factors in determining the severity of the penalty, such as the extent of bodily injury, excessive speeds, or involvement in street racing, and whether persons under the age of 16 were passengers in your vehicle.
The penalty will ultimately depend on the offence you are charged with, whether bodily injury or death resulted, the presence of other aggravating factors, and the quality of your legal defence.
Contact Chadi & Company Today
If you are facing criminal driving charges in Alberta, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help.
We will thoroughly investigate your case to obtain the best possible outcome while ensuring that you fully understand your rights and options. Don’t assume you can navigate this complex process alone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Unlike the driving charges under the Traffic Safety Act of Alberta (e.g. careless driving), the criminal offence of dangerous driving is serious and carries the potential for imprisonment, depending on the circumstances of the case.
No. Careless driving is a traffic offence set forth in Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act and does not rise to the level of dangerous driving, which is a federal offence.
However, the penalties can still be severe, including a driving suspension of up to three months, demerit point reduction and up to six months of jail time for the most serious of cases.
No. But it can be a serious provincial offence. For first-time offenders, the punishment typically includes a ticket and a significant fine.
Driving while disqualified falls under the Criminal Code and is typically more serious than the provincial offence of driving while suspended. However, if your suspension arose from a Criminal Code conviction, driving while suspended conviction could result in consequences as severe as the criminal charge of driving while disqualified.