Changes are coming soon to Alberta’s drunk-driving laws that will largely decriminalize first-time offences for drunk driving. That will reduce penalties as a legal matter, but there are other considerations in play.

If you are facing criminal charges in Canada, you have two choices: Fight the charges all the way through a verdict at trial, or accept a plea bargain with the Crown’s prosecutor before the matter goes to trial.

Any type of criminal charge is a serious matter. Even convictions for minor offences can result in serious legal penalties, including substantial fines and jail time.

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Canada, you have a right to bail. The conditions of that bail, however, can be subject to interpretation.

If the police find you in possession of stolen property, a number of factors come into play. If the stolen property is more than $5,000, because the theft is an indictable offence, so is the possession of the stolen property.

Canada’s Criminal Code contains no specific offence that is termed “family violence” or “domestic violence.” This seems like a significant omission when the Criminal Code makes domestic violence an “aggravating factor” for sentencing purposes if the crime involves abuse—physical or sexual, and probably psychological or emotional—of a spouse or common-law partner, abuse of a person younger than 18 or abuse of a position of trust or authority.

Police officers in Canada are intended to enforce the laws, keep the peace, and arrest those who have committed crimes. However, police do not have unlimited power and authority.

Many people may have a few drinks and wonder, “Am I over the legal limit to drive home?” The truth is, there is not one single limit in Alberta after which you can get arrested.

Some people may believe that an impaired driving charge is not a serious matter. This is a mistake, as impaired driving convictions can have many penalties that can affect you for years to come.

When the police suspect that a driver is drunk, they have several investigative techniques available to them. Of course, the initial technique employed during a traffic stop is mere observation – the officer observes the driver’s speech, appearance, smell, and other characteristics that may indicate that he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.