Each year, thousands of people are involved in drunk driving crashes in Canada. Impaired drivers can cause extensive property damage--smashing into other cars, storefronts, and even people's homes. But the criminal justice system will get involved fast if you accidentally harm or even kill another person. At Bourdon Defence, we regularly represent defendants accused of causing a crash while driving impaired.

The Grim Statistics

There is a reason the government aggressively prosecutes impaired driving. Currently, crashes involving drugs or alcohol are one of the top criminal causes of death in the country. About 4 people are killed every day in a crash that involves drugs or alcohol. Broken down, the statistics look like this:

  • About 15% of fatal crashes involved drivers who used alcohol alone
  • About 28% of fatal crashes involved drivers who used drugs along
  • Around 16% of fatal crashes involved drivers who used both drugs and alcohol

All told, about 1,450 deaths were caused by impaired drivers in 2013. With Canada on the cusp of legalizing marijuana, we expect the number of fatal crashes to only increase, thus increasing the pressure on the government to crack down on drivers who’ve had a drink or a joint before getting behind the wheel.

Possible Punishments

The Canadian Criminal Code lays out the punishments you’ll face if convicted of causing death or bodily harm while driving impaired:

  • Bodily harm: no minimum but a maximum of 10 years in prison
  • Death: no minimum but a maximum of life in prison

This sentencing scheme gives individual judges discretion when setting your sentence, and judges are instructed to consider aggravating or mitigating factors. One aggravating factor is a blood alcohol concentration at .16, or twice the legal limit. Another aggravating factor is a refusal to accept responsibility for the crime.

How a Calgary DUI Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve been accused of causing a crash while driving impaired, you need an aggressive advocate in your corner from the very start. At Bourdon Defence, we thoroughly review each case to pinpoint the government’s weakness and force the Crown to present compelling evidence in court that you are guilty of the offence.

Of course, it’s not always possible to get a charge dismissed—especially when someone has been injured or killed because of the crash. However, a skilled DUI lawyer will know how to present a compelling case that highlights your good qualities. Under the law, the following are mitigating factors that can help lower your sentence:

  • Previous good character
  • Remorse
  • Disability (physical or mental)
  • Commitment to address your addiction
  • Acceptance of responsibility

Any criminal defendant can stand in front of a judge and cry while mouthing “I’m sorry, but a successfull criminal defence will require fully documented attempts to address your addictions and prove your previous good character.

Contact a Calgary DUI Lawyer Today

If you’ve been accused of causing a drunk driving crash, help is available. The lawyers at Bourdon Defence regularly represent defendants accused of causing serious damage while driving impaired. Contact us for a free consultation at 403-474-4143 or send an email using our online contact form.