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Alberta residents getting fewer drunk driving charges

The latest Statistics Canada (Stats Can) numbers tallied in 2016 show that impaired driving charges are falling in the province. The were 12,191 drunk driving charges in all of Alberta last year. That number was higher a decade ago. 

The number of impaired driving incidents peaked in Edmonton to 4,223 in 2009.  In 2016, that number was 2,812 -- a significant drop of 1,411 in seven years. Twenty incidents of impaired driving causing death were recorded in the province in 2016 -- the lowest number in 10 years.

The passing of federal Bill C-46 will see stiffer penalties for impaired drivers and the introduction of random breath testing. The bill addresses impairment by both alcohol and/or drugs. By next summer, the bill should become law.

Almost all police-reported impaired driving incidents in Canada continued to involve alcohol in 2016 (96 per cent), while a small proportion (4 per cent) involved drugs. Yet, the number for driving under the influence of drugs increased in 2016. The number and rate for almost all drug-impaired driving violations increased in 2016, Stats Can reported -- an 11 per cent increase.

Being charged with a serious criminal offense like drunk driving is no small matter and can change a person's life in untold ways. But the Alberta Crown has to prove drunk driving charges in court. Enlisting the aid of an Alberta lawyer experienced in crimes and misdemeanors law may help to get the charges reduced or even dropped if the Crown is unable to dislodge a convincing defense argument. Among other things, a lawyer will investigate whether police followed required procedure when administering breath or blood tests regarding the accused person's blood alcohol level.

Source: globalnews.ca, "Impaired driving numbers trending down in Alberta: Stats Can", Emily Mertz, Accessed on Aug. 11, 2017

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