Understand the consequences.
Understand the choices.
Understand the law.

The law of impaired driving in Canada is highly complex. For many people charged with this offence it will be their first exposure to the criminal justice system. It can be a bewildering and frightening experience, with consequences upon conviction that are serious to not only the person charged but their families as well. This web site provides a basic introduction to the law applicable to impaired driving cases, consequences of conviction, and finally some of the scientific principles behind forensic alcohol testing.

While impaired driving offences fall under the federal Criminal Code, and basic legal principles discussed in this web site are generally applicable across Canada, differences do exist from one province to the next. As well, provinces and territories have made laws about driver licensing that can vary considerably depending on where you live. The information provided in this site is specific to Alberta.

This web site is informational in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion. We attempt to keep the information on this site current and accurate but the reader should recognize that impaired driving law can change suddenly and dramatically as a result of a court’s decision or government policy. You should always get competent legal advice or representation if charged because, as the saying goes, the devil (and possibly your defence) is in the details.

This web site is sponsored by the law firm of Dawson Duckett Shaigec & Garcia, an Edmonton, Alberta based criminal law firm. If you wish to contact us for more legal information or assistance in relation to an impaired driving charge simply click on the “Need Help?” button.

Case of the Week

  • IMPAIRED – 254(2) CC – “FORTHWITH”

    R. v. Eleason, 2014 ABPC 15 per Allen, PCJ: Trial on a charge of refusal to provide a screening test sample. Issue regarding police compliance with the “forthwith” requirement. Screening demand made 15 minutes after vehicle stop. In the interim, the accused had been arrested on an...


    R. v. Rodriguez, 2014 ABPC 44, Semenuk, PCJ: Impaired driving trial. Issue regarding alleged s. 8 breach. Police, not being in hot pursuit and in the absence of exigent circumstances, entered into the accused’s attached garage and investigated an alleged impaired driving case. Held: s. 8 breach,...



  • Informed Consent & Drug Recognition Evaluations

    The Drug Recognition Evaluation (D.R.E.) is a protocol developed by the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1970s in order to help police spot drivers impaired by drugs, rather than alcohol. It has been widely used in some U.S. states for many years, but is relatively new...


    What prosecutors and police mockingly refer to as the “two beer” defence, but the defence bar reverently term the “Carter” or “evidence to the contrary” defence” , was significantly weakened, if not eliminated by the passing of the Tackling Violent Crime Act in 2008. The mind set...