The purpose of the Alberta Checkstop Program is to detain motor vehicles and check for impaired drivers. As part of the program, police officers stop thousands of vehicles on Alberta roadways each year. The program tends to ramp up activity around the holiday season, when social drinking is common. Consequently, it is important that you know and understand your legal rights in case you are stopped by a police officer at an Alberta checkpoint.
If you have been charged with an alcohol-related offence, you need experienced legal representation on your side. The knowledgeable impaired driving lawyers at Alberta Impaired Driving Defence can advocate for you in court and ensure that all your legal rights are protected during your criminal case.
Police Powers at Checkstops
Alberta police officers have broad discretionary powers when it comes to motor vehicle Checkstops. In some cases, these Checkstops are stationary operations where traffic is funnelled to a certain location. In other cases, motorists are pulled over randomly.
Being Pulled Over at a Checkstop
Being pulled over at a Checkstop can be a very stressful and intimidating experience. If you are pulled over, you should always remain calm and produce your licence and registration information when asked to do so. The officer will also ask whether you have consumed any alcohol. At a Checkstop, you are under no obligation to answer questions about alcohol consumption. However, any answer you provide to the officer may be used against you during an impaired driving investigation.
During the checkpoint stop, if the officer develops probable grounds to believe that your ability to drive has been impaired by alcohol based upon the officer’s interactions with you, the officer can arrest you at the scene for impaired driving. If the officer’s suspicion does not rise to the level of probable cause, but she develops reasonable suspicion that you are impaired by alcohol, the officer will likely require you to provide a roadside breath sample or participate in a field sobriety test.
Your Legal Rights at a Checkstop
At a Checkstop, you are under a legal obligation to comply with a breath test demand. If you refuse to do so, you will be charged with refusing to provide a breath sample, and this offence carries the exact same penalties as impaired driving. You may also be charged with refusal if the officer believes that you are faking attempts to provide a usable breath sample.
Moreover, at a Checkstop, you do not have the right to speak with a lawyer during the time period when you are detained, and you are not permitted to call your lawyer before providing a roadside breath sample. However, if you are arrested, the officer must inform you of your legal right to speak with counsel, and you must be provided a reasonable opportunity to do so.
Contact an Alberta Impaired Driving Defence Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
Impaired driving convictions can result in heavy fines and other penalties. The lawyers at Alberta Impaired Driving Defence can help to safeguard your legal rights throughout your case. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with an Alberta impaired driving defence lawyer, please call us today at (403) 457-4415 or contact us online.