New Impaired Driving Laws In Alberta For First Time Offenders
On December 1, 2020, Alberta enacted new provincial laws for impaired drivers. In most cases, if you are being charged for the first time with impaired driving in Alberta, you will be charged under the new Provincial Administrative Penalties Act, instead of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The penalties under the Provincial Administrative Penalties Act are the same as if you were found guilty in court, with the exception that you will not receive a criminal record for the offence, although it will appear on your driving record.
The penalties for a first-time offence are:
- Fines of $1,000 + $200 victim fine surcharge, for a total of $1,200, plus
- Your licence will be suspended for 90 days whereby you will not be able to drive whatsoever, and then you will have to drive with the interlock device (a blow box) in your vehicle for an additional 12 months, plus
- There will be an entry on your driving record (driver’s abstract) for impaired driving, plus
- Your vehicle will be seized and impounded for 30 days – you will be responsible for paying the impound fees
These penalties will in turn affect your insurance rates, all adding up to a very expensive process.
The benefit to appealing your Immediate Roadside Sanction (IRS) is that if you are successful, you do NOT have to pay the cumulative $1,200 fine, you do NOT lose your licence for 90 days, you do NOT have to have the interlock device (blow box) installed in your vehicle, and you do NOT have an entry on your driving record for driving while impaired.
If you win, you will save yourself a lot of money and your ability to drive for work, drive your children to their activities, and drive for the essentials of daily life, will be protected.