An impaired driving charge carries the risk of fines and imprisonment. However, drivers will also experience another punishment: under the Traffic Safety Act, any driver charged with an alcohol- or drug-related offence will have their licence suspended.

At Bourdon DefenceBourdon Defence, we field many questions about the administrative suspension procedure, such as the following:

Why Was My Licence Suspended?

Under the Traffic Safety Act, anyone who provides a breath or blood sample with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 80 milligrams percent will have their licence suspended. Also, anyone who refuses a demand to provide a sample will also have their licence suspended.

Furthermore, a peace officer in Alberta can immediately suspend your licence if the officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe your BAC is over 50 milligrams percent and you have provided a breath sample. If this is your first offence, then you’ll receive an immediate 3-day suspension. If this is your second offence, you will receive an immediate 15-day suspension and 7 day vehicle seizure.

How Long Is My Licence Suspended For?

If your BAC was over 80 mg percent, your licence is automatically suspended as soon as criminal charges are brought. You should receive a Notice of Suspension, which will stay in effect until the court disposes of your criminal charges. Of course, if you are convicted of a criminal offence, then your licence will also be suspended. If you are acquitted of the charge, then you will get your licence back.

Can I Appeal?

Yes. However, you are allowed to appeal for only limited reasons. For example, you can appeal a Notice of Suspension/Disqualification for the following reasons:

  • That you didn’t provide a breath or blood sample with a BAC over 80 milligrams percent.
  • That you did not drive a motor vehicle after having consumed drugs or alcohol in sufficient quantity that you were impaired.
  • That you did not refuse to give a sample when demanded by a peace officer.
  • You must file your application with the Board within 30 days of receiving your Notice of Suspension.

Can I Appeal Because the Suspension Will Cause a Hardship?

Unfortunately, no. The Alberta government will not reinstate your licence because losing it will cause a hardship, such as missing work or school. Instead, you’ll need to argue one of the grounds listed above, e.g., arguing that something other than alcohol caused your BAC to be elevated.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Successful appeals are fact-intensive. For example, you might argue something else caused your breath sample to register over 80 mg percent even though you did not drink or consume alcohol in the immediate hours before driving. In this situation, you might need medical records and expert testimony to explain your breath test results. Gathering this evidence can be time-consuming for most people.

Call an Alberta DUI Lawyer Today

A DUI charge can seriously disrupt your life, making it difficult to go to work and provide for your family. At Bourdon Defence, we have experience representing drivers in administrative appeals. Call us today for a free consultation at 403-474-4143 or send an email using our online contact form.