Over the past five years in Alberta 569 people have been causalities of impaired drivers, and thousands more have been injured.
When it comes to impaired driving, Alberta has some of the toughest penalties regarding license suspension and vehicle impoundment in Canada.
The legal BAC (blood alcohol content) limit in Alberta is 0.08; however, in 2012, Alberta lawmakers joined other provinces in Canada in passing a new set of laws that created consequences for driving with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08.
If an officer suspects that you are driving while impaired and you blow over a 0.08, the following consequences apply:
If an officer suspects that you are driving while impaired and you blow between and 0.05 and 0.08, the following consequences apply:
As is the case in many other Canadian provinces, new drivers may not drive with any alcohol in their bodies. Any GLD driver who blows above .00 will immediately have their license suspended for thirty days and their car will be impounded for seven days.
As of November 2012, the rule that allows police officers to indefinitely suspend the license of a person who blows over 0.08 is facing legal challenges on constitutional grounds, as it imposes an indefinite consequence before a person is convicted in court.
Persons charged with driving while impaired must enroll in alcohol education classes offered by the Alberta Motor Association as a condition of getting their license back. First offenders are required the take the Planning Ahead class, which teaches attendees how to make informed and responsible decisions when it comes to alcohol consumption. The course lasts only one day and is held in 18 different cities in Alberta. A fee of $225 must be paid by the participant before the class begins.
Subsequent offenders must enroll in the more intensive, weekend-long IMPACT program. Participants undergo assessment and pre=treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. IMPACT helps people create action plans for living a life free from drugs and alcohol.
The program is hosted in Edmonton, St.Albert, Grande Prairie and Calgary, and the cost of $750 must be paid by the participant before entrance.
If you have been charged with driving while impaired and need to enroll in one of these programs, you can contact the AMA toll free at 1-800-272-5698 or 780-430-8811 for those in the Edmonton area.
Alberta currently does not issue jail time for people who drive while impaired. However, very harsh consequences exist for those who continue to drive while their license is suspended. If caught driving with a suspended license, the following consequences apply:
Alberta does not impose any fines on persons convicted of driving while impaired; however, the driver does have to pay for the towing and impoundment of their vehicle. Towing fees average about $116 and impounding fees are usually at least $30 for every day the vehicle is impounded. To reinstate a license that has been suspended for more than three days, drivers must pay a fee of $22.
Anyone convicted of driving while impaired must have an ignition interlock system installed in their car. Ignition interlock requires the driver to provide a breath sample free of alcohol before the engine will start. The convicted driver must pay a $63 Registry Agent fee and an $150 installation fee when they receive the device, in addition to a $105 monthly rental fee and a $50 fee to have the unit removed at the end of their sentence. Users must also pay for a special license and training to use the device. The system must remain installed for the following durations: