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What are the ramifications for impaired driving in Alberta?

Alberta is tough on impaired drivers. As a matter of fact, if you are arrested for impaired driving, you should do whatever you can to have those charges revoked or minimized. Multiple offences mean tougher sentencing. In addition to loss of reputation, insurance cost increases, licence suspension and vehicle seizure, you may find yourself struggling to keep your job or get to work.

What happens with a first offence? A first offence for drivers with a blood alcohol content of .05 to .08 will result in licence suspension for three days, along with drivers' vehicles seized for three days. If their blood alcohol level is over .08, it is considered a criminal offence, and in addition to the three-day vehicle seizure, their licences are suspended until the criminal offence is resolved. A "Planning Ahead" course is also required, and a mandatory ignition lock must be placed on the vehicle for one year from the time of conviction.

What happens with a second offence? A second offence for a blood alcohol level of .05 to .08 will result in an suspension of the person's driver's licence for 15 days, a vehicle seizure of seven days and a requirement to take the "Planning Ahead" course. If the blood alcohol level is over .08, the licence suspension is sustained until the charge is resolved, the vehicle is seized for seven days, and an "Impact" course is required. A mandatory ignition lock is implemented for three years after the conviction.

What happens with a third offence? On a third offence, with a blood alcohol level of .05 to .08, a 30-day licence suspension and seven-day vehicle seizure is implemented. An "Impact" course is also required. For a blood alcohol level of over .08, the license is suspended until the charges are resolved, the vehicle is seized for seven days and an "Impact" course is required. The mandatory ignition lock remains on the vehicle for five years from the time of conviction.

A GDL (first-time driver) found with any blood alcohol levels over .00 will immediately have their licence suspended for 30 days and their vehicle seized for seven days. These new laws were implemented in 2012. The good news is that alcohol-related fatalities and collisions have been reduced since the new laws were introduced.

Source: Alberta Transportation, "Alberta's approach to impaired driving," accessed Feb. 05, 2016

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