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Alberta Impaired Driving Program for New Drivers

Alberta has zero tolerance for drinking and driving, but not just for experienced adult drivers. New drivers of any age are subject to the zero tolerance policy. As a matter of fact, there is a program against drunk driving just for new drivers. It is called AZAT for short, meaning "Alberta Zero Alcohol Tolerance."

New drivers include drivers licensed with a Learner or Probationary license under the Graduated Driver Licensing Program. With these licenses or permits, drivers are not permitted to have any alcohol content in their blood whatsoever.

If you are pulled over and an officer suspects that you have been drinking, he or she has a right under the Criminal Code of Canada to request a breath sample. If the officer determines that alcohol is present on your breath, police can immediately take your driver's license. However, you have the option of having a second test done.

If you fail the second test, you will be served with a suspension notice for your driver's license. The suspension will be in effect for 30 days. If you do not fail the second test, your license will be returned to you.

In addition to the license suspension, a failure of the breath test will result in your vehicle being seized or immobilized for seven days. Refusing a breath sample is not a good idea either. If you refuse to provide a breath sample, you will have your license suspended and be charged with a criminal offence.

If you are charged with driving while under the influence, you may not necessarily face conviction. You have options. You can fight the charge if you believe the officers did not follow proper procedures or have invaded your rights. You may also object to the evidence if you feel it is not valid.

The last option is to plead guilty and opt for an interlock device on your vehicle. A Calgary lawyer can assist you in making the best decision in protecting your reputation and your future.

Source: Alberta Transportation Safety Board, "Alberta Zero Alcohol Tolerance," accessed Feb. 25, 2016

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