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DWI charges and demerit points cause licence suspensions

Alberta drivers should be aware of the demerit system that is in place regarding their driving records. The system operates under the auspices of the Motor Vehicle Administration Act and motorists who acquire too many demerit points by racking up traffic offences and other driving convictions face potential suspension of their drivers licences.

Drivers who have accumulated more than 14 demerit points over a span of two years get their licences suspended for a month. For every subsequent suspension within a specific time span, the suspension period increases.

Some of the more common safety violations for motorists, and the demerit points that accompany them, include the following:

-- Violating traffic lanes (2 pts)

-- Failure to obey traffic controls (2 pts)

-- Failing to signal lane changes (2 pts)

-- Speeding as much as 15 km/h over the limit (2 pts)

-- Speeding more than 15 km/h but not over 30 km/h (3 pts)

-- Failure to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians or vehicles (3 pts)

-- Driving around or through railway crossing gates (3 pts)

-- Failing to stop at red lights (3 pts)

-- Failure to stop at traffic control devices or otherwise required by law (3 pts)

-- Speeding at unreasonable rates (4 pts)

-- Following other vehicles too closely (4 pts)

-- Speeding more than 50 km/h (6 pts)

-- Racing on highways (6 pts)

-- Failure to stop for school buses (6 pts)

Motorists who drive and don't pay attention, use due care or have reasonable consideration for others are exhibiting careless driving. They have to appear in court and can be assessed 6 points. They may ultimately face a licence suspension of three months.

Drivers who have been convicted of DWI charges have the most serious problems with licence suspensions, however, as the risks and penalties only get steeper. It is vital for drivers who are accused of drunk driving to fight back vociferously and challenge the evidence. A defence lawyer can offer advice and strategies regarding individual cases.

Source: Mojo's, "About Demerits," accessed Sep. 15, 2016

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