ALBERTA ADMINISTRATIVE LICENCE SUSPENSIONS & APPEALS
If you’re facing a criminal driving offense such as Impaired Driving (DUI), Impaired Driving causing Death, or Refusal in Alberta, an administrative license suspension will be imposed on you. This suspension prohibits you from driving until your criminal charges are resolved.
The suspension can negatively impact your work and travel. Cory Wilson can assist you in appealing the suspension, potentially restoring your driving privileges before addressing the criminal charges.
How does an Administrative License Suspension work in Alberta?
An AALS (Alberta Administrative License Suspension) refers to a license suspension for a driver who faces an impaired driving allegation. This suspension is imposed under the Traffic Safety Act, starting from section 88.1.
If a peace officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that you committed an impaired driving offense, they will provide you with a “Notice of Suspension/Disqualification.” Your license will be suspended immediately. If it’s your first AALS, your vehicle will be seized for three days, and if you have received an AALS previously, your vehicle will be seized for seven days.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, peace officers who have reasonable suspicion that a driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can issue a Notice of Suspension/Disqualification. This notice leads to an immediate 90-day license suspension.
The drivers are charged based on the following:
- Exceeding the federal legal limits for alcohol, which means having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 (or 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood) or higher.
- Exceeding the federal legal limits for cannabis, which means having a Blood Drug Concentration (BDC) of 5 nanograms or higher of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of blood.
- Having a combination of both alcohol and cannabis, such as having a BAC of 0.05 and a BDC of 2.5 nanograms or higher of THC per one milliliter of blood.
- Having detectable levels of psilocybin, psilocin, ketamine, LSD, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine, and 6-mam in your system.
- Having over 5 mg/L of GHG.
Peace officers can serve the Notice of Suspension/Disqualification under the Traffic Safety Act, leading to an immediate 90-day suspension of your license.
Sanctions Imposed by the Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program
The sanctions imposed on you will vary depending on the number of times you have been convicted and charged under the program. Moreover, your sanctions may increase if you are criminally convicted for any driving offenses.
- For the first conviction within ten years, you will be subjected to an immediate 90-day license suspension, a 12-month driving suspension, and a 3-day vehicle seizure. To drive during the suspension period, you must participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, but you may refuse it, in which case you won’t be allowed to drive for a year. In case of criminal conviction for impaired driving, the court will require you to undertake the one-year Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program and participate in the Planning Ahead course.
- For the second conviction within ten years, you will receive an immediate 90-day license suspension, a 12-month driving suspension, and a 7-day vehicle seizure. You may participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, but it is not mandatory. If convicted of impaired driving, the court will order you to undertake the three-year Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program and participate in the IMPACT program.
- For the third or subsequent conviction within ten years, you will be subjected to an immediate 90-day license suspension, a 12-month driving suspension, and a 7-day vehicle seizure. You may choose to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program. If convicted of impaired driving, the court will order you to undertake the five-year Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program and participate in the IMPACT program.
It is important to note that the AALS will remain in effect regardless of the outcome. Additionally, if you are deemed a danger on the road, you may face additional criminal charges and federal penalties.
Appealing The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program
You have the right to challenge the ruling, you can seek the assistance of a criminal lawyer to help you reduce your sentence or have it removed altogether.
There are three grounds for appeal that your lawyer can use to build a case on your behalf:
- If you did not provide a blood or breath sample over the federal limits while operating a vehicle or within 3 hours of driving a vehicle.
- If you did not drive a vehicle while under the influence of illegal substances or over the permitted limit of substances.
- If you did not refuse a peace officer’s demand to submit to a test.
Submitting an Application for Hearing and sending it to the Alberta Transportation Safety Board within 30 days of the AASL being issued is a lengthy process. The AASL remains valid until the Board makes a decision on your appeal.
While you can attempt this on your own, it is recommended to have a skilled criminal or DUI lawyer assist you. They can file the application and build a strong defense for you. If you have been placed under the AASL and believe that you have been wrongly accused, it is best to seek legal advice and support from a criminal lawyer in Calgary.