Legal Guide

New Drunk Driving Rules in Alberta You Need to Know About

Alberta has recently updated its drunk-driving rules, responding to a stream of road-traffic incidents in recent years and resulting in a notably increased severity of the consequences facing those charged with driving under the influence. As familiarizing ourselves with the laws that govern our lives is one the most important steps of avoiding a criminal charge, it is well worth scrutinizing them in detail.

Taking a good look at the DUI laws in Calgary could mean the difference between the continuation of normality and finding yourself with hefty legal proceedings on your hands. By considering the way that they function and their potential impact upon your life and future opportunities, knowing the ins and outs of these laws can be the crucial key to avoiding the inconvenience of a criminal charge and its significant consequences.

The Law

The most significant change to the laws concerning drink driving involves the fact that drivers with a BAC of .05 to .08 are now also likely to face notable penalties:

  1. If you’re caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 but lower than the .08 limit of the Criminal Code, your licence will be suspended for 3 days and your vehicle impounded for 3 days.
  1. If you’re caught for the second time, your licence will be suspended for 15 days and your vehicle will be impounded for 7 days. You will also be required to take a course on the dangers of drinking and driving.
  1. Subsequent offences will result in a 30-day suspension of your driver’s licence, your vehicle impounded for 7 days and you will need to enroll in a weekend course on the impact of alcohol in your life.

New Drivers

The recent crackdown has also involved a focus on new drivers, in a bit to encourage positive habits from the outset and avoid a negligent attitude among those who are fresh to our roads:

  1. No new driver on a graduated licence is allowed to have any alcohol at all in their system. New drivers caught with a BAC of .05 but lower than .08 will face a 1-month suspension, and their vehicle will be impounded for 7 days.

Changes to Payment Systems

  1. Drivers won’t face fines or de-merits. However, they are required to pay impound ($30 a day) and towing ($116) fees. A 3-day driver’s licence suspension will require a fee of $22 to get back the licence.


  1. Offences will stay on record for 10 years.

Considering the importance of a criminal record for personal and professional opportunities, this detail is well worth taking seriously.

  1. You cannot appeal a 3-day suspension of licence and/or seizure of vehicle, but you can appeal longer suspensions to the Transportation Safety Board.
  1. Drivers caught with blood alcohol concentration of more than .08 and are charged criminally will have suspended licences until their case is resolved in the court.
  1. If the driver of the vehicle is convicted, he or she will be required to install an ignition interlock for a minimum of 1 year for the first conviction, 3 years for the second and 5 years for the third conviction. An ignition interlock is a kind of device that checks the driver’s breath, and prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.

DUI Statistics in Alberta

You may think that the new guidelines for drunk driving in Alberta are excessively stringent, but it is worth taking into account the dangers associated with impaired driving. In 2010, 96 people died in vehicular accidents in Alberta as a result of DUI. Combined with the 1,344 people that were injured, it is easy to understand how impaired driving is the biggest single criminal cause of death in Canada.

And while the numbers of alcohol-related crashes that resulted in death has fallen considerably, impaired driving continues to affect lives and cause sorrow to those who have become victims of vehicular accidents involving drinking and driving. As it is the job of the authorities to provide safety and security for the general public, you can start to see why a change to the legislation surrounding drink-driving charges has become a necessary precaution.

However, an increased severity in DUI laws needn’t be an inconvenience, as long as you are well familiar with them and their precise rules. By understanding the DUI legislation in your area, you minimize your chances of crossing the law and finding yourself with protracted legal proceedings and the associated financial impact. Most importantly, you can proceed with your life knowing that you are making your best efforts to contribute to a positive living environment, which is safe and secure for everybody concerned.

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