What Are The Legal Penalties for
drivers with a BAC of .05 to .08 in Alberta?

With all the recent confusion over the last year regarding changes in the impaired driving laws of Alberta, and Bil 26, there are a lot of questions circulating during the holiday season and new year for people going to Christmas parties for the office, friends, and family. There is also a lot of confusing information online, with some points even contradicting one another. For this reason, the Calgary criminal defence lawyers at Greg Dunn & Associates would like to present to you the facts in the most straight forward terms.

Previously, drivers caught with a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or greater were subject to a 24-hour suspension. Under Alberta’s new rules, these drivers get:

  • A roadside sanction of a 3 day licence suspension and 3 day vehicle seizure for the first offence
  • A roadside sanction of a 15 day suspension and 7 day vehicle seizure for the second offence plus a mandatory remedial course and may be referred to the Alberta Transportation Safety Board by the Registrar
  • A roadside sanction of a 30 day suspension and 7 day vehicle seizure for third and subsequent offences plus a mandatory review by the Alberta Transportation Safety Board and a remedial courses.

What do these changes mean for new Alberta drivers?

Alberta requires new drivers to maintain a blood alcohol level of zero. Now, if they are stopped with any blood alcohol level at all, they face an immediate 30 day suspension and 7 day vehicle seizure. Each 30 day suspension will require an additional 1 year in the Graduated Licence Program.

How are these changes tougher on drivers caught driving over .08?

  • Drivers who are over .08 continue to face criminal charges.
  • As an added penalty and to keep our roads safer, their licences are now suspended immediately until their charges are resolved.
  • These drivers now face a 3 or 7 day vehicle seizure.
  • The use of ignition interlock devices has been expanded. For example, a first conviction nets a full year with the interlock, up from a discretionary six months. A second conviction requires 3 years of interlock and a third conviction requires 5 years of interlock.

Can I still have a drink with dinner in Alberta?

Everyone must exercise personal responsibility when drinking. If you feel your ability to drive is affected, you should not drive.
The intent is not to penalize those who chose an alcoholic drink at dinner*. The penalties are aimed at drivers who have consumed alcohol and it is affecting their driving. No one should drive a vehicle if they personally feel their ability is impaired, regardless of how much they have consumed.

Responsible choices mean understanding your personal limits. For example, this statement is based upon a person with normal weight, height, tolerance to alcohol and metabolism of alcohol and who has a zero blood alcohol concentration at the time of the consumption.
A drink is considered to be a standard sized alcoholic beverage, which would be the equivalent of:

  • one bottle of beer/12 ounces/341 millilitres at 5% alcohol by volume (5%v/v alcohol),
  • one 5-ounce/142 millilitre glass of wine at 12% alcohol by volume (12%v/v alcohol) or
  • 1.5 ounces/43 millilitres of hard liquor at 40% alcohol by volume (40%v/v alcohol).

What is the purpose of the changes in
drinking and driving laws in Alberta?

In 2010, 96 people were killed and 1,384 people were injured in alcohol-related collisions on Alberta roads.

There is a scientific argument that driving with a blood alcohol level of .05 significantly increases the risk of being involved in a collision.

The Albertan government is firmly commitment to ensuring the safety of Albertans in their communities. It is important that we, as citizens, also protect our legal rights. If you have concerns regarding these changes in Alberta’s drinking and driving laws, or you are subject to penalties from these new DUI laws, contact our drunk driving lawyers in Calgary and come in to discuss your case. There are a wide range of points to be argued in your defense against drunk driving charges in Alberta. We can help you improve your legal situation and possibly get back your driving license in Alberta.





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Calgary Drunk Driving Lawyer

Posted on January 11th, 2013