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Alberta Administrative License Suspensions

The creation and implementation of new laws in Alberta drastically changes drinking and driving offences in the province. The provincial government is set to issue a directive to law enforcement that will give them wide discretion in issuing roadside sanctions to drivers who test above the legal limit rather than moving to prosecute offenders criminally.

Background on the New Rules

In May 2017, in R v Sahaluk, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that linking the suspension of a driver’s licence to the result of their criminal court case was unconstitutional.  Mr. Pearse was criminal trial counsel on this matter, wherein the criminal charges were dismissed.  The Alberta Court of Appeal struck down the existing s. 81.1. This law tied administrative suspensions including licence suspensions to criminal charges. After the decision, the Government of Alberta had 12 months to institute new rules.

Details on the New Directive

The new directive gives law enforcement officers discretion whether to pursue criminal charges against individuals who blow over the legal limit. For most offenders, the result will be a licence suspension of three months. If the offender agrees to have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle, they can have their licence reinstated. However, if they refuse, they will lose their driving privileges for another year.

Contact Alan Pearse for Assistance

If you need to get your licence back quickly, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Alberta impaired driving lawyer for assistance. Alan Pearse, literally, wrote the book on this subject.  Provincial licence suspensions are governed by an area of law called “Administrative Law.” This is separate from criminal impaired driving, which is governed by a completely different set of rules. The law and science in this area is complex, counter-intuitive  and changes very quickly. Alan Pearse serves clients throughout Canada with offices in CalgaryEdmontonRed DeerSaskatoon and Toronto. He can evaluate the case against you and craft a legal strategy that is tailored to your particular situation.


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