EDMONTON DUI LAWYER and IMPAIRED DRIVING LAWYER
If the Police gave you a Notice of Administrative Penalty (“NAP”) or Immediate Roadside Sanction (“IRS”) you only have 7 DAYS to appeal & try to save your license.
There are provisions that can work if you are late* on the 7 days – talk to a lawyer.
You have to move fast! Don’t give up your license without a fight.
– FREE CONSULTATION –
Geoff Green – Edmonton DUI Lawyer With Over 25 years experience.
Alberta’s New Impaired Driving Charges.
The rules in Alberta on impaired driving (“DUI”) changed dramatically December 1, 2020.
The new law is called “Bill 21”.
The only good news about the new impaired driving laws are that most first offenders are not being charged under the criminal code; rather, they are being charged under Bill 21. This means no criminal record – at least not on your first offence.
Having said that, the penalties and license suspensions are tougher because they don’t give you much time to figure out what you want to do. You still lose your license, as before – but they suspend your license right away (like RIGHT NOW). They will impound your car, RIGHT NOW as well. You can still expect a large fine. If you want to fight any of these things, you have to file your papers WITHIN 7 DAYS OF BEING CHARGED.
There will be more people driving with a breathalyzer machine in their car (actually called an “ignition interlock device”). These are expensive and you have to pay for it.
You can still expect your insurance to go up.
What they have really changed is that very few cases will end up in a court room. Cases are being handled “administratively” meaning . . . in an administrative hearing, either verbal or in writing depending on the situation. In some way, this makes it easier for your lawyer to fight.
Generally speaking, for all first offenders who get charged with impaired driving, blowing .08, DUI or refusing to blow, instead of giving you a summons to go to court, the police will instead give you papers which will result in what the Province is calling an “administrative” penalty.
Notice of Administrative Penalty and the Immediate Roadside Sanction
If you get pulled over for impaired driving, the police will give you a Notice of Administrative Penalty (“NAP”) and issue you an Immediate Roadside Sanction (“IRS”) whereby your license will be immediately suspended.
No criminal charges, no court rooms and no trials – unless there are collisions or injuries, then it is more likely. Or if it’s not your first offence.
The old system was long and slow. The new system is much, much faster. So if you want to fight for your license, you have to decide pretty much right away and take action. The way you fight is to file your administrative application WITHIN 7 DAYS of being given the papers by the police. That’s right, just 7 days. Don’t delay!
There are special sections that might work if you miss the 7 days – talk to a lawyer.
If you get your papers filed with the 7 days, the next step will be that they will hold an “administrative hearing” within 21 days. They have to issue a written decision following your hearing, and they have to issue that decision within 30 days. If you lose, you should probably appeal.
Your lawyer can apply at any stage to get your license back. Geoff has had good success with these.
Table of Contents
2 Purpose of Act
3 Application of Act
4 Provision of technical materials
5 Issuance of notice of administrative penalty
6 Form of notice of administrative penalty
7 Request for review
8 Failure to respond to notice of administrative penalty or pay fine
Designation and Assignment of Adjudicators
9 Designation of adjudication branch
10 Designation of Director and adjudicators
11 Assignment of adjudicator
Records, Representations, Arguments and Evidence
12 Duty to provide records to recipient
13 Records, representations, arguments and evidence provided by
14 Document deemed made under oath
15 Date of review
16 Means of review
17 Rules for review
18 Content of review
19 Failure to participate in or abandonment of review
20 Request for late review
Decision of Adjudicator
21 Decision of adjudicator
22 Copy of adjudicator’s decision
23 Delay in exceptional circumstances
24 Judicial review
25 Search warrants
26 Limitation period
27 Additional time to pay fine
28 Incomplete notice of administrative penalty
29 Application of money received
30 Civil recovery
31 Admissibility of confirmation of contravention
33 Electronic signatures
34 Certified copies of documents
35 General regulations
36 Deficiency regulations
37 Consequential changes to regulations
Consequential Amendments, Coordinated
Amendment and Coming into Force
38-46 Consequential amendments
47 Coordinated amendment
48 Coming into force
The Older Impaired Driving Laws
The main “impaired driving” laws as contained in the federal Criminal Code of Canada are commonly known as:
- Impaired Driving,
- Driving with certain amounts of alcohol in your blood, such as “over .08” or “over .05”, and
- Refusing to Blow aka Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample.
If you find yourself with a DUI (“driving under the influence”), a DWI (“driving while impaired” or “driving while intoxicated”) or other drinking and driving charge, you need to talk to a lawyer. Your best defence is to get a lawyer. Geoff Green is a lawyer who can help you fight the charges, keep your license and minimize your mistake. If you get caught, call Geoff.
Federal and Provincial legislation both come into play in the drinking and driving offenses. This is because the federal government has jurisdiction over criminal law, but the provinces are given jurisdiction over property and civil rights, which includes drivers licenses and the requirements to be a licensed driver.
As a result, some penalties for the drunk driving offenses are contained in the Criminal Code, while other sanctions or regulatory rules are contained in provincial legislation.
The overlap in the drinking and driving rules makes things somewhat complicated, and the rules seem to be constantly changing so consulting with a lawyer is a definite must if someone runs afoul of the drinking and driving laws. Geoff Green has over 25 years experience and can help you try to hang onto your drivers license.
Consequences for Criminal Code DUI and Impaired Driving Convictions
In Alberta, the consequences for driving with alcohol in your body, or for driving while impaired, begin immediately. Over the course of 2012 the government of Alberta passed new legislation that was phased in over time and resulted in these immediate consequences.
Implemented July 1, 2012
For drivers with blood alcohol over .08:
- Criminal charge
- Immediate license suspension which is sustained until criminal charge is resolved.
- 1st charge: sustained license suspension and 3-day vehicle seizure, “Planning Ahead” course.
- 2nd charge: sustained license suspension, 7- day vehicle seizure, “Impact” course.
- 3rd charge: sustained license suspension, 7-day vehicle seizure, “Impact” course.
- Mandatory ignition interlock after criminal conviction – 1 year for 1st conviction; 3 years for 2nd conviction; 5 years for 3rd conviction.
Implemented September 1, 2012
For drivers with Blood Alcohol .05 to .08:
- 1st offense – Immediate 3-day license suspension and 3-day vehicle seizure.
- 2nd offense – Immediate 15-day license suspension, 7-day vehicle seizure, “Planning Ahead” course.
- 3rd offense – Immediate 30-day license suspension, 7-day vehicle seizure, “Impact” course.
Implemented July 1, 2012
For new (GDL) drivers with blood alcohol over .00
- GDL driver found with any blood alcohol – Immediate 30-day license suspension and 7-day vehicle seizure
Penalties For Being Convicted Of DUI Impaired Driving Offenses
There are minimum penalties contained in the Criminal Code for impaired driving. These are:
Minimum Criminal Code Penalties
Canada Wide Driving Prohibition
|1st offense||$1000||1 – 3 year driving prohibition|
|2nd offense||30 days jail||2 – 5 year driving prohibition|
|3rd or + offense||120 days jail||not less than 3 year driving prohibition|
These are just the minimums under the Criminal Code. They can be raised higher by the actual Judge hearing any given case.
Then there are the Provincial suspensions that follow a criminal conviction. These arise by virtue of the Highway Traffic & Safety Act of Alberta and other provincial legislation.
Minimum Alberta Provincial Suspensions
|1st offense||1 year suspension|
|2nd offense||3 years if prior occurred within past 10 years|
|3rd or +||5 years|
Alberta Ignition Interlock Program
The Criminal Code allows for a shorter period of prohibition in Alberta because Alberta offers the Ignition Interlock Program. There are special rules that apply. Talk to a lawyer. To be eligible to the accused, the sentencing judge must not prohibit it, and it must be allowed for by the Transportation Safety Board. Talk to a lawyer.
An ignition interlock is an alcohol sensing device installed on the applicant’s vehicle which requires random samples of breath from the driver to continue the vehicle’s operation. If an alcohol level above a certain minimal level is detected the vehicle will be shut down. These devices are expensive to install and maintain. Talk to a lawyer.
Possible Provincial Interlock Reductions
reduction to as low as 3 months
reduction to as low as 6 months
|3rd and + offenses|
reduction to as low as 12 months
Please know that some of these numbers are variable depending on the case itself, and the actual application of the law to your specific case. Crown or judicial discretion or the use (or non use) of certain notice requirements may also change the situation. Talk to a lawyer.
There are more and other special rules regarding the impaired driving laws and the interlock system that are not listed here. Talk to a lawyer.
Impaired Driving Causing Bodily Harm
Where bodily harm has been caused, the penalty can increase to as high as 10 years in prison and a 10 year driving prohibition.
Impaired Driving Causing Death
Where a human death has been caused, the penalty can be as high as life in prison and the length of driving prohibition can be for any period of time the court considers proper. Basically, there is no limit as to how long the prohibition can be.
Curative Discharges In DUI Cases
In rare cases, an accused can apply for a “curative discharge”. This is a special disposition that is available if there is recognition of an alcohol or drug addiction. Geoff Green can discuss this discharge with you. In the right circumstances it can be very favorable to the accused.
Drug Impaired Driving – New Laws from 2018 for Driving Impaired by Cannabis or Marijuana
Drug impaired driving is a fast developing area of law, especially with the 2018 legalization of cannabis (marijuana) and the implications for impaired driving that accompany that legalization.
The Federal Government gave Royal Assent to Bill C-46 on June 21, 2018.
In addition to these laws on driving with drugs in your system, Bill C-46 significantly alters aspects of Canadian drinking and driving laws.
In particular, it lowers the threshold for which a police officer can demand that you blow into a roadside screening device.
There is no question that these laws will give rise to legal challenges across Canada on constitutional grounds under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it is possible that they will ultimately be found lacking. No doubt the Supreme Court of Canada will become involved. If you find yourself charged with impaired driving, refusing to blow or any of the drinking and driving or drugging and driving offences, you should call a lawyer as soon as you can.
Drug Impaired Driving – New Offenses for Cannabis aka Marijuana
The Canadian criminal laws on impaired driving by alcohol and impaired driving by drugs are undergoing significant change with the passage of recent amendments to the Criminal Code via the Statutes of Canada 2018, Chapter 21. Also known as Bill C-46. The major section headings in this new legislation can be found below.
There are essentially 3 new offences dealing with “driving under the influence of cannabis”. (Cannabis is also known as marijuana, pot, bud, weed, leaf and many other things).
3 New Offences For Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis
1) Driving with a level of THC (THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol) of between two and five nanograms. These “lesser” offences will be treated as summary conviction offences and the person will get a fine of up to $1,000.
2) Driving with a THC level above five nanograms will be taken more seriously. Offenders here face mandatory minimum penalties of a $1,000 fine on a first offence, 30 days’ imprisonment on a second offence and 120 days’ imprisonment on a third offence.
3) Because it is believed that mixing alcohol with cannabis further impairs a person’s ability to drive, driving with a THC level of more than 2.5 nanograms and having a blood alcohol concentration above 50 mg per 100 ml will also face the same mandatory minimum penalties as someone driving with more than 5.0 nanograms.
These are three new offences.
The government is working on approving screening devices that can conduct roadside testing of a driver’s saliva in order to determine their blood THC level. It is anticipated that the approved device will be of a “pass or fail” type with a threshold of 5.0 nanograms of THC. In the event of a fail the arresting officer would then make a formal demand for the driver to provide a blood sample, which blood sample would then determine the exact level of THC.
The sample would have to be taken within 2 hours of the time of driving. It is known however that the longer you wait, the lower your THC level will probably be as the dissipation rate for cannabis is quite fast.
Question: How long does cannabis stay in your blood?
Answer: Not as long as many other drugs.
On about August 27, 2018 the federal government of Canada announced that the Drager Drug Test 5000 roadside screening device had been approved for roadside screenings come October of 2018. But it remains to be seen how this will play out. Some police forces (for example, Vancouver and Delta B.C.) have decided they won’t be using that device, at least not right away.
Recognition and Declaration
The 2018 Criminal Code Amendments Regarding Impaired Driving – Alcohol and Drugs
Below are found some of the major headings from the Criminal Code amendments (Part 2 only) in a “Table of Contents” format. These are provided in order to give the reader an idea of what is contained in the new legislation. This is a partial listing only. See the actual Criminal Code amendments for more detail and the full text of the legislation. (NOTE that section 320.14 is quoted below in it’s entirety as it is the operative section.)
STATUTES OF CANADA 2018, CHAPTER 21, PART 2
Offences Relating to Conveyances — Alcohol and Drugs
OFFENCES and PUNISHMENT
- Dangerous operation
- Operation causing bodily harm
- Operation causing death
- Operation while impaired
- Operation causing bodily harm
- Operation causing death
- Testing for presence of alcohol or drug
- Mandatory alcohol screening
- Samples of breath or blood — alcohol
- Evaluation and samples of blood — drugs
- Samples of breath — alcohol
- Samples of bodily substances
- Types of drugs
- Breath samples
- Blood samples — concentration when sample taken
- Evidence not included
- Presumption — blood alcohol concentration
- Admissibility of evaluating officer’s opinion
- Presumption — drug
- Admissibility of result of analysis
Geoff Green – Edmonton Criminal Defence Lawyer For DUI and Impaired Driving Charges
Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Athabasca, Barrhead, Boyle, Camrose, Edson, Fort Saskatchewan, Grande Cache, Hinton, Jasper, Lac La Biche, Leduc, Lloydminster, Mayerthorpe, Morinville, Onoway, Red Deer, Slave Lake, Valleyview, Vegreville, Westlock, Wetaskiwin, Whitecourt.