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Understanding The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program

The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program (AALS) is one of Alberta’s most recognized and critical programs when it comes to issuing licence suspensions. 


However, plenty of individuals do not know the finer details about the program, or most significantly, their options for appeal. 


This blog post explains what the program is, the sanctions, and the grounds you have for an appeal if you have been wrongly accused. 


What Is The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program? 


Alberta drivers who have been caught over the legal limits for alcohol, cannabis, or combination of both, or are driving while on illegal drugs, such as cocaine, LSD and PCP, are immediately suspended from driving under the AALS program.


This can be administered due to the Traffic Safety Act, which stipulates that peace officers who have reasonable grounds to suspect that a driver is intoxicated while driving, can issue a Notice of Suspension/Disqualification. As of April 9th, 2018, that means an immediate 90-day licence suspension. 


Drivers are charged under the notice based on the following: 

  • Being over the federal legal limits for alcohol, which means having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 (or 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood) or more 
  • Being over the federal legal for cannabis, which means having a blood drug concentration (BDC) of 5 nanograms or more of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per millilitre of blood
  • Having a combination of both alcohol and cannabis, such as having over a BAC of 0.05 and a BDC of 2.5 nanograms or more of THC per one millilitre of blood
  • There is a detectable level of psilocybin, psilocin, ketamine, LSD, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine, and 6-mam, in your system
  • You are over 5 mg/L of GHG

The program also notes that if you are “reasonably believed to be impaired by drugs or alcohol or a combination of drugs and alcohol” or you “fail or refuse to provide a requested breath or fluid sample(s)”, you will be placed under suspension. 


What Are The Sanctions Of The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program?  


Your sanctions will depend on the number of times you have been convicted and charged under the program. Your sanctions will also be impacted if you are criminally convicted for any driving offences. 


Paperwork


If it is your first time within ten years, you will receive: 

  • an immediate 90-day licence suspension
  • a 12-month driving suspension, where you will only be allowed to drive if you participate in the Ignition Interlock Program. You can refuse the program, but then, you will not be allowed to drive for one year. 
  • a 3-day vehicle seizure
  • If you are criminally convicted for impaired driving, you will be ordered by the court to undertake the one-year Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program and participate in the Planning Ahead course


If it is your second conviction within ten years, you will receive: 

  • an immediate 90-day licence suspension and a 12-month driving suspension, where you have the choice to take part in the Ignition Interlock Program 
  • a 7-day vehicle seizure
  • If you are criminally convicted for impaired driving, you will be ordered by the court to undertake a 3-year Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program ordered by the court and participate in the IMPACT program 


If it is your third or more conviction within ten years, you will receive: 

  • an immediate 90-day licence suspension and a 12-month driving suspension, where you have the choice to take part in the Ignition Interlock Program 
  • a 7-day vehicle seizure
  • If you are criminally convicted for impaired driving, you will be ordered by the court to undertake a 5-year Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program ordered by the court and participate in the IMPACT program 

It should be noted that regardless of the outcome, the AALS will remain in effect. You can also face additional criminal charges and federal penalties if you were deemed a danger on the road. 


Can I Appeal The Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program Ruling? 


Yes, you can. By hiring either a criminal lawyer or a Calgary DUI lawyer, you have the opportunity to appeal the ruling to reduce your sentence or get it removed entirely. 


How is that possible? 


There are three grounds for appeal in which your Calgary DUI lawyer can build a case for you: 


  1. That you did not provide a blood or breath sample that was over the federal limits while you were operating a vehicle or within 3 hours of having driven a vehicle 
  2. That you did not drive a vehicle while on illegal substances or over the federal limit on permitted substances. 
  3. That you did not refuse a demand by a peace officer to submit to a test


There is a lengthy process in which you have to submit your appeal, including purchasing an Application for Hearing and sending it to the Alberta Transportation Safety Board within 30 days of the AASL being issued. The AASL will remain valid until the Board decides on your appeal.


While you can do this all yourself, it is advisable to have an experienced criminal lawyer or DUI lawyer supporting you. They will be able to submit the application on your behalf, as well as build a case for your defence. If you have been placed under the AASL and believe you have been wrongly accused, it is best to contact your local criminal lawyer in Calgary for legal advice and support. 


Joel Chevrefils, Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer is here to defend you against all criminal charges. When charged with a criminal offence, the first thing you should do is call your trusted Calgary criminal defence lawyer. His professionalism can help you with all concerns regarding your charges and the complex nature of Canada’s legal system. Chevrefils can help you with your charges in and outside Calgary, including Provincial Courts in Cochrane, Airdrie, Okotoks, Red Deer and Edmonton. Trust your case to Calgary’s most experienced criminal lawyer. Call today on 403-830-1980 or email [email protected] for your free consultation.

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