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Impaired Driving Charges

Police can lay Criminal Impaired Driving Charges or issue Immediate Roadside Sanctions (including fines, licence suspensions and vehicle seizures) without laying Criminal Charges.  

A criminal impaired driving charge involves several items. Usually, an Appearance Notice, Notice of Intention to Seek Greater Punishment, Certificate of Analysis, and a Notice of Administrative Penalty form are given to the accused.

The Appearance Notice is a document compelling your attendance to court for two dates. The first date filled in is for you to attend police headquarters for fingerprints and photographs. You will attend on the date indicated between the hours described on your Appearance Notice. The second date is your first appearance in court. This is where you will attend court on the date and time indicated and decide whether you are going to plead guilty and deal with the matter at that time or plead not guilty and set a date for trial. This document is legally compelling you to attend court. Failure to attend either date set out may lead to an additional criminal charge of ‘Failing to Appear’ and may involve a warrant being issued for your arrest.

The Notice of Intention to Seek Greater Punishment is issued regardless of your individual circumstance. Simply stated, it describes what you are charged with and that if you have previously been convicted of those same charges, the Crown Prosecutor may seek a greater punishment (if convicted), because you are not considered a first-time offender.

The Certificate of Qualified Technician is issued with the readings obtained on an Approved Instrument. There are two readings. In Canada, the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. On the Certificate, it will have two truncated readings (rounded down to the nearest tenth) that the Qualified Breath Technician obtained.

In addition to the above documents related to the Criminal Impaired Driving Charge, drivers can also be issued Immediate Roadside Sanctions on a Notice of Administrative Penalty. These Immediate Roadside Sanctions can be appealed outside of the court system through SafeRoads Alberta.  

Refusal to provide a breath sample can result in a charge under the Criminal Code of Canada in addition to Immediate Roadside Sanctions. Or police may issue Immediate Roadside Sanctions alone, without a Criminal Charge. 

Consequences for Impaired Driving- Immediate Roadside Sanctions

First Immediate Roadside Sanction - FAIL 
(previously Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension Program):
Licence Suspension: Immediate 90-day suspension. After 90 days the driver can apply to take part in an Interlock program for one year. 
Vehicle Seizure: 30 days
Appeal: Immediate Roadside appeal and SafeRoads Alberta appeal process. 
Remedial Course: Yes 

Fines and Costs: $1000 fine, towing and impound costs, Interlock costs, course costs. 

Criminal Charge: Drivers may be criminally charged in addition to Immediate Roadside Sanctions depending on the circumstances of the offence. 

Second Immediate Roadside Sanction - FAIL:
Licence Suspension: Immediate 90-day suspension After 90 days the driver can apply to take part in an Interlock program for three years.
Vehicle Seizure: 30 days
Appeal: Immediate Roadside appeal and SafeRoads Alberta appeal process. 
Remedial Course: Yes

Fines and Costs: $2000 fine, towing and impound charges, Interlock costs, remedial course. 

Criminal Charge: Yes; in addition to Immediate Roadside Sanctions, drivers on their second and subsequent offences can be criminally charged. 

Third/Subsequent Immediate Roadside Sanction - FAIL:
Licence Suspension: Immediate 90 day-suspension. After 90 days the driver can apply to take part in a Lifetime Interlock program (may apply for exemption after 10 years).
Vehicle Seizure: 30 days
Appeal: Immediate Roadside appeal and SafeRoads Alberta appeal process. 
Remedial Course: No

Fines and Costs: $2000 Fine, towing and impound charges, and Interlock costs. 

Criminal Charge: Yes; in addition to Immediate Roadside Sanctions drivers on their second and subsequent offences can be criminally charged. 


Immediate Roadside Sanctions WARN (formerly Immediate Roadside Sanctions)
When a driver has a blood alcohol concentration of greater than 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood (mg%) but less than 80mg%.

1st Offence:
Licence Suspension: Immediate 3-day suspension
Vehicle Seizure: 3 days
Appeal: Roadside Appeal and Appeal process through SafeRoads Alberta.
Fine and Costs: Towing and impound charges and $300 fine. 

2nd Offence:
Licence Suspension: Immediate 15-day suspension
Vehicle Seizure: 7 days
Appeal: Roadside Appeal and Appeal process through SafeRoads Alberta.
Fine and Costs: Towing and impound charges, and $600 fine, and course costs. 
Remedial Course: Yes .“Crossroads” course.

3rd and Subsequent Offences:
Licence Suspension: Immediate 30-day suspension
Vehicle Seizure: 7 days
Appeal: Roadside Appeal and Appeal process through SafeRoads Alberta.
Fine and Costs: Towing and impound charges, $1200 fine, and course costs.
Remedial Course: Yes. “IMPACT” course.

Immediate Roadside Sanction Zero Novice Program (formerly Alberta Zero Alcohol Tolerance Program - Graduated Driver’s Licence)

Each Offence:
Licence Suspension: Immediate 30-day suspension
Vehicle Seizure: 7 days
Appeal: Roadside Appeal and Appeal process through SafeRoads Alberta.
Fine and Costs: Towing and impound charges and $200 fine. 

Immediate Roadside Sanction Zero Commercial Program

  • Driver is operating a vehicle 11,794 kg or more or with a seating capacity of 11 passengers or more (including the driver)
  • Zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs in the driver’s body

1st Offence
Licence Suspension: Immediate 3-day suspension
Appeal: Roadside Appeal and Appeal process through SafeRoads Alberta.
Fine and Costs: $300 fine.

2nd Offence
Licence Suspension: Immediate 15-day suspension
Appeal: Roadside Appeal and Appeal process through SafeRoads Alberta.
Fine and Costs: $600 fine.

3rd and Subsequent Offences
License Suspension: Immediate 30-day suspension
Appeal: Roadside Appeal and Appeal process through SafeRoads Alberta.
Fine and Costs: $1200 fine.

More Information:

For more information regarding the Immediate Roadside Sanctions programs, visit: www.saferoads.com