Frequently Asked Questions


I’ve been charged with Impaired Driving. What’s next?

Once you have been charged with impaired driving, you are subject to both the Alberta Administrative Licence Suspension (ALS) and prosecution for the criminal offence. The ALS and the criminal charge are separate. The ALS is for 15 months and will not end if you defeat the criminal charges. Any appeal of the ALS must be filed within 30 days of being suspended. The criminal charges will have a first appearance date that is likely longer than 30 days. DO NOT WAIT until your first date in court to talk to a lawyer as the appeal period for the ALS might already be over. You are entitled to receiving a copy of all the information in the possession of the government . This is called disclosure. At present, the only way to avoid a conviction is to successfully defence the criminal charge. If convicted, you will have a criminal record, a minimum of one year driving prohibition, and a fine of several thousand dollars.

How does the decriminalization of marijuana affect me, can I smoke while driving?

If you are a marijuana user, then marijuana use will no longer be a criminal offence. However, just because marijuana use and possession is no longer a criminal offence, doesn’t mean that marijuana use isn’t against some other law. Many employers will continue to prohibit marijuana use by their employees. Landlords and property owners can prohibit it’s use on their property. Heavy marijuana use and driving a motor vehicle will also be a criminal offence in many circumstances regardless of whether or not you are impaired by marijuana as blood levels of THC well over the legal limit can remain in the body for weeks after consumption. If anything, the decriminalization of marijuana means more legal control over marijuana use, not less.

My drivers license is suspended, what now?

If you have been charged with impaired driving in Alberta, you have been also given an Administrative Licence Suspension. You have 30 days to appeal this 15 month suspension. If you do not successfully appeal the suspension, your driver’s licence will be suspended for the whole 15 months regardless of whether or not you successfully defend the criminal charges. If you driver’s licence has been suspended by the Transportation Safety Board for too many demerits, you need to comply with the TSB’s conditions to getting your ldriver’s licence back.

The police want to talk to me, do I need a lawyer?

All persons being investigated by the police in Canada for a criminal offence have a right to silence. You are required to identify yourself to the officer, but otherwise, you don’t have to say anything else. It generally isn’t a good idea to say anything else, as what you say might become evidence against you. Always consult with a lawyer before speaking with the police. However, in some circumstances, you are required to speak to the police. For example, you are required to speak with the police in filling out an accident report pursuant to the Transportation Safety Act.