Overview

The Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) Program of IRS: FAIL is administered under section 88.1 of the Traffic Safety Act and applies to drivers when law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that:

  • you operated a motor vehicle while your ability to do so was impaired to any degree by alcohol or drugs or by a combination of alcohol and a drug
  • within 2 hours after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, your blood alcohol concentration was equal to or exceeds 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • within 2 hours after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, your blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds any blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation under the Criminal Code (Canada)
  • within 2 hours after ceasing to operate a motor vehicle, your blood alcohol concentration and a blood drug concentration that is equal to or exceeds the blood alcohol concentration and the blood drug concentration for the drug that is prescribed by regulation under the Criminal Code (Canada) for instances where alcohol and that drug are combined
  • knowing a demand had been made, you failed or refused, without a reasonable excuse, to comply with a demand made under the Criminal Code (Canada)

Substances

Because both legal drugs and illegal drugs have the potential to cause impairment, the IRS: FAIL Program applies to any substance (drug, alcohol or drug and alcohol) that cause you to be impaired. This also includes prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) medications.

Immediate roadside appeal

You can request a second breath test on a different instrument to confirm your blood alcohol concentration or a blood test for drugs to confirm your blood drug concentration.

If the results of your second test is less than any prohibited drug or alcohol concentration, your Notice of Administrative Penalty in the IRS: FAIL Program will be cancelled by law enforcement.

If the results of your second test is equal to or greater than any prohibited drug or alcohol concentration, your Notice of Administrative Penalty in the IRS: FAIL Program will be confirmed by law enforcement.

Sanctions

Once the Notice of Administrative Penalty is issued by law enforcement, the driver’s licence suspension or disqualification begins immediately. A Confirmation of Suspension will be sent to the last known address listed on your motor vehicle file.

If you reside outside of Alberta, your home jurisdiction will be notified of the suspension or disqualification.

Repeat occurrences show a pattern of high-risk driving behaviour and therefore the penalties escalate with each prior occurrence.

If your driver’s licence has been suspended under the IRS: FAIL Program, you will receive the following sanctions:

First IRS: FAIL contravention occurrence

  • Immediate 2-stage, fixed-term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
    2. further 12 month driver’s licence suspension
  • Completion of the Planning Ahead course.
    • If the remedial education requirement is not completed within 450 days from when the IRS: FAIL was issued, you will immediately receive a new indefinite administrative suspension for non-compliance and remain suspended until the remedial education course is completed.
  • 30-day vehicle seizure
  • $1,000 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%
  • In addition to the provincial sanctions, if law enforcement issued criminal charges and you are convicted, the court will also impose additional penalties.

Second IRS: FAIL contravention occurrence

  • Immediate 2-stage, fixed-term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
    2. further 36 month driver’s licence suspension
  • Completion of the IMPACT Program.
    • If the remedial education requirement is not completed within 1170 days from when the IRS: FAIL was issued, you will immediately receive a new indefinite administrative suspension for non-compliance and remain suspended until the remedial education course is completed.
  • 30-day vehicle seizure
  • $2,000 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%
  • In addition to the provincial sanctions, if law enforcement issued criminal charges and you are convicted, the court will also impose additional penalties.

Third IRS: FAIL contravention occurrence

  • Immediate 2-stage, fixed-term driver’s licence suspension consisting of 2 distinct parts:
    1. 90 days where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
    2. further lifetime driver’s licence suspension
      • During this further lifetime suspension period, you may participate in Alberta’s IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program and during that term operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. If you choose not to participate in the IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program, you will remain suspended and cannot legally drive.
      • Provided you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for driver’s licence reinstatement and removal of the interlock requirement after 10 years. An application does not guarantee a removal of the lifetime suspension.
  • 30-day vehicle seizure
  • $2,000 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%
  • In addition to the provincial sanctions, if law enforcement issued criminal charges and you are convicted, the court will also impose additional penalties.

Criminal Code convictions

If there is no criminal conviction

Federal legislation through the Criminal Code (Canada) and the provincial legislation through the Traffic Safety Act are distinct and separate. In order to obtain a criminal conviction, prosecution bears the burden of proof and must prove the incident occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.

If reasonable doubt is not proven, criminal charges may be dismissed or withdrawn; however, the outcome of any criminal charges does not have any bearing on the provincial suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program. Because law enforcement determined you unsafe at the time of the driving event, your suspension under the IRS: FAIL Program remains in effect for the full suspension term.

If there is a criminal conviction

Criminal Code (Canada) charges resulting in a criminal conviction could affect your participation in the IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program. If criminally convicted, you will be required to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program.

If criminally convicted of your first criminal conviction in a 10-year period, you will also receive:

  • a federal driving prohibition
    • there may be a certain period of time where you will not be able to drive at all even if you are participating in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • a provincial driver’s licence suspension of 1 year
  • additional reinstatement requirements such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 1 year
  • reinstatement fee which can be paid at any Alberta registry agent

If criminally convicted of your second criminal conviction in a 10-year period, you will also receive:

  • a federal driving prohibition
    • there may be a certain period of time where you will not be able to drive at all even if you are participating in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • a provincial driver’s licence suspension of 3 years
  • additional reinstatement requirements, such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 3 years
  • reinstatement fee which can be paid at any Alberta registry agent

If criminally convicted of your third (or subsequent) criminal conviction in a 10-year period, you will also receive:

  • a federal driving prohibition
    • there may be a certain period of time where you will not be able to drive at all even if you are participating in the Ignition Interlock Program
  • a provincial driver’s licence suspension of 5 years
  • additional reinstatement requirements, such as a requirement to participate in the Mandatory Ignition Interlock Program for 5 years
  • reinstatement fee which can be paid at any Alberta registry agent

File a review with SafeRoads

Through SafeRoads Alberta, you can request a review of your contravention under the IRS: FAIL Program.

Visit IRS Review for details on how to request a review.

Fine payment

Visit Pay your penalty for more information, to pay your fine, or request more time to pay.

Contact

Connect with Driver Fitness and Monitoring:

Driver fitness monitoring contact form

Connect with SafeRoads Alberta:

SafeRoads contact form

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