Overview

Alberta has Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) that apply to impaired driving under the Traffic Safety Act. Additionally, law enforcement can proceed with charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, that can result in further penalties imposed by the courts. 

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.

All DUIs listed below mean you drove while impaired to any degree with alcohol, drugs, fatigue or prescription drugs or a combination of those in your system.

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

IRS 24-hour suspension

If you are suspected of being impaired by alcohol, drugs or a physical or medical condition that affects your ability to safely drive, you are subject to a 24-hour driver's licence suspension.

If you receive a 24-hour driver's licence suspension for medical reasons, you may have your file reviewed by Driver Fitness and Monitoring to determine your fitness to drive.

IRS WARN penalties

The following WARN penalties occur when your blood alcohol concentration is between 0.05 and 0.079 or you fail drug and alcohol sobriety tests.

  • First occurrence

    • an immediate 3-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
    • a 3-day vehicle seizure
    • a $300 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20% 
  • Second occurrence

    • an immediate 15-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
    • a 7-day vehicle seizure
    • a $600 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%
    • remedial education through the Crossroads course
      • the Planning Ahead course may also be accepted instead of the Crossroads course 
  • Third occurrence

    • an immediate 30-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
    • a 7-day vehicle seizure
    • a $1,200 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%
    • remedial education through the IMPACT Program 

IRS FAIL penalties

IRS: FAIL is administered under section 88.1 of the Traffic Safety Act.

  • your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more
  • you fail or refuse drug and alcohol testing
  • you fail drug recognition tests
  • First 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:
      1. During this 12 month suspension period, you may participate in Alberta’s IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program and operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. If you choose not to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, your licence will remain suspended, and you cannot legally drive.
  • Second 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:
    • Complete the IMPACT Program.
    • 30-day vehicle seizure.
    • $2,000 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%.
    • If you receive criminal-level impaired charges and convicted, the court will also impose additional penalties.
  • Third 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 suspension period, you may participate in Alberta’s IRS: FAIL Ignition Interlock Program and operate a vehicle equipped with an interlock device. If you choose not to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program, your licence will remain suspended, and you 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%
    • If you receive criminal-level impaired charges and convicted, the court will also impose additional penalties.

Novice driver penalties

Under the IRS ZERO: Novice Program, there is zero tolerance for any alcohol and drugs for novice drivers in the Class 7 learner’s licence or a Class 5-GDL licence category.

If your driver’s licence has been suspended, you will receive the following penalties:

  • an immediate 30-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances
  • a 7-day vehicle seizure
  • a $200 fine plus victim fine surcharge of 20%

Commercial driver penalties

Under the IRS ZERO: Commercial Program, there is zero tolerance for any alcohol or drugs, or both, for drivers operating a commercial vehicle.

  • First occurrence

    • Immediate 3-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances.
    • $300 fine plus victim surcharge of 20%. 
  • Second occurrence

    • Immediate 15-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances.
    • $600 fine plus victim surcharge of 20%
  • Third occurrence

    • Immediate 30-day driver’s licence suspension where you are unable to drive under any circumstances.
    • $1,200 fine plus victim surcharge of 20%