The Registrar of Motor Vehicle Services has delegated the consideration of vehicle seizures under section 35 and 36 of the Traffic Safety Act to SafeRoads Alberta.
There are 2 options when you want to dispute a vehicle seizure. Depending on your circumstance you may apply as a driver under the Suspended Driver Vehicle Seizure Program or an affected person to dispute a vehicle seizure. There are different grounds for each review option.
Driver under the Suspended Driver Vehicle Seizure Program
If you were the driver of a vehicle that was seized under the Suspended Driver Vehicle Seizure Program, you can apply for a vehicle seizure review if:
- you were an unauthorized driver and did not know, or could not have reasonably known, that you were unauthorized to drive or were prohibited from driving
- you were not an unauthorized driver or not prohibited from driving
- you were not previously charged as an unauthorized driver or prohibited from driving or were not driving the same vehicle at that time you were previously charged
For more information, see section 11 of the Vehicle Seizure and Removal Regulation.
An affected person is a registered owner of a vehicle who was not driving when it was seized. If this applies to you, you can apply for relief of a vehicle seizure if:
- your vehicle was seized after being stolen or taken without your consent
- your vehicle was seized and you could not have reasonably known the driver was suspended
- your vehicle was seized after being driven, by someone else, in the course of committing an Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) contravention for impaired driving or an impaired driving or an impaired driving offence listed in section 11.1(3)(b) of the Vehicle Seizure and Removal Regulation
To have your vehicle returned you must show that:
- you were not the driver at the time it was seized
- you do not live in the same household as the driver
- prior to driving, the driver showed you a copy of their valid driver's licence, that was in their name, not expired and was the appropriate class to drive the vehicle
For more information, see section 11.1(3) and (4) of the Vehicle Seizure and Removal Regulation.
Financial hardship and inconvenience are not grounds for cancellation of your Seizure Notice.
An adjudicator cannot consider arguments such as:
- you do not have the financial means to pay for the tow fees
- you need your vehicle to get to and from work
- you need your vehicle to take your kids to school or a family member to a medical appointment
- Vehicle seizure review
- Affected person vehicle seizure review
- Supporting document requirements (PDF, 170 KB)
If you choose to be represented by a lawyer or an agent, consent to representation is required. For ease of use, SafeRoads Alberta has a Consent to Representation form you can complete and upload to the SafeRoads portal. This form will be deemed an original.
Eligibility and costs
You have until 11:59 pm the day before the seized vehicle is scheduled to be released to apply for a vehicle seizure review.
- If you were the driver of the seized vehicle, you must pay a non-refundable application fee of $150.
- An affected person of a seized vehicle must pay a non-refundable application fee of $50.
- You are responsible for all costs associated with the vehicle seizure, including any tow lot fees or charges.
- If you choose to be represented by a lawyer or agent, you are responsible for any costs for the representative.
- If you use a translator, you are responsible for any costs for the translator.
How to apply
Step 1. Access the SafeRoads portal or go to a registry agent
Not all browsers work the same, so there may be some variation in user experience depending on what browser and device is used. For the best experience, use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge to access the SafeRoads portal. If you are having trouble accessing the SafeRoads portal, clear your browser's cache.
If you choose to apply for a review at a participating Alberta registry agent, bring your Seizure Notice. Payments made at an Alberta registry agent may be subject to a service charge.
Applying for a vehicle seizure review does not guarantee the return of your vehicle.
Step 2. Schedule your review
You will choose the date you would like your application to be reviewed by an adjudicator and submit your request. You will receive confirmation of your review via your preferred contact method.
As all vehicle seizure reviews are written, you or your representative do not attend the review.
Step 3. Provide supporting documents
Driver under Suspended Driver Program
A driver will need to submit all supporting documents through the SafeRoads portal by 11:59 pm the day before the scheduled review.
Participating registry agents may provide this service for a service charge.
Supporting documents may include one or more of the following:
- the grounds for your application, in writing. The available grounds are listed in section 11(1) of the Vehicle Seizure and Removal Regulation
- video or audio recordings or both
- witness statements
- technical materials
- driver abstract
An affected person will need to provide one or more of the following documents through the SafeRoads portal by 11:59 pm the day before the scheduled review:
- if the vehicle is a rental vehicle, the rental agreement
- if the vehicle is a commercial vehicle, the commercial driver’s abstract for the driver of the seized vehicle dated not more than one year from the date of occurrence
- proof that before driving the motor vehicle, the person driving the motor vehicle showed you a driver's licence that was in their name, not expired and was the appropriate class to drive the vehicle
- proof the driver is not the registered owner of the seized vehicle
- proof that the driver is not part of the same household as the registered owner of the seized vehicle
See Supporting document requirements (PDF, 170 KB) for more information.
Participating registry agents may provide this service for a service charge.
Additional documents may be uploaded by law enforcement up to 4 calendar days prior to your scheduled review. It is your responsibility to check back to ensure you have all of the information and to update your grounds or arguments for the review accordingly.
After you apply
The adjudicator will review the statements and supporting documents that you or your representative and the law enforcement agency provided within the required timelines to decide if your Seizure Notice should be confirmed or cancelled.
You will be notified by your preferred contact method when the adjudicator’s decision is available in the SafeRoads portal.
If your notice is cancelled
If your vehicle Seizure Notice is cancelled, a Seized Vehicle Release Authorization will be provided to the tow lot where your vehicle was impounded to release your vehicle. You will be responsible for all costs involved in the vehicle seizure.
Changing or abandoning a review
Changing a review
If you are a driver under the Suspended Driver Vehicle Seizure Program, you have up until 11:59 pm the day before the scheduled review to reschedule the review date to any available date up to 11:59 pm the day before the expiry of the seizure term. through the SafeRoads portal or at an Alberta registry agent during business hours.
If you are an affected person, you have up until 11:59 pm the day before the scheduled review to reschedule your application for relief of a vehicle seizure to any available date up to 11:59 pm the day before the expiry of the seizure term through the SafeRoads portal or at an Alberta registry agent.
Abandoning a scheduled review
You can abandon your request any time up to the commencement of your scheduled review through the SafeRoads portal.
By abandoning your request for review:
- your Seizure Notice remains in effect
- you will not receive a refund of the application fee
A review is deemed abandoned if you or your representative do not provide any material for a written review.
You may seek judicial review of a decision rendered by SafeRoads Alberta for a vehicle seizure by filing an application with the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, in accordance with section 47.1 of the Traffic Safety Act and serving on the Registrar of Motor Vehicle Services no later than 30 days after the date on which the decision was received.
Traffic Safety Act, RSA 2000, c. T-6
47.1(1) Subject to sections 32 and 34 and subsection (2), no decision or order of the Registrar shall be questioned or reviewed in any court by application for judicial review or otherwise, and no order shall be made, process entered or proceedings taken in any court, whether by way of certiorari, injunction, declaratory judgment, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, application to quash or set aside or otherwise, to question, review, prohibit or restrain any decision or order of the Registrar or any of the Registrar’s proceedings.
(2) A decision or order of the Registrar may be questioned or reviewed by way of an application for judicial review seeking an order in the nature of certiorari or mandamus if the application is filed with the Court and served on the Registrar no later than 30 days after the date of the decision or order or the date a copy of the decision or order and reasons in respect of it have been received by the applicant, whichever is later.
(3) On an application for judicial review under subsection (2), the standard of review is reasonableness.
If you require additional information or support related to filing an application for judicial review, please contact Alberta Justice’s Court and Justice Services by calling 1-855-738-4747.
If you choose to file an originating application for judicial review with the Court of King’s Bench, the preferred method for serving filed documents is by email at [email protected]. Please note, this email is only for serving Court filed documents. Additional authorized methods of service can be found in Part 11 of the Alberta Rules of Court.
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