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Facing charges for a driving related offence can severely impact your liberty and day to day life. Depending on the circumstances, you may be prevented from driving a vehicle until the completion of your trial, or for a specified time thereafter. At best, this is incredibly inconvenient; at worst, this can be detrimental to your personal life and employment prospects, or involve a significant period of incarceration. 


Charges for impaired driving can stem from both the Criminal Code, provincial traffic legislation, or both. 

In Alberta, persons suspected of impaired driving after December 1, 2020 face serious, immediate and escalating consequences under the Immediate Roadside Sanctions Program (IRSP). This new provincial legislation and procedure for dealing with impaired driving offences aims to be “significantly quicker” than the previous procedure of dealing with provincial driving offences through the Alberta Transportation Safety Board.

Under this new regime, if an officer has reasonable grounds to believe you have committed an impaired offence, your vehicle will be seized for 30 days, and you will receive an immediate 15-month driving suspension. You may only begin driving again if 3 months have passed since the suspension and you have installed an Ignition Interlock Device (Interlock). You will also be required to complete mandatory education regarding impaired driving.
If you are charged under the IRSP, you only have 7 days to appeal that decision to SafeRoads Alberta (Saferoads). This new procedure entails less protection for drivers’ Charter protected rights. We are keeping track of this new regime and its impact on our client’s rights.

Repeat offenders and those alleged to have caused serious bodily harm or death as a result of impaired driving will continue to face criminal charges in addition to penalties under the SafeRoads regime. The consequences under the Criminal Code for impaired driving offences range anywhere from fines to several years in prison. 

Successfully defending driving related offences necessitates a technical understanding of Charter based arguments, and of complex regulatory regimes. It also requires a detailed understanding of the science surrounding impairment and intoxication. The lawyers at Sprake & Co. have a breadth of experience in litigating Charter issues, and of challenging the regulatory consequences of a driving related conviction. 

Whether it’s a first-time impaired offence, or a fatal traffic collision, the lawyers at Sprake & Company have the experience and expertise you need. We work fervently and meticulously to ensure every possible avenue of defence and resolve is pursued, and that our clients’ liberty and freedom on the road is only necessarily and minimally restricted. 

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