Calgary Legal Guidance

Roadside Suspensions

The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide only general information on legal issues within the province of Alberta. This service is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation. The purpose is to make you aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.

This topic will discuss roadside license suspension under the Traffic Safety Act.

The Alberta government will automatically suspend an accused’s driver’s license for 3 months if you are charged with impaired driving, a breathalyzer offense, or failing or refusing to provide a breath sample. The suspension will be up to 6 months if bodily harm or death results from the offense.

The license suspension may begin at the time of your arrest, or 21 days later. When it begins will depend upon the circumstances of your case. (It also depends on the blood alcohol level at the time of driving; consequences are serious if the blood alcohol level is .08 or higher.) Generally, you will be given 21 days to put your affairs in order before the license suspension takes effect.  During the 21 days, a temporary license is issued as the original license is confiscated and destroyed by the police.

A roadside license suspension is not part of the criminal court proceedings. In this circumstance, the license is suspended regardless of a conviction or not. If there is no conviction, you can apply to the Driver Control Board to have your driver’s license reinstated.

You can appeal your license suspension, but the suspension remains in effect until your appeal is over.

For more information, please consult with a lawyer, any Alberta Registry, or the Alberta Driver Control Board.

Dial‑A‑Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.

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