Anyone who lives in the prairie provinces of Canada knows about taking side roads to avoid police. It’s a widely held belief that police don’t spend any time patrolling side roads, and if you’re doing something illegal like drinking and driving, you’re going to get to your destination unscathed if you just stay away from main thoroughfares.
Maybe 20 or 30 years ago this could be true, but in provinces like Alberta now, police have eyes and ears on the ground to stop drunk driving everywhere. That means there’s no road that’s ‘safe’ for drunk driving, and if you do get stopped and arrested for impaired driving, you’re going to have to learn what life is like after an impaired driving charge.
What’s life like after an Alberta impaired driving charge?
If you’re a first offender in Alberta, you’re going to spend some time wishing the province hadn’t updated their impaired driving laws. As of July 1st, 2012, Alberta implemented strict new laws for drivers over .08, drivers who are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .05 to .08, and graduated drivers license (GDL) drivers.
These strict new penalties mean if you’re pulled over anywhere in Alberta and receive a .08 or over BAC, you’re going to immediately lose your license. The real kicker is that you won’t know how long you’re license will be suspended, because in Alberta you won’t receive your license back until the criminal charge is resolved. That could be a matter of weeks, months, or in some cases, years.
A first offender will also have his or her vehicle immediately seized, so if anyone is in the car with you when you’re arrested for impaired driving, they’re going to have to get their own ride home.
After an impaired driving charge in Alberta you’ll be catching rides, busing, or cabbing for a good amount of time, but when you do get your driver’s license back it’s not free sailing. For a first offense in Alberta, you’ll have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for one year after conviction. If you receive more than 2 impaired driving convictions in the province, you’ll have to have an ignition interlock device for 5 years.
The prairie provinces have a serious impaired driving problem, and maybe one of the reasons for that is because people feel it’s ‘safer’ to drink and drive on unpopulated roads. But there’s no safe place to drink and drive anywhere anymore, so choose to only drive sober and hand the keys over to someone else if you’ve been drinking.