Edmonton Immediate Roadside Sanctions Lawyer

Last Updated: October 20, 2023

Edmonton Immediate Roadside Sanctions Lawyer

What are Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS)?

Unlike some other offences, the police can issue various penalties to drivers who they suspect have been impaired by alcohol or drugs while operating a vehicle. The police will likely ask you to provide a breath sample into an approved screening device (ASD) to measure your level of impairment. The penalties they may issue will vary depending on whether you register a “warn” or “fail” reading on the device. Nonetheless, the penalties may include:

  • Licence suspension
  • Vehicle Seizure
  • Fines
  • Remedial Education Programs
  • Criminal charges

What is SafeRoads?

SafeRoads Alberta is the governmental body which conducts reviews relating to driving penalty appeals, including review of IRS vehicle seizures and fines. SafeRoads also collects the payment of such administrative penalties.

What is a DUI (Impaired Driving) charge in Edmonton?

Driving under the influence (DUI) or impaired driving charge is quite serious in Edmonton. A DUI charge means that the police believe you were under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two while operating a motor vehicle.

The police may have pulled you over for a number of reasons, including the Checkstop program. The program allows police to set up checkstops to assess drivers for any signs of impairment. This initiative is particularly present during the holidays. Checkstops encourage the public to find a safe way to get home after alcohol or drug consumption, including public transportation, ride shares, or establishing a designated driver (DD) among a members of your group.

While there are various kinds of DUI or IRS charges (see below), Crown prosecutors tend to follow through on these charges unless there is some fatal flaw with their case. Due to this trend, it is crucial to understand what evidence the Crown has against you and which defence strategy is best for your case.

Understanding IRS offences in Edmonton

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving includes operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. An individual may be impaired even if their consumption of alcohol or certain drugs is below the legal limit; it matters if the influence of alcohol, drugs or both has compromised their ability to drive.

Over 80

Under subsection 320.14(1) of the Criminal Code, individuals found “driving over 80”, or more accurately, “driving over 79”, must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is equal to or over 80 mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood are operating a vehicle over the legal limit.

To determine that an individual is driving over 79, an individual must have done the following:

  • Consumed alcohol
  • Operated a vehicle
  • Been given a breathalyzer test
  • Their BAC was over 0.79 mgs

Over the Legal Drug Limit

Under paragraph 320.14(1)(c) of the Criminal Code, individuals operating a vehicle with a blood drug concentration equal to or over the legal limit prescribed for that particular drug will be charged with operating a vehicle while impaired. For cannabis, the type of offence and prescribed limits vary:

  • Summary Offence: It is a summary offence to have a blood drug concentration for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of 2 ng per mL of blood.
  • Hybrid Offence #1: It is a hybrid offence to have a blood drug concentration equal to or over 5 ng per mL of blood.
  • Hybrid Offence #2: It is also a hybrid offence to have a blood alcohol concentration of 50 mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood and a blood drug concentration for THC of 2.5 ng per mL of blood.

Refusing a Blood Sample or Refusing a Breathalyzer

Even if you are not impaired, it is a criminal offence to refuse to provide a breath or blood sample when requested by the police. Refusing to comply with one of these demands may lead to further charges of impaired driving as the police cannot ascertain your blood alcohol or blood drug concentration.

Care & Control

Even where you are not physically driving, you may still be in the care and control of a vehicle. If, for example, you are sitting in the driver’s seat or standing nearby the vehicle, that may be considered care and control. An individual may be charged with driving while in care and control:

  • If you are in care and control of that vehicle; and
  • If alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two impair your ability to operate the vehicle.

Underage impaired driving

It is no secret that youth drivers have higher rates of accidents than other driver classes. This statistic is partly due to a greater prevalence of IRS incidents among youth drivers.

Drivers under 21 or a person of any age with a learner’s or probationary licence cannot have any alcohol or drugs in their system. Edmonton takes a “zero tolerance” or “zero BAC” approach to underage impaired driving, meaning drivers will be subject to additional fines and penalties in addition to those applicable to impaired driving.

When should I contact a Edmonton IRS lawyer?

IRS charges can be pretty complicated to navigate. It is always wise to contact a Edmonton Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS) lawyer after you have been arrested with a IRS to discuss your case before the police lay charges. If the police have arrested you with a IRS, Book A Free Consultation with us to discuss your case.

What are the legal penalties and consequences for IRS in Edmonton?

Immediate Roadside Sanctions (IRS)

 “Warn” Reading

In Edmonton, the police can issue immediate sanctions for some alcohol impaired drivers. The penalties will vary depending on whether you register a “warn” or “fail” reading on an ASD, your number of DUI-related arrests, convictions or licence suspensions. For individuals who receive a blood alcohol centration (BAC) reading of 0.05-0.079 mg or who fail a Field Sobriety Test due to alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two, the following penalties apply immediately:

First Offence

  • Licence Suspension: 3 days
  • Licence Reinstatement Fee: $209
  • Monetary Penalty: $300
  • Vehicle Seizure: 3 days

Second Offence

  • Licence Suspension: 15 days
  • Licence Reinstatement Fee: $209
  • Monetary Penalty: $600
  • Vehicle Seizure: 7 days
  • Remedial Education: You must complete the Crossroads ($194) or Planning Ahead ($364) course to reinstate your licence.

Third or Subsequent Offence

  • Licence Suspension: 30 days
  • Licence Reinstatement Fee: $209
  • Monetary Penalty: $1,200
  • Vehicle Seizure: 7 days
  • Remedial Education: You must complete the Impact course ($1,204) to reinstate your licence.

 “Fail” Reading

Unlike most offences, penalties resulting from a DUI kick in immediately upon arrest – even before a conviction has occurred. As noted above, these penalties vary depending on your number of DUI-related arrests, conviction or licence suspensions. The penalties below will apply for individuals who:

  • Receive a blood alcohol centration (BAC) reading of 0.08 or more;
  • Fail or refuse to comply with an alcohol or drug testing demand; or
  • Fail a Drug Recognition Expert evaluation

First Offence

  • Driver’s Licence Suspension: 90 days
  • Monetary Penalty: $1,000
  • Vehicle Seizure: 30 days
  • Remedial Education: You must complete the Planning Ahead course ($364) to reinstate your licence.
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device: Drivers will be required to register for an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they wish to drive for 1 year. The fee schedule can be found here.

Second Offence

  • Driver’s Licence Suspension: 90 days
  • Monetary Penalty: $2,000
  • Vehicle Seizure: 30 days
  • Remedial Education: You must complete the Impact course ($1,204) to reinstate your licence.
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device: Drivers will be required to register for an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they wish to drive for 3 years. The fee schedule can be found here.

Third or Subsequent Offence

  • Driver’s Licence Suspension: 90 days
  • Monetary Penalty: $2,000
  • Vehicle Seizure: 30 days
  • Remedial Education: You must complete the Impact course ($1,204) to reinstate your licence.
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device: Drivers will be required to register for a Lifetime ignition interlock device on any vehicle they wish to drive. Drivers may apply for an exemption after 10 years. The fee schedule can be found here.

Criminal Conviction

The penalties for a IRS conviction in Edmontonare severe and will affect your life for years to come. In addition to the sanctions noted above, the penalties for a IRS conviction may include the following:

  • Criminal Record: You will have a permanent criminal record which will affect your employment and immigration status as well as your ability to travel.
  • Employment: In addition to the possibility of losing your job, it will be challenging to gain new employment, given that you must disclose your criminal record.
  • Immigration: You may face possible deportation.
  • Travel Restrictions: You may be unable to travel to certain countries with a criminal record.
  • Publicity: Your case and conviction may be reported publicly, affecting your personal and professional life.
  • Fines: Mandatory minimum fine of $1000-$2000
  • Possible jail time: Mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days for a second conviction and 120 days for subsequent convictions. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.
  • Probation: Even if you don’t serve jail time, you may be subject to a probationary period with certain conditions.
  • Remedial Program: You will be required to complete an Impaired Driving Course to reinstate your licence. First time offenders will need to complete the Planning Ahead course ($364), while second or subsequent offenders will need to complete the Impact course ($1,204).
  • Licence suspension: You may face additional licence suspension periods.
  • Ignition interlock device: Drivers will be required to register for a ignition interlock device on any vehicle they wish to drive. The term of the program will vary depending on how many impaired driving convictions an individual has on their record. The fee schedule for the program can be found here.

How can a Edmonton IRS lawyer help?

It is important that your lawyer understand the nuances of defending your IRS in Edmonton. A Edmonton IRS lawyer can devise the best strategy for approaching your case and see it through from beginning to end.

Additionally, a Edmonton DUI lawyer has knowledge of the Edmonton Police Service, the Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Edmonton Crown prosecutors. As a result, a Edmonton IRS lawyer can assist in negotiating your case with the Crown and possibly secure a plea bargain to a lesser charge or get the charges dropped altogether.

FAQs

How much does it cost to hire a IRS lawyer in Edmonton?

The cost of hiring a IRS lawyer in Edmonton can vary depending on their level of expertise and the complexity of your case. Nonetheless, some factors that can influence the cost of defending your IRS are:

  • Amount of Disclosure: If your case has a great deal of disclosure, including the review of witness statements, videos and expert reports, the cost tends to be higher.
  • Trial: If your case goes to trial, more research and preparation will be required. As a result, the cost of your case may be higher.
  • Experts: If your case requires the hiring of experts, such as a private investigator, then the cost will tend to be higher. If your expert needs to travel from other parts of the province, these travel expenses will add to overall cost of your case.
  • Overall complexity: If your case involves novel issues or other aspects that might require more research than the average IRS case, it may affect the cost of a Edmonton IRS lawyer.

To learn more about our fees for your particular case, Book A Free Consultation today.

What are the chances of getting a IRS dismissed in Edmonton?

In Alberta, roughly 47 percent of impaired driving cases in 2020-2021 resulted in the charges being stayed or withdrawn. Meanwhile, 51 percent of cases that year resulted in guilty pleas or findings of guilt after trial. As such, Crown prosecutors in Edmonton are more likely to withdraw impaired driving charges than other areas in the country.

Nevertheless, Crown prosecutors tend not to dismiss IRS charges unless there is some fatal flaw in their case, leading them to have no reasonable prospect of conviction. Some issues that may lead the Crown to do so are:

  • Lack of evidence
  • Unreliable evidence
  • Robust evidence in the accused’s defence

Will you need to attend a IRS class in Edmonton?

In Edmonton, drivers (other than first-time IRS “warn” offenders) must complete an Alberta Impaired Driver Remedial Education Program course in order for their licence to be reinstated. There are three courses for the program, all of which are designed for different levels of impaired driving.

  • Crossroads: This course is designed for drivers with two IRS suspensions
  • Planning Ahead: This course is designed for first-time impaired drivers. The program has 11 locations, one of which is in Edmonton.
  • Impact: This course is designed for second or subsequent offenders who have been convicted of impaired driving. This program includes an alcohol and drug assessment as well as a pre-treatment course which aims to reduce the underlying causes of impaired driving. The program has three locations, one of which is in Edmonton.

What happens next after a person is arrested for IRS in Edmonton?

Following an arrest for a IRS charge, the police will bring you to one of the Edmonton Police Service or Edmonton RCMP stations for processing. The police may request further testing, such as a breath or blood sample, at this time. You must provide the police with these samples when requested, as it is a crime to refuse to do so. If the police press charges, your case will likely be addressed in the Edmonton Law Courts.

Unlike most offences, penalties resulting from a DUI kick in immediately upon arrest – even before a conviction has occurred. As noted above, these penalties vary depending on your number of DUI-related arrests, conviction or licence suspensions. The penalties below will apply for individuals who:

  • Receive a blood alcohol centration (BAC) reading of 0.08 or more;
  • Fail or refuse to comply with an alcohol or drug testing demand; or
  • Fail a Drug Recognition Expert evaluation

The following penalties will vary depending on how many impaired driving offences are on your record:

  • Driver’s Licence Suspension: 90 days
  • Monetary Penalty: $1,000-$2000
  • Vehicle Seizure: 30 days
  • Remedial Education: You must complete the Planning Ahead course ($364) for first-time offenders or the Impact course ($1,204) for repeat offenders to reinstate your licence.
  • Mandatory Ignition Interlock Device: Drivers will be required to register for an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they wish to drive. The device must remain in force for 1 year for first-time offenders, 3 years for second time offenders, and for life for third or subsequent offenders. Drivers with a lifetime device may apply for an exemption after 10 years. The fee schedule for the program can be found here.

Regardless of whether you are ultimately convicted of a IRS, these penalties will remain in force.

What are the penalties for those found guilty of a IRS charge in Edmonton?

The following are the mandatory minimum penalties for those convicted of a IRS charge in Canada:

First Offence Second Offence Third and Subsequent Offences
Fines BAC 80-119: $1,000

BAC 120-159: $1,500

BAC 160+: $2,000

Refusal to comply with a demand for a sample: $2000
Driving Prohibition 12 months 24 months 36 months
Jail Time 30 days 120 days
*All IRS charges carry a maximum imprisonment penalty of 24 months less a day for summary conviction and 10 years if prosecuted by indictment.

 

To learn more about the penalties of a IRS conviction, visit the Government of Canada’s Impaired Driving Laws webpage.

What are the consequences of a conviction for a drinking and driving charge in Edmonton?

The following consequences will result from a IRS conviction in Edmonton:

  • Criminal Record: You will have a permanent criminal record which will affect your employment and immigration status as well as your ability to travel.
  • Employment: In addition to the possibility of losing your job, it will be challenging to gain new employment, given that you must disclose your criminal record.
  • Immigration: You may face possible deportation.
  • Travel Restrictions: You may be unable to travel to certain countries with a criminal record.
  • Publicity: Your case and conviction may be reported publicly, affecting your personal and professional life.
  • Fines: Mandatory minimum fine of $1000-$2000
  • Possible jail time: Mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days for a second conviction and 120 days for subsequent convictions. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.
  • Probation: Even if you don’t serve jail time, you may be subject to a probationary period with certain conditions.
  • Remedial Program: You will be required to complete an Impaired Driving Course to reinstate your licence. First time offenders will need to complete the Planning Ahead course ($364), while second or subsequent offenders will need to complete the Impact course ($1,204).
  • Licence suspension: You may face additional licence suspension periods.
  • Ignition interlock device: Drivers will be required to register for a ignition interlock device on any vehicle they wish to drive. The term of the program will vary depending on how many impaired driving convictions an individual has on their record. The fee schedule for the program can be found here.

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