Alberta NEW Rules for Impaired

 

 

Zero tolerance program

Drivers under the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program found to have any amount of cannabis or illegal drugs in their blood are now subject to the same provincial sanctions that apply to alcohol, including:

  • immediate 30-day licence suspension

  • immediate 7-day vehicle seizure

  • must remain in GDL program for 2 years and have no suspensions in the last year to graduate from the program

GDL drivers who meet the requirements for criminal level impaired driving will be subject to any and all provincial sanctions and criminal penalties that apply.

Licence suspension program

All drivers who are reasonably believed to be criminally impaired, who fail or refuse to provide a fluid sample, or are found to be over the legal limits for alcohol, cannabis or cannabis/alcohol combination, will be subject to the following sanctions:

  • immediate 90-day licence suspension

  • immediate 3-day vehicle seizure (7 day for a second and subsequent occurrence)

  • one-year participation in a provincial ignition interlock program

Drivers who do not participate in the ignition interlock program will remain suspended for the year.

These sanctions are in addition to criminal charges and any and all penalties imposed by the court. There are no changes to the post-conviction requirements.

Blood-drug concentration limits

Alberta's alcohol- and drug-impaired driving offences and sanctions have been updated to align with new federal drug laws, which came into effect on June 21, 2018.

Changes include:

  • new drug-impaired driving offences with specified blood-drug concentration (BDC) limits for several illicit drugs and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main mind-altering ingredient found in cannabis

  • updated criminal penalties for impaired driving

Drug-impaired driving has been a criminal offence for decades. What's new are the blood-drug concentration limits for cannabis and cannabis/alcohol combination.

These limits are similar to the existing .08 percent blood alcohol concentration for criminal-level alcohol-impaired driving. If you are found driving over the criminal limits, you are considered impaired behind the wheel.

Table 1: New blood-drug concentration limits

Blood concentration level Federal criminal penalty *

2 nanograms (ng) per millilitre (ml)
but less than 5 ng/ml THC Maximum $1,000 fine (summary conviction)

5 ng/ml or more THC **

OR

2.5 ng/ml or more THC combined
with 50 mg/100ml or more alcohol

1st offence: Minimum $1,000 fine

2nd offence: Mandatory 30 days imprisonment

3rd offence: Mandatory 120 days imprisonment

* Penalties are more serious for drivers who have high levels of impairment or who injure or kill others while driving impaired, and those who are repeat offenders.

** This section also includes penalties for exceeding any blood drug concentration as established in federal regulations. THC is the only drug with established time limits at this time. Limits for illegal drugs may follow.

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