As of April 9th, 2018 new changes to Alberta's Impaired Driving Law have taken effect.
The old legislation gave RCMP officers the power to administer tickets for drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Under the new changes, an officer can immediately issue a 90-day license suspension. Previous to this law the permanent suspension of someone's license could be implemented, however, it was found to be unconstitutional by the Alberta Court of Appeals.
Shawn Kraft a lawyer at Warnock, Kraft, Anderson says the biggest change is the decriminalization of being found under the influence. However, even with the decriminalization, those who endanger the lives of others can still be held responsible.
"If someone is driving impaired but are in a motor vehicle collision then criminal charges likely will apply in that situation."
The new impaired driving laws give police more roadside power, this means if the officer believes you're impaired or you refuse to provide a breath or fluid sample, you're subject to an immediate 90-day license suspension, immediate three-day vehicle seizure and mandatory education as well as a one-year participation in the driver interlock program.
Kraft says this raises some concern among lawyers.
"Now police are given the ability to convict someone on the roadside which they couldn't do before necessarily, you're essentially being sentenced right there on the side of the road, in a sense the police are now given the power to become the judge, jury and executioner in this type of offence."
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