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Traffic Offences

The traffic laws in Alberta require any person involved in an accident to remain at or immediately return to the scene of an accident. Also, persons involved must provide the other driver(s) with necessary information required for insurance and identification purposes. You are required to provide your name, address, driver’s licence number, your vehicles insurer, the policy number, the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle, and the permit number. If you fail to comply with any of these requirements, you may be guilty of “fail to remain”. Due to the severity of this offence, you could be facing some very harsh penalties. Penalties upon conviction for Fail to Remain can be:

  • 7 demerit points
  • $200.00 - $2,000.00 fine
  • A possible suspension of your driver's licence for a period of up to 2 years
  • A possible term of imprisonment for up to 6 months

Careless Driving is a charge that is laid sometimes when someone has been involved in a collision. It is a very broad charge that covers many different situations. A brief description of the charge is driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention or without a reasonable consideration for other users of the highway. As the description of this offence is so broad, it is left up to interpretation of the court. Retaining legal representation for a careless driving charge is paramount as the penalties for this offence are very severe. The penalties for a careless driving conviction are as follows:

  • 6 Demerit Points
  • Fine of no less than $400 and no more than $2000
  • A possible suspension of your driver's licence for a period of no more than 2 years
  • A possible term of imprisonment for up to 6 months

Racing/Stunt Driving, such as “squealing” your tires or trying to make an extremely dangerous manoeuver. Once you have been charged with Stunt Driving you will immediately be issued a 7-day roadside suspension of your driver’s licence. Your vehicle will also be impounded for seven days, at your own expense. Upon Conviction of Racing/Stunt Driving the penalties are:

  • 6 demerit points
  • Fine of up to $2,000.00
  • A possible suspension of your driver's licence for a period of up to 6 months
  • A possible term of imprisonment for up to 6 months

Speeding. The penalties for speeding are based on how many kilometers over the speed limit you were allegedly traveling:

  • 0-15km over: 0 demerit points
  • 16-29km over: 3 demerit points
  • 30-49km over: 4 demerit points
  • 50+ km over: 6 demerit points, suspension of your driver’s license. (**Note, if you are traveling at a rate of speed of 50 or more kilometers over the limit you can also be charged for stunt driving/racing/excessive speed under section 172 of the Highway Traffic Act**)
  • No demerit points are attached to violations captured by photo radar, mainly because it is impossible to prove who the driver was at the time the photo was taken, without further investigation
  • Fine of up to $351

Stop Sign Violation is when you have failed to come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign or red light. Whether or not the way is clear to proceed, if you do not come to a full and complete stop you are committing a traffic violation. Penalties for this offence will affect your driving record for 3 years and could raise your insurance premiums. Penalties:

  • 3 demerit points
  • Fine of $287
  • A conviction on your driving record for three years

Seatbelt infractions include the driver or passenger of a motor vehicle not wearing, or not properly wearing their seatbelt, driver not ensuring that passengers under the age of 16 are wearing their seatbelt, not occupying a position with a seatbelt, not ensuring that a child passenger or toddler is properly secured, driving a vehicle with the seatbelt removed or inoperative.

Turn violations include:

  • Not signalling
  • Improper left or right turns
  • Unsafe turns
  • Failing to avoid a collision, etc.

Drive No Licence is one that applies to anyone driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s licence. Even if you have been issued a driver’s licence and it expires and you do not renew it, you are still guilty of this offence. This offence will stay on your driving record for 3 years and could significantly affect your insurance premiums. Upon conviction of “drive no licence” the penalties are:

  • $325.00 Fine
  • A conviction on your driving record for 3 years

Driving with a Suspended Licence is a very serious offence which carries an automatic six-month suspension of your driver’s licence. Your license could be suspended for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Unpaid fines
  • Medical reasons
  • Alcohol related offences
  • Demerit points

   If this is the first time you have been charged with Drive under Suspension, you are facing the following penalties:

  • A fine of not more than $2000
  • A mandatory 6-month suspension of your driver’s license
  • A possible term of imprisonment of not more than 6 months

      For a second offence:

  • Same as the above plus jail time for 14 days to 6 months

Driving without Insurance means that no owner of a motor vehicle shall operate or permit their vehicle to be operated without valid insurance. Although monthly insurance payments may seem costly, the monetary penalties associated with committing the offence of driving without insurance are extremely high. Driving without insurance is a very serious offence that carries very harsh penalties upon conviction. If you are found guilty of driving without insurance the penalties are:

  • Minimum fine of $2,875 and up to a maximum of $10,000
  • You could also be facing a suspension of your driver’s licence for up to one year
  • Failure to pay the fine carries a minimum sentence of 45 days and up to 6 months

For a second offence (within 5 years of the first/previous offence):

  • Minimum fine of $5,000 and up to $20,000
  • Failure to pay the fine results in a minimum jail sentence of 60 days and up to 6 months

Criminal Offences

Impaired Driving/Driving with blood alcohol over .08  is operating a motor vehicle while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Having one too many drinks and then operating a motor vehicle can bring devastating consequences – aside from the sometimes fatal threat to other users of the roads, you could lose your job, be denied entry into certain countries, be labelled a "high-risk" driver and pay exorbitant or unaffordable insurance rates and even have your insurance company cancel your policy.

When a driver is charged with driving under the influence the driver’s licence is automatically suspended and the vehicle is seized for 3 days at their expense.

Once a conviction is entered (guilty plea / guilty finding at trial), the penalties for a first offence are:

  • Driving prohibition for one year
  • A fine of no less than $1000
  • Installation, at your cost, of an Ignition Interlock system (an alcohol screening device) in your vehicle for one year

      The minimum penalty for a second offence is:

  • Driver's Licence Suspension for at least 2 years
  • Mandatory jail term of 30 days
  • Installation, at your cost, of an Ignition Interlock system (an alcohol screening device) in your car for three years

Refusing to Provide a Breath or Blood Sample is not complying with a police officers demand for a blood sample or breath test. Failure to do so will result in a criminal charge(s). This charge is a direct result of refusing to provide a breath or blood sample at either:

  • Roadside (Screening Device)
  • Police station (Breathalyzer/Intoxylizer 5000C)
  • A mobile police station
  • The hospital

If convicted, the penalties are exactly the same as a conviction for impaired driving. The minimum penalty for a first offence is:

  • Driving prohibition for one year
  • A fine of no less than $1000
  • Installation, at your cost, of an Ignition Interlock system (an alcohol screening device) in your vehicle for one year

      The minimum penalty in Alberta for a second offence is:

  • Driver's Licence Suspension for 2 years
  • Mandatory jail term of 30 days
  • Installation, at your cost, of an Ignition Interlock system (an alcohol screening device) in your car for three years

Dangerous Driving is driving a motor vehicle at speeds exceeding 80 km/h over the posted speed limit or in a fashion that is considered dangerous. A conviction for Dangerous Driving will result in similar penalties to that of an impaired driving conviction. The penalties include:

  • Criminal record
  • Minimum fine of $1000.00
  • Automatic suspension of your licence for a minimum of one-year
  • Prison sentence of up to 6 months (summary conviction) or up to 5 years (indictable conviction)

      The Criminal Code offence of Dangerous Driving is made out when:

  • The accused drives a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public;
  • Having regard to all the circumstances;
  • Including the nature, condition and;
  • Use of the place where the driving occurs and the amount of traffic there at the time or that might reasonably be expected to be there.

Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm is when a person has sustained injuries as a result of Dangerous Driving. It is an indictable offence. A conviction for Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm will result in similar penalties to that of an impaired driving conviction. The penalties include:

  • Criminal record
  • Minimum fine of $1000.00
  • Automatic suspension of your licence for a minimum of one-year.
  • Imprisonment for up to 10 years

      The Criminal Code offence of Dangerous Driving is made out when:

  • The accused drives a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public;
  • Having regard to all the circumstances;
  • Including the nature, condition and;
  • Use of the place where the driving occurs and the amount of traffic there at the time or that might reasonably be expected.

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