1. Can I get my licence back before the first court date?
Your license is suspended before trial pursuant to the Alberta Administrative License Suspension (AALS) Program. It is possible to appeal your license suspension under the AALS prior to going to trial, but it is unlikely that you will be able to complete the appeal process prior to your first court date. Your first court date will like be within one month of the date you were charged and your license was suspended. You have 30 days from the offence date to submit an Application for Hearing to the Alberta Transportation Safety Board to appeal your AALS suspension, and the Board in turn has time to respond to your application. You have the choice to have your appeal heard orally, or to present written submissions, and the wait times are different depending on the type of appeal you choose. Regardless of the type of appeal, it is very unlikely that the process will be complete, and the Board will have a decision, prior to your first court date.
2. Can I get my licence back before trial?
Your license is suspended before trial pursuant to the Alberta Administrative License Suspension (AALS) Program. It is possible to appeal your license suspension under the AALS prior to going to trial. To appeal your license suspension, you must purchase an Application for Hearing form from an Alberta Registry. An application for an oral hearing costs $250, and an application for a written hearing costs $125. The completed application form must be received by the Alberta Transportation Safety Board within 30 days of the suspension being issued.
A successful appeal must demonstrate, on the civil balance of probabilities standard, that you did not commit the impaired driving offence for which you have been charged. The Alberta Transportation Board will not consider hardship in determining whether to cancel the suspension of your license on appeal – it is not sufficient to demonstrate the negative impact the license suspension will have on your life while awaiting trial. The outcome of your appeal, whether successful or unsuccessful, will not affect the disposition of your criminal charges.
3. How quickly can I get my licence back if I plead guilty or am found guilty?
If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, you will be subject to a one-year license disqualification under the Criminal Code. This disqualification is a mandatory minimum sentence legislated by Parliament, and cannot be avoided upon conviction. After three months, however, you may be entitled to get your license back if you are accepted into the Ignition Interlock Program. This program requires you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which tests the blood alcohol concentration via your breath prior to driving. The program costs are set out on the Alberta Transportation website below:
It is important to note that regardless of whether you apply for entry into the program prior to your eligibility after three months, you are required to complete the Interlock program prior to having your full license reinstated.
4. Do I get credit for the time I spend on suspension awaiting trial?
You cannot get credit for the time you spend on suspension while awaiting trial. While you are awaiting trial, your license is suspended pursuant to the Alberta Administrative License Suspension (AALS) Program. If you are convicted at trial, the AALS suspension comes to an end because you have dealt with your criminal charges. The Criminal Code driving disqualification is a separate prohibition that does not come into effect until you are found guilty of, or plead guilty to, the impaired driving charges you face. This means that regardless of how long your license was suspended under the AALS awaiting trial, this time cannot be credited towards the Criminal Code driving disqualification to which you will be subjected if you are convicted.
5. How soon can I get my licence back if I win my DUI?
If your impaired driving charges have been withdrawn, or if you have been acquitted at trial, your driving disqualification under the Alberta Administrative License Suspension will come to an end. This does not mean that you are eligible to drive once you win your DUI. In order to have your license reinstated, you will have to attend an Alberta Registry office and pay a $22.00+gst replacement license fee. If your license expired during the suspension, you will also have to renew your license and pay the associated fees.
You should be able to get your license reinstated fairly shortly after your final court appearance; however, you can expect a brief delay while the court processes the outcome provides the updated information to the Registry. You should be able to attend the Registry 24-48 hours following winning your DUI to have your license reinstated.