FAQ: Alberta Bill 26 Frequently Asked Questions

With the passing of Bill 26, the legal framework for drinking and driving law in Alberta has changed. Many people may have questions about how the changes may affect their choices.

With the new emphasis on .05 blood alcohol content, is it still okay to have a glass of wine with dinner or a social drink after work?

That decision is up to you. Remember that every person’s metabolism is different, a 180 lb male may be able to consume two drinks (e.g. 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor) in the first hour, and one every subsequent hour and stay below the .05 BAC limit. A woman who weighs 120 lbs will, on the same basis, only be able to consume one drink in the first hour, and less than one in each subsequent hour.

A good guideline is to stop after one or two drinks and wait between 30 minutes to an hour before driving.

How much are towing and impound fees?
Depending on your location, a standard sedan costs $116 per tow, plus $2 per additional kilometre past 10 km. Prices go up for larger vehicles, up to $153 per tow. Impounded vehicles are also subject to storage fees.

What is mouth alcohol?
Even if you are below .05 BAC, you may register a higher BAC on a breathalyzer test if you have recently:

  • Consumed a drink (within the last 15 minutes),
  • Burped or regurgitated (GERD),
  • Vomited, or
  • Used mouthwash.

The reason is that these activities cause alcohol to be present in higher volume in the mouth than in the blood, potentially leading to an inaccurate breathalyzer result. Generally, breathalyzer machines will detect this inaccuracy and read mouth alcohol as an “invalid sample.”

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What is an ignition interlock device and why is it used?

An ignition interlock device is an instrument that reads a driver’s blood alcohol content and restricts or allows automobile ignition based on the results. If you are charged with drinking and driving, you may opt to have a device installed in order to gain conditional driving privileges. It is a mandatory part of many sentences.

How is the mandatory ignition interlock program applied in Alberta?

Drivers who are convicted of impaired driving over .08 blood alcohol content under Bill 26 are required to submit to the mandatory ignition interlock program for a minimum of one year or longer depending on whether it’s a first or repeat offence.

More questions on Alberta’s Bill 26?
Call Ryan Claxton at 1-587-315-0447 if you need legal advice about a drinking and driving charge.

Calgary Criminal Lawyers