Alberta Administrative Licences Suspension (AALS) How it Works
Alberta Administrative Licences Suspension (AALS) How it Works
Your Alberta Administrative Licences Suspension (AALS) – How it Works
If you were arrested and charged with impaired driving, driving with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit, or refusal to provide a breath sample, you were likely served with a document called “Notice of Suspension/Disqualification.”
This document is given to you to inform you that, unfortunately, you are suspended from driving in Alberta. This suspension is called the Alberta Administrative License Suspension, or AALS.
The AALS suspension lasts for a total of 15 months, and is divided into 2 parts:
Part 1 – for the first 90 days of this suspension, you are not allowed to drive a motor vehicle under any circumstances.
Part 2 – for the next 12 months of the suspension, and until the suspension ends, you are only allowed to drive if your vehicle is equipped with the Ignition Interlock Device (commonly called the “Blow Box”). You can apply for the Ignition Interlock device at any Registry office in Alberta. In order to apply, you will need some form of ID, and a copy of your “Notice of Suspension/Disqualification.” It takes approximately 30 days to process an Ignition Interlock application at the Registries. The earliest you can apply for the Ignition Interlock device is 60 days into your AALS suspension. If you apply on day 60, then the Ignition Interlock application should be completed by day 90.
The AALS suspension is an Alberta-wide suspension. However this does not mean that you can drive in all other provinces and territories. Some provinces and territories have laws that automatically suspend you from driving if your driver’s license is suspended in another province or territory. If you have questions about whether you can drive in another province or territory, contact one of the criminal lawyers at Gunn Law Group before you drive in another province. It would also be helpful to contact a criminal lawyer in the province that you want to drive in, to see if there are restrictions to driving in that province if you received the AALS suspension in Alberta. In every province and territory in Canada, you require a valid driver’s license in order to drive.
It is important to know that the AALS suspension exists regardless of what happens to your charges in criminal court. Even if you are found not guilty in criminal court, the AALS suspension will still exist until it is served in full. The only way to avoid serving the AALS suspension in full is to successfully appeal your AALS suspension at the Alberta Transportation Safety Board (ATSB). The good news is that the criminal lawyers at Gunn Law Group would be happy to represent you and provide you with the assistance you need at an AALS appeal.
Your AALS Suspension – How to Appeal
Appealing your AALS suspension is very time sensitive. You have 30 days from the day your suspension began to appeal your AALS suspension to the ATSB.
In order to appeal your AALS suspension, you will need to purchase an “Application for Hearing” form at any Registry office in Alberta. In order to get this form, you will need a copy of your “Notice of Suspension,” and a piece of ID.
There are two different “Application for Hearing” forms that you can purchase: one is for an in-person appeal, and costs approximately $250. The other is for a written appeal, and costs approximately $125. If you choose to retain a criminal lawyer at Gunn Law Group, it is preferred that you purchase the in-person appeal form rather than the written appeal form. Please contact Gunn Law Group and we can provide you with further information and advice about what form you should purchase and why.
In order to appeal your AALS suspension you will need to fill out the “Application for Hearing” form and file it at any Registry office in Alberta, along with a copy of your Notice of Suspension. If you choose to retain a criminal lawyer at Gunn Law Group, please leave the “grounds of appeal” portion of the form blank for now. The criminal lawyers at Gunn Law Group would be happy to help you fill out the “Application for Hearing” form and file it for you.
Your AALS Suspension – Preparing for your AALS Appeal
If you have retained one of the criminal lawyers at Gunn Law Group, your lawyer will request and receive disclosure from the Alberta Transportation Safety Board. Disclosure is the Registrar’s case against you, and your lawyer will receive this well before your appeal hearing date. Disclosure will often include the report and notes of police officers, any statements made by witnesses, information about your blood alcohol content on the date you were charged, and sometimes video footage from the police car or police station. Disclosure will include all the relevant evidence that the Registrar of Motor Vehicles will use to attempt to explain why your AALS suspension should stay in effect.
Your lawyer will meet with you, over the phone or in person, and review this disclosure with you. Your lawyer will provide you with detailed legal advice and explain to you what defences, if any, you have and how strong they are. Your lawyer will also provide you with advice about whether it is worthwhile to appeal your AALS suspension. The criminal lawyers at Gunn Law Group will answer any questions you may have about your disclosure or your appeal so that you can make an informed decision about how you wish to proceed.
If you decide to appeal your AALS suspension, your lawyer will also provide you with advice about whether it is in your best interest to testify at your AALS appeal hearing. If you decide to testify at your hearing, your lawyer can provide you with some information to help you understand how testifying works and what to expect. Your lawyer cannot tell you what to say when you give testimony.
For an in-person AALS appeal, your grounds of appeal (the reasons why your appeal should be granted) are due five business days before your AALS appeal hearing. If you have retained a lawyer for your AALS appeal, your lawyer will file these grounds of appeal for you.
Your AALS Suspension – What to Expect at an In-Person AALS Appeal
If you were charged north of Red Deer, your AALS appeal will be heard at the offices of the Alberta Transportation Safety Board in Edmonton at the Twin Atria Building. The address is 4999-98 Avenue NW. If you were charged in Red Deer or further south, your AALS appeal will be heard at the ATSB offices in Calgary. The address is Suite 302 Willow Park Centre, 10325 Bonaventure Drive SE.
When you enter the room where your appeal will be heard, you will notice three tables that are in the room, as well as a long desk where the Transportation Safety Board members sit.
At the long desk, there will be three Transportation Safety Board members. These three Board members will decide whether your appeal is successful or if it is denied. The Board Secretary will also be seated at this long desk. The Board Secretary’s job is to make sure the AALS appeal hearing is running smoothly.
In front of the desk where the Board members sit are three tables. The front table on the right hand side is where you and your lawyer will sit for the appeal hearing.
The front table on the left hand side is reserved for the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The Registrar will be opposing our appeal and will be arguing that your AALS suspension should stay in effect. It is very likely that the Registrar will not send anybody to your AALS appeal, and this table will be empty. The Registrar almost always provides their arguments in writing 2 business days before the appeal hearing.
The third table is for independent counsel for the Board. These lawyers are responsible for assisting the Board if they have legal questions, and providing the Board with any legal information and advice they require to make their decision.
There is also a small desk in the room where any witnesses will sit while they are giving testimony. If you decide to testify at your AALS appeal hearing, you will sit at this desk while you are giving testimony.
If you are self-represented, you will get an opportunity to make submissions and explain to the Board why your appeal should be granted and your suspension should be lifted. If you have retained a lawyer, your lawyer will make these submissions on your behalf. Your lawyer’s arguments will be based on the disclosure that was provided and any testimony that you or another witness provided at the hearing. Once your lawyer has finished making submissions, your lawyer will answer any questions that the Board members have to the very best of their ability.
After the hearing ends, it is very likely that the Board will need some time to make their decision. This means that you will not know right away whether your AALS appeal was allowed or denied. The Board often requires a few days to make their decision.
Your lawyer will let you know as soon as they become aware of the Board’s decision. If your AALS appeal is successful, you will be able to purchase a new copy of your Alberta driver’s license at any Registry office in Alberta. Do not drive until your driver’s license is physically back in your possession. If your AALS appeal is successful, the ATSB will also refund the cost of the “Application for Hearing” form (approximately $250 for an in-person appeal).This money will not be refunded to you if you have any traffic tickets still outstanding. Instead, the money will be automatically applied to the fines for any outstanding traffic tickets.
COVID-19 and your AALS Appeal
Currently, the Alberta Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) are still hearing AALS appeals during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, all in-person appeals are being heard either by videoconference or by teleconference.
If you wish to testify at your AALS appeal, the appeal must proceed by videoconference. Videoconference appeals are currently held through the program “Zoom.” The ATSB will require your email address in order to connect you to the videoconference.
If you wish to proceed by teleconference, the ATSB will require your telephone number to connect you to the teleconference.