If you were stopped for impaired driving in Alberta since December 2020, chances are you were issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty which describes the Immediate Roadside Sanction (IRS) applicable in your case. So what does that mean and what can you do about it? You will find below a summary of the Alberta Saferoads legislation and how it can impact you.


First, you are not being charged criminally. However, the consequences of receiving an IRS Fail will undoubtedly feel like a conviction: a minimum $1000.00 fine and a license suspension for between 15 months and life. While you do not have the ability to go to trial, there is an appeal mechanism you can use to fight the IRS.

Although it is noted that you only have 7 days to appeal, Gunn Law Group has had success in its applications to file for appeals even though our clients are outside of the 7-day time period.

Do NOT pay the fine! If you pay the fine, it is treated as an acknowledgement of guilt and, believe it or not, you lose your appeal rights.

Drivers can be given both Criminal Code charges as well as the IRS. While they are considered separate legally, the outcome of one may have practical consequences for you on the other. Contact one of the lawyers at Gunn Law Group to get all the information you need quickly.

This is a brand new regime. Our law firm’s history of strong advocacy in the area of impaired driving helped us be prepared as the first waves of the new impaired driving regime hit. We guarantee that, within 24 hours of being retained, we will have your IRS Appeal filed for you. We move quickly to protect your rights.


If you wish to look at these laws in more detail, they are all available, free of charge on Below is our summary of the applicable legislation.

  1. The Traffic Safety Act

Under the Traffic Safety Act, Notices of Administrative Penalty can be issued for five different kinds of drug and alcohol-related driving infractions. The IRS you likely received was the 5th, IRS Fail.

  1. Section 88(1) – a 24-hour suspension where the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect the driver’s ability to drive has been affected by a physical or mental condition or by the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
  1. Section 88.01 – novice drivers may have their licenses suspended for 30 days, their vehicle impounded for 7 days and receive a fine if the officer had grounds to believe there was alcohol or drug in the driver’s body while driving.
  1. Section 88.02 – commercial drivers may be suspended from 3 days to 30 days and be fined if the officer has grounds to believe the driver operating the vehicle had alcohol or drugs in their body.
  1. Section 88.03 – a warning is issued if a driver provides a reading of 50 mg% and the person’s license is suspended for between 3 and 30 days, issued a fine and their vehicle is impounded for between 3 and seven days.
  1. Section 88.1(1) – IRS Fail – the officer may suspend a driver’s license for between 15 months and life, issue fines and impound the driver’s vehicle for 30 days if the officer has grounds to believe the driver operated a motor vehicle and
  1. Was impaired by alcohol or drugs or a combination of the two in their ability to operate the vehicle
  2. Within 2 hours of ceasing to drive, had a blood alcohol level at or over 80 mg%
  3. Within 2 hours of driving had a prohibited blood drug concentration
  4. Within 2 hours had a prohibited combination of blood alcohol and drug concentration
  5. Failed or refused to comply with a demand of a peace officer to provide breath, blood or participate in an evaluation to test for the presence of drugs, alcohol or both.
  1. The Provincial Administrative Penalties Act

This Act sets out some of the rules which apply to those who decide to request a review of (appeal) the Notice of Administrative Penalties. The Act also outlines the penalties attached to the various IRS offences.

  1. SafeRoads Alberta Regulation

Below are some of the more important portions of the SafeRoads Alberta Regulation:

  1. Section 2 outlines the disclosure one can expect in a review.
  2. Section 4 outlines the grounds one can raise in a review.


Gunn Law Group guarantees that we will, within 24 hours of being retained, ensure that your appeal is filed or that your application for appealing late is filed. Time is of the essence, and we move quickly on your behalf to protect your rights.

Drivers receiving an IRS Fail have seven days within which to appeal the suspension. However, there is a mechanism for appealing outside that time period. If it has been more than seven days since you received the IRS, but want information about appealing, contact Gunn Law Group to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible about your options.

Gunn Law Group’s experienced legal team are here to help with your legal needs.

(780) 488-4460