Roadside Suspensions Updates In Manitoba

In 2018, the Government of Manitoba introduced legislation to impose immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) on impaired drivers. In December 2019, these roadside suspension rules came into force. Since then, the Government of Manitoba has also introduced legislation to address cases where immediate roadside prohibition (IRP) was difficult or impossible.

Below, we’ll cover the various types of immediate roadside suspension, then briefly discuss the legal implications of IRP:  

24-hour Roadside Prohibitions

In most cases, roadside prohibitions are the result of failing a breathalyzer test—these tests are administered using an approved screening device (ASD). One of the problems with breathalyzer tests is that they can only detect alcohol; as such, they cannot be used to detect drug use.

When law enforcement agents believe that a person is impaired with a drug other than alcohol, they can issue an immediate 24-hour roadside suspension. These suspensions are usually followed up with further drug testing, which can lead to criminal charges. 

Penalties for Registering “Warn”

The biggest update in the world of roadside suspensions are the penalties for registering “warn” on an ASD. This occurs when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is between .05 and .079.

Registering a warn or a BAC of .05-.79 leads to a Tiered Administrative Licence Suspension. Your licence will be suspended immediately for a period of time ranging from 3 days to 60 days, depending on how many tiered suspensions you’ve received within a 10-year period. The tiers work as follows:

  • 3 days for your first incident within 10 years. The driver’s licence suspension will be 7 days if there is a passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
  • 15 days for your second incident within 10 years
  • 30 days for your third incident within 10 years
  • 60 days for four or more incidents within 10 years

We’ll talk more about the actions you can take in response to tiered suspensions at the end of this article. 

Penalties for Registering “Fail”

The penalties for registering “fail” (BAC of .08 or higher) are steep—they include an immediate 3-month suspension and possible criminal consequences. These penalties can also be imposed if a driver refuses to take a roadside test. You’ll also face vehicle impoundment, mandatory ignition interlock, and other potential consequences.  


Penalties for blowing a “warn” cannot be handled in criminal court, as they aren’t criminal charges. Many lawyers are worried about the potential overreach here—drivers are being penalized by law enforcement agencies, but there is very little legal recourse. While drivers can reach out to the Licence Suspension Appeal Board (LSAB), the process can take weeks or even months—very rarely worth it for tiered licenced suspensions.

Should you be hit with criminal charges as a result of a roadside test, our criminal lawyers in Winnipeg can help. There are several flaws with roadside testing—results can be inaccurate, and there are many defences against impaired driving charges.