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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog

Stupid statements made at the roadside: are they considered evidence of drunk driving?

stupid statements made at the roadside

So you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. In your haste, you make a few stupid statements to the officer at the roadside and now the officer is alleging you have driven after consuming too much alcohol. If the case goes to court, can those stupid statements be used to incriminate you? Often, those statements may be found inadmissible in court. Whether these statements can be used depends on a few factors. In one case, a driver was charged with impaired driving and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08. One of the issues raised on appeal had to...

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What does Stroh Health Care do with BC drivers’ personal information?

Stroh Health Care

It’s been more than 10 years since BC Government first contracted Stroh Health Care to operate the province’s Responsible Driver Program. This $930 per-head program is a mandatory course for anyone who receives a driving prohibition after blowing a “FAIL” result on a breathalyzer, or two “WARN” results. Stroh Health Care has had tens of thousands of BC drivers take its course since 2005. As a result, these guys go through a lot of personal information from BC drivers. For one, all of their staff who deal with RDP program participants will likely know the names of these drivers, know that they had been...

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24-hour driving prohibitions for alcohol vs. 24-hour driving prohibitions for drugs

24-hour driving prohibitions

The Motor Vehicle Act permits a police officer to issue a driver a 24-hour driving prohibition for alcohol or a 24-hour prohibition for drugs. In both cases the time period is the same which suggests that these are similar driving prohibitions. But when it comes to alcohol vs. drugs, the law is very different. In fact, when it comes to 24-hour driving prohibitions, the procedure, evidence and review are almost incomparable. The BC Motor Vehicle Act clearly sets out two different subsections to address drug-impaired and alcohol-impaired driving. These two subsections have fundamental differences. If you are issued a 24-hour driving...

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When are you considered medically unfit to drive?

Medically Unfit to Drive

We talk a lot about driving prohibitions for traffic tickets or for drunk driving here in BC. But there’s another area not often discussed by BC’s driving community, and that’s a driving prohibition due to being medically unfit to drive. Generally, this means that RoadSafetyBC has determined that due to a driver’s health condition, they are no longer permitted to get behind a steering wheel. Under the powers of the Motor Vehicle Act, RoadSafetyBC can prohibit a person from driving if it considers doing so may be in the public interest, a term the courts have generally determined to mean public...

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Lawyers acting in the interest of justice

Homeless in tent city

Those unfamiliar with the work of lawyers sometimes believe that only people who have lots of money can afford to hire lawyers. This cannot be further from the truth. At Acumen Law we believe in keeping costs low for our clients while maximizing the amount we achieve. We are lawyers because we believe in the interest of justice. We believe that everyone who finds themselves face-to-face with the judicial system should have their best interests represented. This means that we sometimes take on pro-bono cases if it's in the interest of justice and for a larger cause. Recently, Acumen lawyer Stephanie Skinner...

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Driving prohibitions incoming from 2017 traffic enforcement blitzes

Notice of Intent to Prohibit

We’ve recently received word that many driving prohibitions are now being issued as a result of high-intensity traffic enforcement blitzes by police earlier this year. Police have been busy. Just in Burnaby alone, an enforcement blitz in March resulted in 764 distracted-driving tickets. That same month, on a single day, Victoria police conducted a blitz that resulted in “at least 100 tickets” for cellphone related offences. And over the May long weekend, a BC wide enforcement blitz was conducted. It traditionally results in more than 1,000 speeding tickets issued over a few days. Many drivers caught at the time paid these...

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When can police arrest me for being drunk in public?

Drunk in public

It’s the early hours of Saturday morning in downtown Vancouver. Even the stragglers are starting to head home after a night of drinking. They pour out of bars and nightclubs in a tapering trickle, like the last drops in a good bottle of scotch. Some hail taxis, hop on a bus or head down the steps into a SkyTrain station. Others walk home. Here’s where the issue begins. Many of those heading home will be in varying states of inebriation. Perhaps enough so to be considered drunk in public, or intoxicated in a public place, as it’s called by the...

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The many problems of roadside drug screening

roadside drug screening

Earlier this year, the Federal Government invited 24 police officers across Canada to test a pair of devices that claim to screen drug-impaired drivers. The roadside drug screening evaluations were conducted between December 18, 2016 and March 6, 2017 and included several officers from the Vancouver Police Department. Two devices were selected for the pilot test: the Securetec DrugRead and the Alere DDS-2. Both of these devices had been previously tested for reliability with positive results. As a result, Public Safety Canada determined both the devices were reliable and set about using them on the road.[pullquote]Positive readings were more likely to...

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IRP adjudicator neglected to consider important evidence

Failure to consider important evidence?

This week we had another significant decision from the BC Supreme Court concerning how Immediate Roadside Prohibition adjudicators are to assess evidence. In this case, the court determined an IRP adjudicator neglected to consider important evidence in rendering her decision.  The evidence that the adjudicator failed to address in her reasons was a significant piece of evidence that called into question a police officer’s credibility. The adjudicator has been ordered to conduct another review. The case was appealed to BC Supreme Court by Kyla Lee. It involved a client who applied for a review after receiving a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition....

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Unprepared IRP adjudicators could hurt drivers

Unprepared IRP adjudicators

A recent case argued in the BC Supreme Court by our own Kyla Lee affirms what we have said all along: Immediate Roadside Prohibition adjudicators may not be sufficiently prepared in the areas of law they preside over. In this case, the court identified an adjudicator's lack of understanding of the law that could have resulting in serious consequences to our client. In our view, the adjudicator’s understanding of the law was sufficiently flawed that the judge directed the adjudicator to review case law on the issue. Who or what is an IRP adjudicator? An IRP adjudicator is a person delegated by the Superintendent of...

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