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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 12)

When everyone’s a fraudster: why ICBC would rather not pay you

ICBC fraud

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is utterly convinced that up to 20% of insurance claims contain an element of fraud or exaggeration. They actually believe that up to $600 million per year in expense is being spent on paying fraudulent claims; and partly as a result of that, ICBC spends more than $300 million per year in lawyers suing people and defending against claims when it denies coverage to people it thinks are committing fraud. When you’re spending that much money countering this boogeyman of fraud, everyone starts looking like a fraudster. It’s a bit odd, because ICBC doesn’t actually...

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Proposed legal limits for drug-using drivers likely to be challenged: criminal lawyer

The federal government released a draft of its planned legal limits for drivers under the influence of drugs, but criminal lawyer Kyla Lee has doubts about how well the legislation will hold up against constitutional challenges. “I don’t think this law as it’s currently drafted is going to look anything like what it looks like when the courts have whittled it away,” says Lee, who practises at Acumen Law Corp. in Vancouver. “There’s going to be so many challenges to this; it’s going to tie up the courts, it’s going to be expensive.” The Blood Drug Concentration Regulations, posted Oct. 14, come as...

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No choice but to drive drunk. Is that a DUI defence?

No choice but to drive drunk

Are there any circumstances where you have no choice but to drive drunk? If you ask a police officer, chances are that, at least according to them, there are no circumstances where you’d have no choice but to drive drunk. But let’s say your sober, designated driver suddenly had an acute illness – a heart attack – while driving. Even though you’re impaired, you’d be forced to take the wheel in this scenario to prevent a crash. Some scenarios are less obvious. What if, during the middle of a drinking session, a friend fell and you had no other alternative...

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Government releases legal limits for drugged driving but can’t say how much pot is too much

The federal government has released a draft of its planned drug concentration levels but admits the new rules provide no guidance on how much marijuana it would take to push a driver over the legal limit. "It should be noted that THC is a more complex molecule than alcohol and the science is unable to provide general guidance to drivers about how much cannabis can be consumed before it is unsafe to drive or before the proposed levels would be exceeded," an analysis statement released with the draft regulations said. The government also says that it cannot provide drivers any guidance as...

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Grabbing a jacket from your car outside the pub? May as well be driving

Smoking in a car

If it wasn’t clear that BC’s impaired driving laws are overly restrictive, the courts have determined that you aren’t even allowed to grab an item from a car after a few drinks. So did you arrive at the bar in the late afternoon and now it’s getting chilly after dark? Better wait until you’re sober before you grab that jacket you left in the car. Forgot the cigarettes in the cup holder, too? Well, unless you want to risk an Immediate Roadside Prohibition for impaired cigarette-grabbing, it’s probably best to leave them alone. Oh, what if you forgot your wallet...

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COPD, Asthma and the Breathalyzer: What if I can’t blow hard enough?

Asthma, COPD, and breathalyzers

One of the reasons we despise BC’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme is due to its unfairness. If you have COPD, asthma or any number of other medical conditions and can’t blow hard enough into a breathalyzer, chances are you’ll be lumped in with the drunk drivers since you “refused” to provide a breath sample. In order for an Approved Screening Device to function the airflow and volume must meet certain parameters to trigger an analysis. It can be a big amount of air for those among us who simply can’t exhale very much. To provide some context, an average person exhales...

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B.C. eyes stricter distracted driving penalties as collisions surge

The B.C. government is considering imposing stricter penalties on distracted drivers as collisions across the province continue to surge. -- Criminal defence lawyer Paul Doroshenko says increased fines, however, don't necessarily deter people from breaking the law. "The whole idea here is to deter people — we just don't want people to pick up their phones and be distracted," said Doroshenko. "The problem that I see is that we never see the follow-through on enforcement." Doroshenko says increased penalties don't necessarily deter drivers from using their phones behind the wheel. "People don't think about the morality of the crime, they think about their self-interest. And...

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Man in viral Abbotsford racist rant video pleads guilty to assault

Almost a year after appearing in a racially-charged video and being criminally charged, a man has pleaded guilty to assault. Karry Corbett was captured on camera by an Abbotsford lawyer last October after getting into an argument with a parking enforcement officer. Lawyer Ravi Duhra said he began filming when he became concerned about Cobertt’s behaviour towards the officer, but that’s when Cobertt’s attention turned to Duhra. In the video, Corbett is filmed throwing a litany of racist slurs at Duhra, calling him a “P*ki” and a “camel-riding motherf*****.” He goes back to his truck and yells, “White power motherf*****” while beating on his...

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‘The science isn’t there’: critics worry pot legislation could face constitutional challenges

With just over nine months to prepare for the impending legalization of marijuana across Canada, politicians and law enforcement still have concerns about proposed legislation, especially regarding impaired driving. The federal government tabled two pieces of marijuana legislation in April; one to regulate recreational use, sales and cultivation, the second to address impaired driving. But critics are concerned the law will face constitutional challenges. "The science isn't there to indicate when impairment occurs," Kyla Lee, a Vancouver-based criminal lawyer told Gloria Macarenko, host of B.C. Almanac. Currently, the only roadside test for marijuana impairment is physical assessment by an officer, such as testing...

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How residual mouth alcohol ruins breathalyzer results

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The topic of residual mouth alcohol is a common one in any discussion about drinking driving laws. In this context, when someone refers to mouth alcohol, they are typically referencing the presence of alcohol in the mouth when someone is asked to provide a breath sample. Why is this important? A breathalyzer’s role is to assess the amount of breath alcohol present in a person’s lungs, and to use that analysis to determine what the person’s blood alcohol content would be had the person’s blood been tested. Since the test is essentially detecting alcohol vapours, a single drop of residual mouth...

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