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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 56)

Booze and Privatization

In the 2012 budget announcement Finance Minister Kevin Falcon indicated that the Government would privatize the liquor distribution warehouses in BC. The Government can thereby receive a one-time windfall in the sale of these assets and it no longer needs to manage the distribution of liquor to stores in BC. Whether you agree with this is largely an issue of ideology. It appears the process may be tainted by virtue of the involvement of lobbyists who donated money toward the Premier's campaign to lead the BCLiberal Party. You can read about that here. We suspect that this is the first step to...

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Kill the Breathalyzer

Kill the breathalyzer in BC

The Alco-Sensor IV, which is the roadside breathalyzer that we use in BC, is a sturdy, nicely-designed device that is well suited for its purpose, i.e. to screen drivers to determine who should be subject to breath tests on an evidentiary breath tester. One of the reasons that they should never be used to justify punishing people is that they tend to get dropped regularly. The usual mistake is to leave it on the roof or trunk lid of a police cruiser. When the officer hears it tumble off the car, there is a quick stop to retrieve the device. If...

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You Should Now Have Your License Back

If you received a 90-day IRP for blowing Fail, then there is no reason for you not to have your license back pending the outcome of the lead case that is still before the Court. The BC Government is planning to introduce legislation soon to address the Court decision that ruled that the IRP scheme violates the Charter of Rights. We should see what they have up their sleeve in the next few weeks. But as it stands, the entire case appears headed to the Court of Appeal so it may take months for this to be sorted out. In the meantime,...

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A Simple Plan

A simple plan but not a good plan

It started off with a simple plan -- take minor drunk driving cases out of court and instead rehabilitate the offenders. This makes sense. As we have discussed, for most non-violent crimes, community based measures, such as diversion to Alternative Measures, are very effective in deterring people from offending again. With respect to impaired driving there may be an alcohol problem that needs to be addressed, but rarely is a criminal conviction the best way to ensure that the person does not repeat the behaviour. This was the core idea that was the seed of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme. The focus...

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Any Suggestions?

Any suggestions for a drinking solution

Imagine for a moment that you are the provincial government. You have a serious problem that you must address: a significant number of people continue to drive while intoxicated. How do you deal with it? What's your drinking solution? In addition you have a number of confounding and frustrating impediments. The federal government is responsible for determining what is a criminal offence and writing the criminal law. But you, as the provincial government, must pay for the investigation, the prosecution and the courts. And it seems no matter how much effort you put into dealing with the problem, drinking and driving persists...

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Non-Violent Crime

Non-violent crime - Should you get a criminal record?

As criminal lawyers we deal with a variety of criminal offences. Some of our clients are charged with violent offences, like assault. Many of our clients, however, are charged with a non-violent crime such as theft, break and enter, mischief and lying to ICBC. This is not surprising, considering 79% of crimes in 2010 were non-violent.  Almost 60% of non-violent offences were either theft under $5000, break and enter, or mischief. The vast majority (over 98%) of our clients charged with a non-violent crime avoid a criminal record. We are often successful in having these charges resolved quietly in one way...

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Police Powers

BC Police powers are expanding

The police want powers. They want the power to choose whether a person is charged and what the charges should be. They want the authority to get access to your internet usage on demand without first getting a warrant. They want to use the photos in ICBC's database to try and match up names to faces from the Vancouver riot without first obtaining a warrant. They want the power to issue you a lengthy Immediate Roadside Prohibition that starts long before you get a hearing. We previously discussed the issue of police bungling. Simply put, the police make plenty of mistakes,...

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The Application of the Charter to ADP and IRP Hearings

Does the Charter apply at IRP hearings?

Over the last six months we developed a unique argument that will likely change the rules concerning ADP and IRP hearings conducted at the OSMV tribunal. This argument was used as part of one of our IRP appeals. Lawyers for the government considered our written argument and chose not to oppose us concerning this argument on an IRP Supreme Court review. Rather than take the case to court (and perhaps risk a decision that would then open the doors to further litigation) they agreed that we were right in that particular case and instructed the OSMV to grant our client a...

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It Would be Funny if…

Wouldn't it be funny if only a few days after our post about careless storage of firearms, a senior officer in Victoria was found to have casually stuffed a loaded handgun under his car seat? (cue the deer) On Wednesday the chief of police in Victoria was reprimanded for leaving his loaded handgun under the seat of his cruiser with the vehicle unattended. It was located during a search for the missing shotgun and riot gear. It was located while he was giving a press conference about the missing shotgun and riot gear. It would be funny, if it wasn't a firearm. Apparently he...

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Unintended Consequences

Unintended consequences when they re-write the new IRP law

The BC Legislative Assembly is back in session and on Tuesday the Government introduced the budget. In the last couple of years the Government seems to have been unusually short-sighted regarding the introduction of new legislation and Government policy (see: here and here). This is not to say that it is only a BCLiberal issue. The NDP made poor policy and legislative decisions with regularity too, but their path was less revolutionary despite their ideological underpinnings. We are not political and we cannot be pigeon-holed to any ideology. Paul made phone calls for the provincial NDP in Alberta, volunteered in three elections...

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