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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 66)

Investigation over roadside suspensions

Anyone who has received a driving suspension in Port Moody in the last year after failing a roadside breath test may not have been over the legal limit, according to a lawyer who handles drunk driving cases.

Paul Doroshenko told The Tri-City News the Port Moody Police Department has been improperly calibrating its screening devices, which could mean some people have received suspensions unfairly.

“People in Port Moody need to know that all year long, the officer who has been doing this has been doing it incorrectly,” Doroshenko said. “The results are not reliable.”

In response to Doroshenko’s claims, Port Moody Police Department has asked the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner to order an investigation, which would be conducted by an outside agency.

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Port Moody to check drink-screening devices

The Port Moody Police Department has asked that an outside agency review the way it calibrates screening devices used in roadside drinking tests after a defence lawyer suggested that flaws in the process could have resulted in inaccurate results – and unwarranted penalties for drunk driving.

“The allegations made are serious and we are treating them accordingly,” Port Moody spokesman Constable Bill Kim said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.

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Port Moody to check drink-screening devices

The Port Moody Police Department has asked that an outside agency review the way it calibrates screening devices used in roadside drinking tests after a defence lawyer suggested that flaws in the process could have resulted in inaccurate results – and unwarranted penalties for drunk driving.

“The allegations made are serious and we are treating them accordingly,” Port Moody spokesman Constable Bill Kim said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.

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Woman’s drunk-driving victory leaves little to celebrate

Kristen Debra-Lee Spencer remains angry in spite of her stunning B.C. Supreme Court victory over the province’s draconian anti-drunk driving regime.

Since receiving a 90-day immediate roadside suspension last Oct. 31, Spencer has been outraged at how she was manhandled by police and forced to endure an expensive, painful ordeal that continues.

“It was the most insane situation I’ve ever been in,” she fumed.

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It’s been over a year…

September 20th, 2011 marked one year of Immediate Driving Prohibitions in British Columbia. Although the law has been constitutionally challenged, no decision has yet been made. You can read more about the Constitutional challenge in my earlier blog post, located here.

Since the challenge, things have not changed. Individuals in British Columbia are still being stopped and issued harsh penalties without being afforded the right to contact counsel. Impaired driving charges are being forwarded to the Crown only in exceptional circumstances, meaning that the jurisdiction of the court in criminal charges is still being ousted.

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The approved screening device

Roadside gamble (note: ASD image altered for dramatic effect)

What is it?

Until the Immediate Roadside Prohibition laws were introduced in British Columbia last year, the Approved Screening Device, which many people simply refer to as the roadside breath tester, was intended to provide a quick and easy way for the police to assess a driver’s sobriety without detaining them for a lengthy investigation.

The only ASD commonly used at this time in BC is the Alco-Sensor IV, a device produced by Intoximeters of Saint Louis. The versions sold to Canadian police departments have simplified software to make it easier for Canadian police officers to understand the results. The “Alco-Sensor IV DWF Screener” used in British Columbia indicates “Warn” between 60mg and 99mg in 100ml (up from 50mg as of November 2010) and “Fail” if over 100mg in 100ml. Below 59mg it displays the actual BAC.

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What to do if you get an immediate roadside prohibition

Since September, 2010 the BC Government has been issuing drivers in the province Immediate Roadside Prohibitions if they fail an Approved Screening Device test or if they refuse to comply with an Approved Screening Device demand. The Approved Screening Device is the roadside breath tester used in these cases.

If you have received a 90-day IRP it is important that you consult a lawyer as soon as possible. You only have 7 days to file an application for review of the prohibition. While extensions of the 7 days are available, they are only granted in extreme circumstances. Most people do not meet this standard. Many lawyers, including our office, offer a free consultation to discuss how to proceed with your IRP review.

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