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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 68)

Do new drunk driving laws give police too much power?

Vancouver drunk driving expert lawyer doroshenko

B.C.’s harsh new drunk driving laws give every police officer the power to take away driver’s licences, impound cars and impose fines – and some are worried they go too far.

Suspected drunk drivers no longer have the right to argue their case in front of an impartial judge, giving police the sole responsibility to determine if motorists are within the legal blood alcohol limit.

Robert Holmes, president of the BC Civil Liberties Association, says officers are now “judge, jury and executioner.”

It’s an especially alarming development to those who say there are still major flaws with breathalyzer science.

Criminal lawyer Paul Doroshenko says it’s a simple fact that any electro-mechanical device can potentially fail. He also says breathalyzer results can be skewed by something as simple as mouthwash, which he demonstrated for CTV News using the same kind of breathalyzer B.C. police use at road blocks.

Should you be worried about B.C. Breathalyzers?

As B.C. prepares to bring in tough new penalties for impaired driving, CTV News takes a closer look at some of the drawbacks of the Breathalyzer test.

Forensic scientist Nizar Shajani has one at home — he often serves in court as an expert witness on the device.

“If it’s properly operated, things will be fine, but we’re not taking a blood sample, we’re taking a breath sample,” Shajani told CTV News.

When CTV reporter Jon Woodward rinsed with mouthwash and took the test immediately, he failed.

That’s because the roadside screening device was measuring the alcohol in the mouthwash.