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Vancouver Criminal Law Blog
Acumen Law Corporation > Blog (Page 9)

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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Can I go to jail for driving while prohibited?

Can I go to jail for driving while prohibited

Driving while prohibited is considered one of the most serious offences in the Motor Vehicle Act. Until just a decade ago, a first offence meant automatic jail. The act that leads to the first charge of a driving while prohibited offence can be fairly innocent. Let’s say police suspected you of being impaired by drugs and give you a 24-hour prohibition, even though you weren’t impaired. Unfortunately for you, you decided to drive before the 24 hours was up and police pull you over. The fact you were driving before that 24-hour prohibition was up is good enough for a driving...

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Canada’s self-defence laws: When is it too late to defend yourself?

Canada's Self Defence Laws

You’re at a bar and someone picks a fight with you. Things start getting nasty. What first began as a verbal barrage quickly turns into shirt-grabbing and shoving. Do you shove back? Are you allowed to take a swing? Is your responsibility to run away? At what point can you defend yourself against this aggression, and to what extent can you defend yourself? If the attacker was bigger, can you pick up that nearby pool cue as a weapon? Canada’s self-defence laws have been traditionally vague on precise answers to any of these questions. Here’s how it works. If, in the...

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Why it’s so easy for police to bust dial-a-dope operations


The law takes dial-a-dope drug offences seriously. It’s considered a category separate from what’s generally referred to as “street level” dealing, where a dealer hangs out on a corner and is approached by prospective customers looking to buy. Dial-a-dope operations are different. The courts consider these drug lines as commercial operations that exist to bring drugs to all corners of the market, even to areas not traditionally known for drug consumption. Dial-a-dope operations are kind of like food-delivery for drugs. A customer places a call to their local dial-a-dope operator, who drives out to an arranged meeting location for the exchange....

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Police used the same breathalyzer for my second sample


We were disappointed to see a decision in the BC Supreme Court in June that held police do not have to offer the full details of the rights available to someone who blew their first fail into an Approved Screening Device. In BC, if police demand a breath sample on suspicion of drug or alcohol impairment and you blow a “warn” or “fail,” you have a right to provide another breath sample, into a different breathalyzer. Police are required to accept the lower result of the two. Unfortunately, police are only required to tell you that you can provide another breath...

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Walk in a line: three co-ordination tests used to check sobriety


Until legislation is introduced giving police officers new ways to determine whether a driver is impaired by drugs, one of the more common tools at police disposal remains the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). The internationally used test falls into three parts: a check for involuntary eye movement, walking and turning in a line, and the one-leg stand. You’re scored on these tests based on a number of “clues” an officer ticks off when looking for things like whether you were able to balance for 30 seconds, or if you “went off the line” during the walk and turn. The steps that...

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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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