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How residual mouth alcohol ruins breathalyzer results

Mouth Alcohol

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

dial-a-dope

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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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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What does Stroh Health Care do with BC drivers’ personal information?

Stroh Health Care

It’s been more than 10 years since BC Government first contracted Stroh Health Care to operate the province’s Responsible Driver Program. This $930 per-head program is a mandatory course for anyone who receives a driving prohibition after blowing a “FAIL” result on a breathalyzer, or two “WARN” results. Stroh Health Care has had tens of thousands of BC drivers take its course since 2005. As a result, these guys go through a lot of personal information from BC drivers. For one, all of their staff who deal with RDP program participants will likely know the names of these drivers, know that they had been...

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24-hour driving prohibitions for alcohol vs. 24-hour driving prohibitions for drugs

24-hour driving prohibitions

The Motor Vehicle Act permits a police officer to issue a driver a 24-hour driving prohibition for alcohol or a 24-hour prohibition for drugs. In both cases the time period is the same which suggests that these are similar driving prohibitions. But when it comes to alcohol vs. drugs, the law is very different. In fact, when it comes to 24-hour driving prohibitions, the procedure, evidence and review are almost incomparable. The BC Motor Vehicle Act clearly sets out two different subsections to address drug-impaired and alcohol-impaired driving. These two subsections have fundamental differences. If you are issued a 24-hour driving...

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When can police arrest me for being drunk in public?

Drunk in public

It’s the early hours of Saturday morning in downtown Vancouver. Even the stragglers are starting to head home after a night of drinking. They pour out of bars and nightclubs in a tapering trickle, like the last drops in a good bottle of scotch. Some hail taxis, hop on a bus or head down the steps into a SkyTrain station. Others walk home. Here’s where the issue begins. Many of those heading home will be in varying states of inebriation. Perhaps enough so to be considered drunk in public, or intoxicated in a public place, as it’s called by the...

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Unprepared IRP adjudicators could hurt drivers

Unprepared IRP adjudicators

A recent case argued in the BC Supreme Court by our own Kyla Lee affirms what we have said all along: Immediate Roadside Prohibition adjudicators may not be sufficiently prepared in the areas of law they preside over. In this case, the court identified an adjudicator's lack of understanding of the law that could have resulting in serious consequences to our client. In our view, the adjudicator’s understanding of the law was sufficiently flawed that the judge directed the adjudicator to review case law on the issue. Who or what is an IRP adjudicator? An IRP adjudicator is a person delegated by the Superintendent of...

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High standards for proving drug impaired driving prohibitions

Drivin high?

Late last week we had a significant successful decision in BC Supreme Court for a client who was pulled over by Vancouver police for “slow driving,” before being given a 24-hour prohibition for allegedly driving while affected by drugs. In this case, the officer never found any drugs on our client or among his possessions. Instead, the Vancouver police relied on the smell of “fresh marihuana,” the presence of marijuana grinders, and a bottle of eye drops to make their case. It was not lost on the court that the officer had “no explanation” as to why our client was pulled...

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