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Legal marijuana regulations announced in British Columbia

legal marijuana regulations

Legal, recreational weed is coming to BC next year. On Dec. 5, 2017, BC government finally announced its first decisions on legal marijuana regulation. Like alcohol and tobacco, the legal age for cannabis will be set to 19. BC's Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in BC. There will be a public and private retail model with details of the private cannabis retail model anticipated in early 2018. While this sounds like big news, BC Government actually has not released a lot of information. Most provincial governments across Canada had already announced similar plans — months before. After...

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What are my rights at a roadblock in Canada?

Road Block Surrey

Whether it’s a long weekend, the holidays, as part of some CounterAttack program or just because police feel like it, police roadblocks are a reality nearly all Canadian drivers are familiar with. In the vast majority of cases, motorists will pull up, show the officer their driver’s licence and insurance, and if there are no infractions detected the motorist is free to drive away. Charged after being stopped at a roadblock? Give us a call. 604-685-8889. But often, police will probe a lot further than simply asking for your licence and insurance papers. The most common one many drivers will have heard...

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British Columbia sets new penalties for street racing, stunt driving

Stunt driving

British Columbia's new NDP government appears to have its sights set on stronger penalties for driving offences. Earlier in November, the government increased penalties for distracted driving by raising insurance premiums for those drivers who receive two or more distracted driving tickets in three years. Previously, that would have cost British Columbians an additional $1,256 in total fines and points, but with the changes announced on Nov. 6, 2017 (to take effect March 1, 2018) the new premiums will cost $1,996. And now, just 23 days later, BC Government appears to be toughening the minimum penalties for street racing and stunt driving...

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Increased fines for DUI over .12 coming to Canada

excessive DUI

The Canadian government is increasing the fines for criminal DUIs, codifying aggravating factors that would normally be left up to a judge's discretion. The changes come as part of the omnibus Bill C-46, which passed its third reading on October 31, 2017. The bill makes significant changes to a number of drinking-driving offences, including the new designations of DUI over .12 and DUI over .16.  What will the new cost be for a DUI over .12 in British Columbia? The new law, which is now before the Senate, creates different punishment depending on the drivers blood-alcohol concentration. If the law...

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What determines if I’ll go to jail for drunk driving?

Going to Jail for DUI

Canadian laws can sentence drunk drivers to serious prison sentences, even if the driver in question was not involved in a serious collision where someone is injured or killed. Going to jail for drunk driving is not uncommon, and in fact, there are mandatory minimum jail sentences for multiple convictions of drunk driving. For a first-time drunk driving offence where a driver is convicted of having a blood alcohol level of .08 while behind the wheel, the offence accompanies a minimum fine of $1,000. However, as soon as you receive a second conviction, you’ll now receive a minimum jail sentence...

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When everyone’s a fraudster: why ICBC would rather not pay you

ICBC fraud

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is utterly convinced that up to 20% of insurance claims contain an element of fraud or exaggeration. They actually believe that up to $600 million per year in expense is being spent on paying fraudulent claims; and partly as a result of that, ICBC spends more than $300 million per year in lawyers suing people and defending against claims when it denies coverage to people it thinks are committing fraud. When you’re spending that much money countering this boogeyman of fraud, everyone starts looking like a fraudster. It’s a bit odd, because ICBC doesn’t actually...

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No choice but to drive drunk. Is that a DUI defence?

No choice but to drive drunk

Are there any circumstances where you have no choice but to drive drunk? If you ask a police officer, chances are that, at least according to them, there are no circumstances where you’d have no choice but to drive drunk. But let’s say your sober, designated driver suddenly had an acute illness – a heart attack – while driving. Even though you’re impaired, you’d be forced to take the wheel in this scenario to prevent a crash. Some scenarios are less obvious. What if, during the middle of a drinking session, a friend fell and you had no other alternative...

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Grabbing a jacket from your car outside the pub? May as well be driving

Smoking in a car

If it wasn’t clear that BC’s impaired driving laws are overly restrictive, the courts have determined that you aren’t even allowed to grab an item from a car after a few drinks. So did you arrive at the bar in the late afternoon and now it’s getting chilly after dark? Better wait until you’re sober before you grab that jacket you left in the car. Forgot the cigarettes in the cup holder, too? Well, unless you want to risk an Immediate Roadside Prohibition for impaired cigarette-grabbing, it’s probably best to leave them alone. Oh, what if you forgot your wallet...

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COPD, Asthma and the Breathalyzer: What if I can’t blow hard enough?

Asthma, COPD, and breathalyzers

One of the reasons we despise BC’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme is due to its unfairness. If you have COPD, asthma or any number of other medical conditions and can’t blow hard enough into a breathalyzer, chances are you’ll be lumped in with the drunk drivers since you “refused” to provide a breath sample. In order for an Approved Screening Device to function the airflow and volume must meet certain parameters to trigger an analysis. It can be a big amount of air for those among us who simply can’t exhale very much. To provide some context, an average person exhales...

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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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