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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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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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