Vancouver Criminal Law

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A Simple Plan

A simple plan but not a good plan

It started off with a simple plan -- take minor drunk driving cases out of court and instead rehabilitate the offenders. This makes sense. As we have discussed, for most non-violent crimes, community based measures, such as diversion to Alternative Measures, are very effective in deterring people from offending again. With respect to impaired driving there may be an alcohol problem that needs to be addressed, but rarely is a criminal conviction the best way to ensure that the person does not repeat the behaviour. This was the core idea that was the seed of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme. The focus...

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Any Suggestions?

Any suggestions for a drinking solution

Imagine for a moment that you are the provincial government. You have a serious problem that you must address: a significant number of people continue to drive while intoxicated. How do you deal with it? What's your drinking solution? In addition you have a number of confounding and frustrating impediments. The federal government is responsible for determining what is a criminal offence and writing the criminal law. But you, as the provincial government, must pay for the investigation, the prosecution and the courts. And it seems no matter how much effort you put into dealing with the problem, drinking and driving persists...

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Non-Violent Crime

Non-violent crime - Should you get a criminal record?

As criminal lawyers we deal with a variety of criminal offences. Some of our clients are charged with violent offences, like assault. Many of our clients, however, are charged with a non-violent crime such as theft, break and enter, mischief and lying to ICBC. This is not surprising, considering 79% of crimes in 2010 were non-violent.  Almost 60% of non-violent offences were either theft under $5000, break and enter, or mischief. The vast majority (over 98%) of our clients charged with a non-violent crime avoid a criminal record. We are often successful in having these charges resolved quietly in one way...

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Police Powers

BC Police powers are expanding

The police want powers. They want the power to choose whether a person is charged and what the charges should be. They want the authority to get access to your internet usage on demand without first getting a warrant. They want to use the photos in ICBC's database to try and match up names to faces from the Vancouver riot without first obtaining a warrant. They want the power to issue you a lengthy Immediate Roadside Prohibition that starts long before you get a hearing. We previously discussed the issue of police bungling. Simply put, the police make plenty of mistakes,...

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The Application of the Charter to ADP and IRP Hearings

Does the Charter apply at IRP hearings?

Over the last six months we developed a unique argument that will likely change the rules concerning ADP and IRP hearings conducted at the OSMV tribunal. This argument was used as part of one of our IRP appeals. Lawyers for the government considered our written argument and chose not to oppose us concerning this argument on an IRP Supreme Court review. Rather than take the case to court (and perhaps risk a decision that would then open the doors to further litigation) they agreed that we were right in that particular case and instructed the OSMV to grant our client a...

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It Would be Funny if…

Wouldn't it be funny if only a few days after our post about careless storage of firearms, a senior officer in Victoria was found to have casually stuffed a loaded handgun under his car seat? (cue the deer) On Wednesday the chief of police in Victoria was reprimanded for leaving his loaded handgun under the seat of his cruiser with the vehicle unattended. It was located during a search for the missing shotgun and riot gear. It was located while he was giving a press conference about the missing shotgun and riot gear. It would be funny, if it wasn't a firearm. Apparently he...

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Unintended Consequences

Unintended consequences when they re-write the new IRP law

The BC Legislative Assembly is back in session and on Tuesday the Government introduced the budget. In the last couple of years the Government seems to have been unusually short-sighted regarding the introduction of new legislation and Government policy (see: here and here). This is not to say that it is only a BCLiberal issue. The NDP made poor policy and legislative decisions with regularity too, but their path was less revolutionary despite their ideological underpinnings. We are not political and we cannot be pigeon-holed to any ideology. Paul made phone calls for the provincial NDP in Alberta, volunteered in three elections...

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IRP Update for Those Who Missed the 7-Days to Dispute

Missed 7-day period to dispute

If you received a 90-day IRP for Fail and you are still not back on the road due to the Interlock or Responsible Driver's Program, give us a call. A great number of people received a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition for Fail and did not file a dispute of the IRP at ICBC Driver Services within 7-days from service of the Notice. In other words, they missed the 7-days in which they could file for review and now they can't get back on the road despite the court challenge. When the law was found to violate the Charter of Rights by the...

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Careless Storage

Careless storage of a firearm can get you a few years in prison. We only mention this because the Victoria Police Department is missing a shotgun. It was stolen, lost or misplaced. Along with a bunch of riot equipment. Missing. We do not expect that the police will investigate themselves for the unsafe storage of a firearm, and it is not why we bring it up. It is yet another example of bungling police. That police officers make mistakes is a fact. That police officers are dishonest is also a fact. Some may be more honest than the general population, but the police...

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Hard Work

Hard work? Vancouver police surf porn

From time to time we hire private investigators to assist us and all are former police detectives. One common thing they tell us is that they did not know what hard work was until they had to produce results for a client. Policing, we are told, is a lot of drinking coffee and socializing and then wondering why the files are stacking up. Of course, there are many hard working police officers. But you cannot blame us for being cynical when so many in the Vancouver Police Department were recently been found to have spent their time at work cruising porn...

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