Vancouver Criminal Law


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Did We Really Need to Wait Six Months?

The Government argued that if the 90-day Fail IRP scheme was lifted there would be chaos in the streets, dozens of unnecessary deaths (all DUI deaths are unnecessary) and general pandemonium. The argument was that the police in BC needed this tool because it saves lives -- that there was no other way, and therefore the Government needed the law to stay in place until June. But the police stopped using the law and they apprehended more impaired drivers over the holiday season than in typical years past. And despite the Court accepting the Government's argument and extending the application of...

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Is anyone guilty?


Often reporters looking at ASD maintenance records in our office will ask if anyone is actually guilty. It is the kind of thing you might think for a minute when you are shocked by the problems with the devices, or you see one of the cases like Margaret MacDonald's. Of course many people are guilty. If you examine historic records of how many people blew under when taken to the detachment, perhaps 20% of people who blew Fail are innocent. When it comes to ASD refusals, we think it is more like 80%. And some Immediate Roadside Prohibitions are lifted on...

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Margaret MacDonald is Our Hero

If you missed the article in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesday, click here to read it. The article describes the ordeal of Margaret MacDonald, who received a 90-day IRP for alleged refusal following the brutal treatment one can generally expect from BC police when they conclude you are not trying to blow. We have explained the problems here and here, but Margaret MacDonald's case is somewhat different in that she refused to be shamed into silence. Simply put, she was willing to speak to the media. After being brutalized by the police, she took a taxi to a hospital and the staff...

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Petition to Appeal 90-day IRP for “Fail”

The Government can't let go - they want to control you

Part of the difficulty we have right now is anticipating what position the Court will accept when the parties go in to argue for a remedy. The Government is preparing to argue that at best you should simply get a re-hearing with the same tribunal but with one small tweak. If they are successful, then you may want to consider moving to another province. As we stated before, you can get an IRP at your kitchen table based on a retelling of 4th party hearsay of an unnamed witness alleging driving. The evidence is usually recorded as "witness said was driving."...

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Secrets We Keep

Every lawyer you meet holds secrets for hundreds or often thousands of individuals who have consulted with them over the course of their career. When a lawyer practices long enough, the secrets are then rarely extraordinary, and so they are forgotten when the brief is closed. When you have shocking information from several thousand people, you are no longer shocked, and your focus becomes what tools you have to help your client. In that sense sometimes it may seem a cold calculation to achieve the best outcome. This is one of the reasons lawyers are targets of criticism. It is impossible...

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Clearing some confusion


We are still being contacted by people who are of the mistaken belief that they may be charged with a criminal offence if they dispute their Immediate Roadside Prohibition. Many people tell us that the police told them that they would be charged if they filed for a review. We've been clearing some confusion about IRPs since they were first introduced. Perhaps the most important thing you should know if you're considering disputing your IRP is that you cannot be charged with impaired driving or driving over 80ml in 100mg if you are issued an IRP. The reasons are simple. To charge...

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Important Tests

Some tests are more important than others

We've conducted a lot of tests over the years, often with very interesting results. We have a full size police breathalyzer in our law office in downtown Vancouver, and we usually bring one of our portable AlcoSensor IVs to parties. If we're defending a client on an impaired driving charge we will usually bring one to court whether we're in Surrey, Vancouver or Campbell River. And so we know how to use them. And because we're always conducting forensic evaluations of what happened in our client's cases, we've seen some strange breath test results. One of the problems with the DWF...

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Fresh Evidence

Seaching for Fresh Evidence

Because we are criminal defence lawyers, we spend a lot of time reviewing evidence and conducting our own investigations. Like the police, we follow up clues and develop leads. When we get an inkling that something is suspicious, quite often our inquiries reveal much more than we expected. And sometimes we end up in situations that are more bizarre than anything you would see in a movie. In criminal cases we review the police evidence and then we start digging where we see weaknesses in the prosecution's case. This can take time. Sometimes we find little that can help our client....

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Strange thing here -- the RCMP have issued a press release saying: On November 30, 2011, the BC Supreme Court determined that for those who fail or refuse the roadside screening device, police could no longer issue an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (90-day driving ban) and that police could only issue an administrative driving prohibition, and/or proceed criminally. Of course, anyone who has been paying attention to what has gone on in the Court would know that this is factually incorrect. The 90-day IRP for alleged refusal is still good law -- the Court specifically indicated that in the December 23rd ruling. Noteworthy...

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We now need to tell you what we think the Government plans to do. We now believe that the Government intends to adjourn all outstanding IRP Fail cases, whether before the OSMV or the Court, until June when the Government can introduce new legislation and then have a re-hearing for everyone who received a 90-day. This is a Red Alert. Start planning. We believe that they are working on legislation that will simply add one possible argument for you to make at your IRP hearing, i.e. that you were not over .08mg%. What does this mean? You can expect another kick at...

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