Vancouver Criminal Law


Vancouver: 604 685 8889
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Prince George: 250 564 8835



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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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Return of the Administrative Driving Prohibition

Now that Immediate Roadside Prohibitions for Fail on an ASD have been more or less abandoned by the police, people have started calling us after having received a 90-day Administrative Driving Prohibition (ADP). You are much better off to have an ADP than an IRP. It is important, however, not to confuse the two or to conclude that because the IRP scheme has been found to violate the Charter, your ADP will mysteriously disappear. At this point in time, Administrative Driving Prohibitions have not been found in violation of the Charter of Rights and therefore you must consider whether it is...

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Admit you have a problem

They say that the first step toward dealing with a problem is first admitting that you have one. In October 2011, we revealed that the Port Moody police were performing too many calibration tests with each bottle of test solution. The Canadian Society of Forensic Science Alcohol Test Committee sets the standards which are used by all police forces in Canada. If a breathalyzer technician fails to follow the standards, the test is not relied on because it is not accepted as reliable according to the recommendations of the Alcohol Test Committee (ATC). The ATC makes their recommendations based on the scientific...

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Update & Action on the Streets

When the decision on the application of Sivia came out on December 23rd, we knew that it would complicate matters. Courts try to call it like they see it, based on the law and the facts presented. The lawyers for the Government carefully explained the position of their client (the Government) i.e. that lifting the IRP scheme for a few months would pose a public threat. We have previously explained why we disagreed with this interpretation, but it does not matter so much anymore because the Court agreed with that argument and allowed the continuance of the legislation. But there was/is...

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A friend called and asked how many drinks he can safely have now that the law has changed. This is a particular concern for a number of reasons. Firstly, the law has not changed with respect to the permissible amount of alcohol in a driver's body. Harsh sanctions begin at .05mg%. A criminal conviction and further sanctions are the consequences you can expect if you drive with a BAC over .08mg%. The question discloses a more difficult problem for our society: how do we dissuade people from trying to be just under the limit -- from setting out to make that calculation?...

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Who will reverse the damage?

The Abbotsford Police are in damage control. And their spin does not have traction. Yesterday morning an Abbotsford officer was on the Bill Good show with host Michael Smyth. You can download it or listen to it here. The officer argued that this is similar to a cell phone needing repair. He argued that this should somehow engender confidence in the system -- that an officer noticed after the device had been employed for more than three weeks that it was giving false fail readings. He refused to answer the question regarding whether they notified anyone about it, and particularly whether...

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