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Acumen Law Corporation > News (Page 8)

Port Moody to check drink-screening devices

The Port Moody Police Department has asked that an outside agency review the way it calibrates screening devices used in roadside drinking tests after a defence lawyer suggested that flaws in the process could have resulted in inaccurate results – and unwarranted penalties for drunk driving.

“The allegations made are serious and we are treating them accordingly,” Port Moody spokesman Constable Bill Kim said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.

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Port Moody to check drink-screening devices

The Port Moody Police Department has asked that an outside agency review the way it calibrates screening devices used in roadside drinking tests after a defence lawyer suggested that flaws in the process could have resulted in inaccurate results – and unwarranted penalties for drunk driving.

“The allegations made are serious and we are treating them accordingly,” Port Moody spokesman Constable Bill Kim said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement.

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Woman’s drunk-driving victory leaves little to celebrate

Kristen Debra-Lee Spencer remains angry in spite of her stunning B.C. Supreme Court victory over the province’s draconian anti-drunk driving regime.

Since receiving a 90-day immediate roadside suspension last Oct. 31, Spencer has been outraged at how she was manhandled by police and forced to endure an expensive, painful ordeal that continues.

“It was the most insane situation I’ve ever been in,” she fumed.

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Trial by breathalyzer

Mario Knezevic’s family arrived from Europe to help him celebrate his bravery medals for rescuing and resuscitating a drowned two-year-old.

He didn’t expect he would also have to introduce them to B.C.’s new arbitrary, anti-drunk-driving program and its severe, some might even say draconian, punishments.

More importantly, perhaps, he was surprised it left him with such a bitter feeling of being treated unfairly and far too harshly.

And he is one of many thousands, if anecdotal evidence of lawyers is to be believed.

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Worthy goals, harsh consequences

The roadside testing devices that now are judge and jury are not always accurate

Mario Knezevic’s family arrived from Europe to help him celebrate his bravery medals for rescuing and resuscitating a drowned two-year-old.

He didn’t expect he would also have to introduce them to B.C.’s new arbitrary, anti-drunk-driving program and its severe, some might even say draconian, punishments.

More importantly, perhaps, he was surprised it left him with such a bitter feeling of being treated unfairly and far too harshly.

And he is one of many thousands, if anecdotal evidence of lawyers is to be believed.

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B.C. suspended drivers hit with backlog delays

Many B.C. drivers who have had their licences suspended for impaired driving are being penalized beyond the intention of the law due to a bureaucratic backlog, CBC News has learned.

More than 5,000 B.C. drivers have been caught with blood alcohol levels above 0.08 since September, when the province implemented tougher new impaired driving laws.

The new law stipulates that drivers — in addition to a 90-day suspension and other penalties — must install and pay for an ignition interlock device on their vehicles for one year.

The device includes a built-in breathalyzer that the driver must use before the vehicle will start.

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Police want right to perform random breathalyzer test

Critics have complained that B.C.’s new drunk driving laws give cops too much power, but now police chiefs are calling for even more.

B.C.’s chiefs want the freedom to pull over anyone, anywhere, at any time of day and ask them to take random breathalyzer tests. Currently, an officer requires cause to get a breath sample.

“The randomness of catching people who are drinking and driving is pretty key to lowering the death rate and sending a very clear message to people that break the law,” Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham told CTV News.

“If people know there are going to be officers out there — are not sure where they are — maybe the message will finally get through to those people who just don’t get it.”

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Do new drunk driving laws give police too much power?

Vancouver drunk driving expert lawyer doroshenko

B.C.’s harsh new drunk driving laws give every police officer the power to take away driver’s licences, impound cars and impose fines – and some are worried they go too far.

Suspected drunk drivers no longer have the right to argue their case in front of an impartial judge, giving police the sole responsibility to determine if motorists are within the legal blood alcohol limit.

Robert Holmes, president of the BC Civil Liberties Association, says officers are now “judge, jury and executioner.”

It’s an especially alarming development to those who say there are still major flaws with breathalyzer science.

Criminal lawyer Paul Doroshenko says it’s a simple fact that any electro-mechanical device can potentially fail. He also says breathalyzer results can be skewed by something as simple as mouthwash, which he demonstrated for CTV News using the same kind of breathalyzer B.C. police use at road blocks.

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Should you be worried about B.C. Breathalyzers?

As B.C. prepares to bring in tough new penalties for impaired driving, CTV News takes a closer look at some of the drawbacks of the Breathalyzer test.

Forensic scientist Nizar Shajani has one at home — he often serves in court as an expert witness on the device.

“If it’s properly operated, things will be fine, but we’re not taking a blood sample, we’re taking a breath sample,” Shajani told CTV News.

When CTV reporter Jon Woodward rinsed with mouthwash and took the test immediately, he failed.

That’s because the roadside screening device was measuring the alcohol in the mouthwash.

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