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Approved Screening Device ASD Tag

The drinking driving law landscape is changing

Drinking Driving Law is changing

In less than a week the drinking driving law landscape is changing dramatically and Canadians need to know about it. Most people know the phrase “ignorance of the law is not an excuse.” What it means is that even if you don’t know the law on something, you’re still governed by it. And right now that phrase takes on a special meaning because it applies equally when there is a change in the law. Ignorance of a change in the law is also no excuse. So pay attention because this change to drinking driving law is likely to have an...

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Wrongly punished for drunk driving

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Wrongful convictions make for great television dramas. Until about 20 years ago, there seemed to be a significant public appetite to improve the justice system to reduce the risk of wrongful punishment and wrongful convictions. But things changed and we see that our federal government is hell-bent on ensuring people are wrongly punished for drunk driving. You only need to look at Bill C-46 for proof of that. The impudence and sheer in-your-face stupid conceit of C-46 could not have come about if we as a society valued the concept of not punishing the innocent. But despite the television dramas,...

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Innocent of impaired driving in BC

Mouth alcohol from regurgitated stomach contents are a threat to reliable breathalyzer samples

As the annual BC Christmas Counter Attack campaign gets underway, and with the news that Manitoba is introducing an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) scheme modelled on ours here in BC, we thought it was an appropriate time to discuss those who are innocent of impaired driving in BC. An argument we often hear is that people accused of impaired driving and who succeed in challenging the breath-test readings merely got through due to a technicality. The assumption is that an over .08 reading is enough to assume guilt. The problem with that type of thinking is that it ignores the...

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Criminal Code changes: What to expect in December

With all the excitement of marijuana legalization, the media and the public have largely overlooked accompanying legal changes that will have a significant impact on the rights of drivers. Starting in December, amendments to the Criminal Code related to drinking and driving will come into effect. The new rules are a part of Bill C-46, which received Royal Assent back in June. When you examine some of the provisions, you truly wonder just how they got approved. One explanation is that Bill C-46 is an omnibus bill. With the eagerness to push through cannabis legalization, the government was willing to...

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A first look at Dräger DrugTest 5000

When the Federal Government announced the approved drug screening device for use by Canadian police during roadside screening in Criminal Code investigations was going to be the Dräger DrugTest 5000, we immediately shared our reservations. How did we have reservations in the first place? Simple. We had already done our research. We spend a lot of time and money researching the technology used by police in impaired driving investigations so we can provide our clients with the best defence possible. In the ancient words of Sun Tzu, know your enemy. So by the time the announcement was made, we had already...

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Dräger DrugTest® 5000

Draeger Drugtest 5000

There has been a palpable desire in certain communities to learn which portable drug screener would be approved for use in Canada. There is also a sizeable group who have been waiting to hear my opinion on the ultimate choice. So here we are. The Federal Government has now approved the Dräger DrugTest® 5000 for use by Canadian police to conduct roadside screening in Criminal Code investigations. Although the choice of this particular device was not predicted, it was not unexpected. Allow me to explain. When the Government made clear that there would be new legislation to address the perceived threat of...

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A new police power to calculate your past intoxication level is scientifically invalid

Police testing for drunk driving will be able to presume a driver’s past intoxication level based on breath or blood samples under a new amendment to the Criminal Code. Drivers who are tested several hours after the time of driving could still be found to have operated a vehicle while over the legal limit, even if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the threshold at the time of the test. The method that will be used to make these presumptions, known as retrograde extrapolation, is scientifically unreliable for a number of reasons. This amendment is not only full of...

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Kyla Lee on CKNW: Random roadside tests fly in the face of your charter rights

Is being forced to take a breathalyzer test, unconstitutional? According to one lawyer, it definitely is. Kyla Lee, Lawyer Acumen Law, said: "Bill C-46 is a bill that overhauls alcohol-impaired-driving laws in Canada. "It was originally designed for the purposes of introducing a testing scheme and enforcement scheme for the purposes of marijuana-impaired driving with the impending legalization. "But in doing so they also made significant and sweeping changes to the alcohol-impaired driving legislation that we have had in place, including removing the requirement that police officers have to have a reasonable suspicion that you have alcohol in your body before they ask you to blow...

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Police used the same breathalyzer for my second sample


We were disappointed to see a decision in the BC Supreme Court in June that held police do not have to offer the full details of the rights available to someone who blew their first fail into an Approved Screening Device. In BC, if police demand a breath sample on suspicion of drug or alcohol impairment and you blow a “warn” or “fail,” you have a right to provide another breath sample, into a different breathalyzer. Police are required to accept the lower result of the two. Unfortunately, police are only required to tell you that you can provide another breath...

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Don’t trust the breathalyzer?

Trust the breathalyzer?

Regularly we represent clients who refused to blow because they don't trust the breathalyzer. We get it. We don't trust the breathalyzer either, generally speaking. But as a strategy to deal with the police in a DUI investigation, refusing to blow because you don't trust the breathalyzer is a mistake. Here's why.[pullquote]How many people blew into this breathalyzer in the weeks and months before they identified this problem? Nobody knows.[/pullquote] Don't trust the breathalyzer The breathalyzers we use in BC for Immediate Roadside Prohibitions were never intended be relied on for the basis of punishment. They're described as "Approved Screening Devices" because...

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