Tomorrow the Supreme Court of Canada will be releasing reasons in a highly-anticipated appeal in the impaired driving world.
Richard Suter entered a guilty plea to refusal to provide a sample of his breath, after an accident causing death. He was having an argument with his wife, when he pressed angrily on the gas pedal. His intention was to hit the brake. His vehicle collided with a restaurant patio, striking several people and killing a small boy.
What is interesting about this case is that after Mr. Suter was arrested for impaired driving, he was given legal advice not to provide a sample. It is a criminal offence to refuse to blow, and this legal advice was incorrect. Mr. Suter nevertheless pled guilty, and sentenced to four months jail. On appeal, the Court of Appeal increased the jail term to 26 months. The issue on appeal was whether the incorrect legal advice gave rise to a mistake of law that ought to have allowed Mr. Suter a lighter sentence.
An aspect of the Motor Vehicle Act that rarely gets discussed, but in my opinion deserves to be because it’s hugely unfair, is mandatory vehicle impoundment.
Under the Section 251 of the Act police have the power to impound your vehicle for a variety of reasons, including if they have reasonable grounds to believe you have a driving prohibition, your licence has been suspended, you have been racing or you have been driving at excessive speed (anything more than 40km/hr over the posted speed limit).
This week's roundup of weird and wacky legal cases features heavily cases involving impaired driving and DUI stops. Why? Because drunk people are often always good for a laugh and for creating new or interesting legal analysis. This week, a man chugged a beer at a DUI stop, while another DUI offender claimed his dog was driving. Finally, just to mix it up, we look at the Wendy's where it truly was "waaaaaay better than fast food."
In a recent court ruling, a judge in Newfoundland has found that three adults are all the legal parents of a child. And while some court rulings in the past have found that a child can have multiple parents after living in a split home or a mixed family, this ruling is the first of its kind. However, what it leaves open is a tiny crack in the door for another challenge to the polygamy laws in Canada.
In this edition of the Weird and Wacky Wednesdays compendium, we feature a strange assortment of cases. First, there's the case of a man who asked the police to test his drugs. Then, an Australian man with a chip embedded in his hand. And finally, we end on a high note: cannibalism.
In the spirit of reefer madness and fear-mongering, the decision by the Canadian Senate to back down from their amendments to marijuana legalization has already sparked debate about carange on our roadways. But does the effective legalization of marijuana in Canada pose any realistic risk?
Frankly, that's doubtful.
This is not another article about the science behind marijuana and driving impairment. What it is instead is a look into Canada's impaired driving legislation that already exists, to see how there is already an effective enforcement scheme set up in our existing laws. What the Federal Government is proposing in Bill C-46 for an overhaul of impaired driving legislation is just not necessary.
And here's why.
Since the move toward legalization of recreational marijuana began after the last federal election, a lot of discussion has taken place surrounding marijuana-impaired driving. What has never been clear throughout all this discussion is what the existing state of the law is when it comes to cannabis impairment and driving. This has not been assisted by the introduction of Bill C-46, which creates separate offences involving marijuana and driving.
This post breaks down marijuana impaired driving as it currently stands in British Columbia and under federal criminal law.
This post is a guest post by Emma Wilson of Acumen Law Corporation. Emma is a rising star about to be called to the bar in British Columbia come August. She is well on her way to being a leader in traffic ticket, driving prohibition, and criminal defence.
We’ve all heard it in the news, or maybe learned it the hard way. The BC government, with help from ICBC, the RCMP and the municipal police forces, is cracking down on cell phone use while driving. The laws against use of an electronic device while driving have been on the books since 2010, so theoretically, we should all already be aware of this and the only people who should be worried are the ones who are actually putting others at risk with their behaviour (which isn’t us… or is it?).
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.