BC’s lack of clarification for foreign drivers is definitely confusing. For one, all the Motor Vehicle Act requires is that a foreign driver carries a valid driver’s licence, even if the document is in a different language and police officers are unable to read them. This has caused countless frustrations particularly for visitors to BC who carry valid foreign driver’s licences, but receive traffic tickets for driving without a licence anyways because police officers are trying to be cautious.
This should never have been a problem.
Most developed countries around the world (and even other provinces in Canada) have already figured it out. They all use a little slip of paper called an International Driving Permit, which is a translated document to be carried with a foreign driver’s licence allowing local law enforcement to understand the driving privileges of the holder of a foreign licence.
This past week, a lot of outrage has been expressed online about another sexual assault case. In this case, a young man has been convicted of sexual interference, after he engaged in a sexual relationship with a thirteen year old girl. The matter resulted in a three month jail sentence for the twenty-one year old offender.
Now, it’s hard to imagine that anyone is too upset about a three month sentence for a sexual interference case. What has the public upset is the fact that the imposition of the jail term in this matter is being delayed so that the offender can finish his semester at the University of Calgary. This has the public upset.
In doing a large number of IRP Judicial Review cases, I get a good sense of the overall fairness of the scheme. The issue is not just one of procedural fairness – a legal term of art – but one of the visceral, very real fairness. And although we in the business of the justice system like to talk about fairness in justice, the sad reality is that often there are situations of real unfairness that cannot be remedied.
The promise of legal marijuana by July 1, 2018 appears to have gone up in a puff of smoke. The federal government has manufactured a crisis of drug-impaired driving that has led to the delay in the implementation of the Liberal government’s promise to legalize recreational marijuana.
I say "manufactured" because the crisis upon which they are relying to delay this does not exist.
There are often times when the law says one thing while police officers think another. And one of the more common examples in British Columbia would be the enforcement of the driving privileges of foreigners studying in BC.
BC’s Motor Vehicle Act allows exemptions for those who carry a valid driver’s licence from their home country, and who are also attending a valid educational institution. As long as that criteria is met, the only requirement is that those who hold foreign licences produce their licence if a police officer demands it.
The CounterAttack roadbock season began once again for British Columbians on Dec. 1. This is the time of year when police officers across the province log overtime hours to set up a series of roadblocks and checkpoints with the aim of catching impaired drivers.
This CounterAttack program has a lengthy history in BC, dating back four decades when it began in 1977. The funding for the program inevitably comes from a combination of provincial funding, ICBC, and operational money from police departments themselves.
In September, all charges against a man and a woman charged as part of a raid on a clandestine drug lab were dismissed after judge ruled that Vancouver police had wilfully and flagrantly violated their Charter rights, numerous times during the investigation.
These violations included withholding Shu Tshung Wong and Lena Truong’s access to a lawyer for six hours, multiple incidents of unreasonable search and seizure, unlawfully holding one of the accused in custody for 14 hours, among other breaches of their rights.
Today, RoadSafetyBC made a major announcement regarding how it is going to start dealing with cases of street racing and stunt driving. You can read the announcement here.
At first blush, it sounds great for road safety. The Government makes it sound as though the current system allows only for fifteen-day prohibitions for street racing or stunt driving, and that these will now be replaced with longer prohibitions, between three and thirty six months, after this type of driving behaviour is observed. The problem with this announcement is that it sorely misrepresents the current state of affairs, and it misleads the public about why this action is being taken.
To understand this issue it’s necessary to understand the current system.
Something criminal defence lawyers are often familiar with is the process police use to determine whether suspected narcotics are actually illegal drugs. After all, it can be hard to tell whether that baggy of white power seized from an accused pockets isn’t just flour or baking soda in a bag. While baking soda may often be used as a “cutting” agent, it’s not illegal to possess in any quantity. But to the naked eye, baking soda is essentially indistinguishable from nefarious and illegal substances.
The Vancouver Police Department has sparked controversy online by posting about a driver who had his iPad and iPhone mounted to his steering wheel using string. A clever trick to get around the distracted driving laws, but one that the police officer who pulled him over frowned upon. Since they posted the tweet and photographed that revealed the funny details of this traffic stop, a huge debate has erupted online over what penalty this driver should have faced.
The police let him go with an $81 ticket for not producing a license, and a warning about the cell phone mounting system.
Here are my thoughts on whether this is actually an offence.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer focusing primarily on DUI, impaired driving, and Immediate Roadside Prohibition cases.