A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the cell phone immobilizer case. To remind you, a man was acquitted at trial of using an electronic device while driving on the basis of the fact that he had his phone equipped with an app that would disable it from use while driving.
The case received a lot of press, mostly because up until now there have been very few defences in electronic device cases. And the more press a successful case receives, the more likely it seems to be that the Crown considers an appeal. I have no knowledge of whether they are or are not, but it seems to me that one is likely in this case.
And here's why.
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 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.
In Episode Six of Driving Law with Kyla Lee, I sit down with Ian Tootill, founder of SenseBC to discuss traffic safety laws in British Columbia. Ian shares important insight into problems with our speeding, electronic device, and left lane laws. He also offers some insight into the Driver Penalty Point program, and how that could be overhauled to create a more sensible system of keeping track of bad drivers.
But before that, I talk about the Senate of Canada's vote to remove the random breath testing provisions from Bill C-46, and why that is an important step toward ensuring the constitutional validity of the bill.
Subscribe on iTunes or listen here on Soundcloud.
An ongoing case recently aired at a small claims court in BC could have wider implications for insurance cases in the province. A driver named Angela Seeley who crashed her car is suing the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) for refusing to honour her insurance claim. ICBC believes Ms. Seeley was impaired at the time of the collision and it alleges she lied by saying she had nothing to drink before it happened. Ms. Seeley agrees her driving was affected leading up to the crash, however, not by drinking but by texting.
This case raises some interesting points about why someone would admit to using their phone while driving but deny having consumed alcohol before driving. What are the differences between driving while impaired and driving while distracted? What are their implications for insurance claims and, crucially, how severely they are punished?
Challenging a traffic ticket for speeding can be difficult. The evidence that an officer must adduce to show that the measurement of speed was accurate is relatively straightforward. And couple an external speed measurement using laser or radar with a speed estimate from the officer, and only a highly skilled person can succeed in traffic court.
Recently, a BC Provincial Court decision showed just how difficult it can be to succeed in these cases.
In last week's episode of Driving Law with Kyla Lee, I sat down with Roy Ho of Acumen Law Corporation to talk about ICBC and insurance breach investigations. In particular, Roy and I discussed how your insurance is affected by impaired driving charges and how ICBC will breach insurance coverage after an impaired driving incident. For anyone affected by an impaired driving case involving an accident, this episode is a must-listen to know whether ICBC will provide coverage in a DUI accident.
In the second half of the episode, Roy and I also discuss the changes to British Columbia's Insurance Vehicle Act and coverage for minor injury claims.
Don't forget as well to vote for me in Canadian Lawyer Magazine's Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers survey.
On the third episode of Driving Law with Kyla Lee, I talk to Grant Gotgettreu, a former West Vancouver Police Department Corporal and Integrated Road Safety Unit Corporal about speed estimation, and speed measurement using laser and radar. Grant is known for his history of laser and radar speed enforcement and his unbeaten record of issuing excessive speeding tickets. We also play a hilarious, albeit vulgar, recording of Grant interacting with one particularly unimpressed driver whose car is being impounded. (Free legal advice: don't do that.)
In the second half of the episode, I speak with Paul Doroshenko also of Acumen Law Corporation about the changes to the alcohol-impaired driving laws being quietly added in with the marijuana amendments.
Episode two of the Driving Law with Kyla Lee podcast is here. On this episode, I speak with former British Columbia Solicitor General and West Vancouver Police Department Chief of Police Kash Heed about impaired driving investigations, how we got the Immediate Roadside Prohibition scheme, and the pitfalls of rewarding police for issuing driving prohibitions.
You can find the podcast on SoundCloud at this link.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, marijuana legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.